Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for UNIX-like operating systems. It aims to be fast and low on system resources, while still being visually appealing and user friendly.
Xfce embodies the traditional UNIX philosophy of modularity and re-usability. It consists of a number of components that provide the full functionality one can expect of a modern desktop environment. They are packaged separately and you can pick among the available packages to create the optimal personal working environment.
Another priority of Xfce is adhereance to standards, specifically those defined at freedesktop.org.
Before emerging Xfce you need to:
- Verify that you have X server configured properly.
- Check that you have the USE flags necessary for a desktop environment. You can either set your profile to "desktop":
# eselect profile set 2
Or you can put the following into /etc/make.conf:
USE="-minimal dbus consolekit jpeg libnotify lock session startup-notification svg thunar udev X"
Now we are ready install Xfce. Install the meta package, which pulls in all of the components you need for a minimal Xfce installation:
# emerge -av xfce-base/xfce4-meta
There are several different ways to start Xfce:
- Typing the command startxfce4 at the console.
- Adding "exec startxfce4" to the .xinitrc file in your user's home directory and simply using startx.
- Using a display manager (e.g. SLiM, GDM, KDM).
- Configuring your shell profile to automatically start Xfce upon a successful login.
The most common way to start the environment is to configure ~/.xinitrc to launch an Xfce session. The proper way to launch Xfce from the terminal is by using startxfce4.
$ echo "exec ck-launch-session startxfce4" > ~/.xinitrc
Note that ck-launch-session (ConsoleKit) is required by Xfce for important tasks such as shutting down, suspending, and automounting. Some applications will not work properly without it. Therefore we need to add ConsoleKit to the default runlevel, executing the following command as root:
# rc-update add consolekit default
Finally, to start the graphical environment, run: