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Revision as of 22:17, June 19, 2015 by Duncan.britton (talk | contribs) (A few formatting edits and updates to reflect the new epro command.)
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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 adhereance 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.Org Server 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 xfce4-meta

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 combined with ck-launch-session.

user $ echo "exec startxfce4 --with-ck-launch" > ~/.xinitrc

Note that --with-ck-launch (from ConsoleKit) is required by Xfce for important tasks such as shutting down, suspending, and automatically mounting removable storage media. Some applications will not work properly without it. Therefore we need to add ConsoleKit to the default runlevel, executing the following command as root:

root # rc-update add consolekit default
root # rc

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

user $ startx

Display Manager

A display manager is a program that manages sessions and acts as a login screen. Here's a short list of a few of the display managers available in Funtoo:

  • XDM (x11-apps/xdm): X.Org's standard display manager.
  • LightDM (x11-misc/lightdm): A lightweight, but highly configurable display manager.
  • SLiM (x11-misc/slim): Simple Login Manager -- a lightweight display manager. Not very configurable.

Any of these would make a fine choice. After you've chosen which display manager to use, install it:

root # emerge lightdm

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:

root # rc-update add xdm default
root # /etc/init.d/xdm start
root # rc-update add dbus default
root # /etc/init.d/dbus start

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

Plugins for Thunar and XFCE

There are a lot of plugins available for Thunar and XFCE. Here is a table that contains the name of the plugin and a description of what it does. To install one of the plugins, run

root # emerge [name of plugin]
xfce-extra/tumblerA thumbnail service for the filemanager of Xfce desktop environment. Installed by default in Funtoo
xfce-extra/thunar-volmanDaemon that enforces volume-related policies. Installed by default Funtoo
xfce-extra/thunar-vcs-plugin Adds Subversion and GIT actions to the context menu of thunar
xfce-extra/thunar-shares-pluginThunar plugin to share files using Samba
xfce-extra/thunar-archive-pluginArchive plug-in for the Thunar filemanager
xfce-extra/xfce4-volumedDaemon to control volume up/down and mute keys
xfce-extra/xfce4-volumed-pulseDaemon to control volume keys for pulseaudio
xfce-extra/xfce4-screenshooterXfce4 screenshooter application and panel plugin
xfce-extra/xfce4-notifydNotification daemon for the Xfce desktop environment
xfce-extra/xfce4-mixerA volume control application (and panel plug-in) for the Xfce desktop environment. Installed by default in Funtoo
xfce-extra/xfce4-mount-pluginA mount plug-in for the Xfce panel
xfce-extra/xfce4-clipman-pluginA clipboard manager plug-in for the Xfce panel
xfce-extra/xfce4-battery-pluginA battery monitor panel plugin for the Xfce desktop environment
media-gfx/ristrettoA image viewer by Xfce project. Installed by default in Funtoo