Xfce Weekly News – March 4th – March 13th 2005

  • March 13, 2005
  • Erik

Welcome to this week’s Xfce Weekly News. This week I’ll be adding links to the mailing lists where appropriate, for those of you who want to delve a little deeper. Also, I am going to start posting some of the interesting tidbits floating around in the commits list – yes, dear readers, I brave the commits list. So you don’t have to.

I would also like to apologize for the lateness of this week’s news. We’re still calling it “Weekly” even though it’s more like “fortnight” at this point.

And as long as I’m apologizing, I’d like to thank Benny about being a good sport about me mispelling his name last week. Sounds like he gets that all the time.

Remember, if you like Xfce, and are intrigued by anything you read below, please join our mailing lists! Knowledgable users to help out on the user list is always appreciated, and more developers can really give development speed a kick in the pants. And on a personal note, if you’ve had a chance to use the Xfce Foundation Classes, let the XFC list know! We’d all love to see what people are doing with this cool piece of technology. And if you are a C++ programmer who hasn’t used XFC yet – do so!

Big News

4.2.1 Release Schedule

Olivier proposed a 4.2.1 release schedule, slating 4.2.1 for Sunday the 13th. As of this writing, 4.2.1 has yet to be released, but a number of small bugs and translation fixes have been popping up in the commits list, and as good as 4.2.0 was, it looks like its successor will be better. Keep your eye on the user lists to see when it arrives. Hopefully 4.2.1 will help keep the natives satisfied until 4.4.0.


In other software release news. Radoslaw Pociecha released a new version of his all singing, all dancing menu plugin for the panel. There was much rejoicing, bug hunting, and feature requesting.

The Xfce4PanelMenu (not to be confused with the panel button plugin) provides quick access to so much, it almost defies you to need any app other than the panel. It can provide disk mounting, file browing, application access, and more. Give it a whirl, and tell Radoslaw what you think.

http://developer.berlios.de/projects/xfce4panelmenu/ – Homepage
http://developer.berlios.de/screenshots/?group_id=3138 – Screenies


Samuel Verstraete made a noble attempt to reinject some fuel into the idea of an application directory for Xfce. His proposal shows some promise, and he’s volunteered to help. Unfortunately, he’s had no reponses (possibly because he put his offer on the Dev list, who are already busy writing the core).

If you think you have both the time and the inclination to help Samuel out, let both Sam and the developers know. This could be a great boon to the community – not only does it increase visibility of existing applications, it makes writing them that much easier. So, if you can, lend us a hand!

Thunar News

Several interesting threads cropped up in the ever exciting world of Thunar.

File Chooser-like UI

Benny posted a mockup of a FileChooser-like UI. A long discussion shows it well recieved, with a few reservations.


More on NeXT

Erik Peterson got the list to look at the NeXT file manager, and a few related ideas, one more time. The general thought is that while Thunar should try to learn from the past, and certainly solve some of the problems that the Workspace Manager set out to solve, it won’t do it the same way that NeXT did.


Rox and VFS

Biju Chacko made some comments on potential ways of judging the UI, and proceeding in it’s design. This quickly turned into a discussion of Rox (a file manager often used with Xfce) and the possibility of a standard VFS module to come out of freedektop.org


Average Filename Length

In a spurt of empirical UI research (rare enough in the software world) Jasper posted his average filename length for his home directory. Some other’s did the same. How long should the label on an icon be before it gets truncated? DFM did no truncation at all, and anyone who ran DFM saw what a mess that was . . .



As exciting as the commits list sounds, it’s really mostly just translation updates, and minor changes, all of which just happen to accumulate into a big deal over time. But occasional some interesting nuggets can be found. Here’s this weeks

XFcalendar and libical

Mickael Graf and Juha Kautto continue to convert XFcalendar in HEAD to use libical. Also added is (currently incomplete) appointment functionality.

Xffm and Iconview

The commits list saw a large drop from Edscott with his continuing work on the Iconview for Xffm, being worked on in CVS HEAD. Even with Thunar development ongoing, Edscott continues his work on the large scale UI change for Xffm. If you find Thunar heading in too simple a direction, or if you like Xffm already, than this work, slated for 4.4, ought to tweak your interest.

The Panel Widget

Jasper made some commits in his quest for an enhanced and widgetized panel. The panel widgest shows a lot of promise, but the details are only known to Jasper, and those devs who made it FOSDEM. If I can’t infer the complete picture from Jasper’s slides or his commit log, I’ll chain him to the rack.

Anything for you, stalwart reader.

The Developer List

Here’s the various goings on that have been going on in the developer’s list


The Subversion move continued to be analyzed. Not debated exactly, but put under rigorous scrutiny. Olivier moved to have the CVS -> SVN move postponed until after 4.2.1. Harumphs all around.


4.4 Default Theme

Benedikt launched a thread commenting on the new default 4.4 theme. In the ensuing discussion, Olivier made some solid points about how to design a UI in the face of a themeable toolkit.


Panel Contents Translations

Benedikt changed the panel in HEAD to use a simpler mechanism for translating the contents.xml file. As a side effect, all translations in HEAD for this file are broken. There was some discussion on how all this worked, and where else it could be applied.


The User List

And for those of you not following the user list, here are some of the highlights. These are the threads that either got (or should have got) ample discussion.

Gnome Desktop Appears

Termina asked the now rather common question about the Gnome desktop appearing, and then not going away. The standard answer (and a few non standard ones) were given.


Xfce and Fedora Core

The thread about the removal of Xfce from Fedora Core continued, with a polite note from Olivier to keep any distro flames off list.


Weekly News Changes

The new weekly news was well received. A few comments were made, and the news was moved to the Dev Blog, which now makes XWN available via RSS.



Nathan Elliot had some trouble with the Shutdown and Reboot options in the logout dialog. Despite everyone’s help, he couldn’t quite get it working. He later responded with a workaround.


Splash Screen Themes

Don Harper wanted to know how to make splash screen themes for the session manager. Apparantly no one else knew either.


Raise/Lower and FVWM2

Bob Hepple asked if he could get FVWM2 like behaviour in a few cases. The answer is “pretty close, for some definition thereof”.


Xfce Galaxy Theme

Alexander Toresson has an Xfwm4 theme he loves. Thing is, he can’t find it. Olivier helped him out.



Maximilian Schleiss asked about a Xfmedia bug. Brian responded with “I’ll release a new version that fixes that soon. Really. Promise.”


Xfce Config File Behaviour

Jörg Sommer has a mismatch between the way Xfce saves config files, the way he runs his Linux pool. He was handed a workaround, and an apology.


Alsaconf and the Panel

Alexander Toresson looses his panel when he runs Alsaconf. Though this has been known to happen, Alexander doesn’t seem to have the usual setup for the problem.