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This page is in pretty good shape IMHO. I'll post my suggested changes here:

About Xfce

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 adherence to standards, specifically those defined at [About XFCE]


Before emerging Xfce you need to:

Check that you have enabled the USE flags necessary for a XFCE desktop environment. Set your profile to "xfce" via mix-ins, as follows:

root # epro mix-ins +xfce

Then, verify that you have the X_Window_System configured properly. If X.Org is installed on your system, you are now ready to install Xfce. Install the meta-package, which pulls in all of the components you need for a minimal Xfce installation:

root # emerge -auDN @world
root # emerge xfce4-meta

You can also enable elogind - a daemon that manages user logins and seats in various ways, offers multiseat improvements and replaces ConsoleKit, which is no longer maintained - by executing the following command as root:

root # rc-update add elogind
root # rc

( I don't think I had to do this)

Running Xfce

There are several different ways to start Xfce:

  • Editing the .xinitrc file in your user's home directory and using startx from a text console.
  • Using a display manager (e.g. SLiM, GDM, and 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.

user $ echo "exec startxfce4" > ~/.xinitrc

Finally, to start the graphical environment, run startx from a login shell:

user $ startx

After running this command, you should be greeted by your shiny new XFCE desktop. For more information about configuring XFCE and some of the default applications that come with it, consider looking at XFCE configuration and XFCE applications.

Display Manager

A display manager is a program that manages sessions and acts as a login screen. See Package:XDM_(Display_Manager) for more info

root # emerge <display manager of choice>

All that's left to do now is to add the name of the display manager to /etc/conf.d/xdm, add the xdm service and the dbus service to the default runlevel, and start the services:

DISPLAYMANAGER="<display manager name>"
root # rc-update add xdm default
root # rc-update add dbus default
root # rc

Power Group

If you wish to be able to shutdown/reboot/suspend/hibernate using xfce4-logout-session then you will need to add yourself or the user to the power group by:

root # gpasswd -a <username> power

If the group does not exist then execute the following and try again:

root # groupadd power

XFCE configuration and XFCE applications

For more information on configuring XFCE and the default applications provided by XFCE, such as xfce4-terminal, consider following some of the below listed links: