Xfce

Subdomains
 

Xfce Panel Switch: Introduction

  • October 13, 2015
  • Sean
Xubuntu 15.10 “Wily Werewolf” introduces a new application for managing panel layouts in Xfce, Xfce Panel Switch. This is a simple utility application that fills a void for appearance tweakers and distributors alike.   Features Backup and restore panel configurations Share panel layouts with simple exporting and importing Choose from one of 5 included layouts, or … Continue reading Xfce Panel Switch: Introduction

LightDM GTK+ Greeter 2.0.1 and Settings 1.2.0 Releases

  • May 21, 2015
  • Sean
LightDM GTK+ Greeter and it’s accompanying configuration application have been updated!  A number of bugs have been fixed in the greeter, and a new multihead configuration dialog has been added to LightDM GTK+ Greeter Settings. Update 2015/06/16 Both applications have been added to the Stable PPA.  Some users are reporting a solid-color background on some … Continue reading LightDM GTK+ Greeter 2.0.1 and Settings 1.2.0 Releases

What’s New in Xubuntu 15.04

  • April 23, 2015
  • Sean
Another 6 months of development has come and gone and we have a new Xubuntu release!  This release includes the hotly anticipated Xfce 4.12, released on February 28, as well as all of the typical application, appearance, documentation, and translation updates. Left: Xubuntu 14.10, Right: Xubuntu 15.04 What’s New? With the release of Xfce 4.12, … Continue reading What’s New in Xubuntu 15.04

How to start contributing to Xfce or any other open source project

  • November 4, 2012
  • Jannis Pohlmann

It’s been a while since I’ve updated this website and even longer since I’ve written anything useful. But since I’ve received a couple of mails from people looking to contribute to Xfce recently, I thought I’d share some “wisdom” acquired over the past few years while working on Xfce and doing a lot of community work. My thoughts are not limited to Xfce and will apply to a lot of other projects out there as well.

Here’s the bitter truth for those looking for some quick pointers to start contributing to Xfce: you’ll have to find out yourself.

The reason is not that we are lazy or wouldn’t welcome your contributions. In fact, the reason, I believe, is very simple: you will be more excited, motivated and, ultimate, be more successful if you work on something that interests you. We can help you in making the decision what to invest your time in easier, e.g. by listing projects, features or issues that we or our users consider worth working on. Some projects do this very visibly (e.g. through bounties). In Xfce, this information is hidden in the depths of the wiki. Here are a few links that you may find interesting:

Clearly, the above information could be more visible. There could be a prominent link on the Xfce website to a well-maintained and up-to-date list. Would that help people? Maybe.

Perhaps it is a good thing that the information isn’t just one click away. Open source projects have always been about scratching your own itch. This is how I got involved in everything I’ve done over the years. this approach is reflected by what people do and sometimes even by how companies make money. Thinking about it now, it is a concept deeply rooted in the evolution of mankind (think: the invention and improvement of tools, industrialisation and all that shit).

So: scratch your own itch.

If you want to start contributing to a project, try this exercise:

  • Look at the project, think about what you don’t like or what you feel could be improved
  • Try to collect information on what pieces are involved in e.g. the feature you’re missing or the bug you’ve spotted
  • Try to find the place where you could try adding your feature or fixing your bug
  • Ask whether developers are interested in the feature or look at whether there already is an item for your issue in the bug tracker
  • The rest is communication and coding

It’s not a fast path because you might not be able to contribute something of great value in the beginning. But if you’re dedicated, have enough spare time to make a difference and are keen on improving things step by step, you might eventually reach a point where you take over responsibility for more and more exciting or important tasks.

Good luck!

It has arrived: Xfce 4.8

  • January 16, 2011
  • vincent

The Xfce development team has announced the release of Xfce 4.8, the culmination of almost two years of work. The release makes Xfce once again a truly modern desktop environment by making use of recent desktop frameworks that, for example, finally allow you to browse remote shares or to edit the menu using a menu editor like Alacarte. Unfortunately, as the Xfce team makes clear in the release announcement, these frameworks often do not properly support non-Linux open source systems, meaning the Xfce team could not support those systems as well they would like to. For Xubuntu, being Linux-based, this has no effect.

Apart from adding many crucial modern features (which also meant completely rewriting the application that displays the panels), Xfce’s development process has been formalized, and the first steps have been taken in forming a non-profit organization, to ensure a viable future for Xfce. I covered the renewed development process and new features in my look at the first preview release. For a more detailed update by the Xfce team, check out the tour on new features in Xfce 4.8, part of (do these guys ever sleep?) the new website to accompany the new release.

The new version of Xfce is scheduled to be included in Xubuntu 11.04, to be released in April of this year.


Xfce alive and well: new version on its way

  • November 7, 2010
  • vincent

On 7 November, Jannis Pohlmann announced the first preview release of Xfce 4.8. The new version of Xfce, which is planned to be released on January 16th, brings much-requested features, and will close a development cycle in which the project made great strides forward.

Let’s first focus on the improvements coming in the next release of Xubuntu’s main component. Perhaps the most requested feature is support for remote filesystems. Much clamoured for, the feature required rewriting big parts of the core – something which has finally been completed.

Apart from that, the application that provides the panel(s) on your desktop has been completely rewritten, bringing a huge number of improvements, most notably in the support for multi-monitor setups, and a pet peeve of mine: the ability to drag application files to the panel to create launchers.

Also high on the wish list of many users was the ability to graphically edit the menus. Although Xfce still doesn’t ship its own menu editor, it is now possible to edit it using menu editors for other standards compliant desktops, such as Alacarte.

So, a lot has been rewritten in this release cycle – we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg above. Most important, however, are the improvements made to the release process in general, which will make the project more future-proof and will increase the speed with which new releases can be made, and lower the entry barrier to new contributors.

To start with the latter point, Xfce was one of the first of now many projects using the Transifex translation environment. Transifex makes it easier than ever for translators to help translating Xfce, as translators can now simply download the current translations and update their new translations via the web interface. I have used it myself, and it really is a huge improvement over the previous, cumbersome process. The new translation process has already attracted quite a few new translators, ensuring more of Xfce has been translated than ever, with even higher quality.

While the size of the development team has fluctuated over time (it has never been large, yet some people moved on – luckily there were new contributions as well), the team has managed to keep the desktop up-to-date with recent technologies, and has rewritten parts of the code, improving the quality to ensure it can be built on properly in the future.

Finally, the release process has been revised, now encouraging many small releases for sub-projects, as opposed to releasing all of them at once with a new version of Xfce. It is now much less work to release a new version, making that task less daunting and thus less likely to be postponed. Automatic release announcements also result in improved publicity for a new release, making it clear the project is alive and well, and more attractive for third-party contributors to help out. It also gets updated translations out faster.

All in all, the new release is shaping up to be a very solid one, closing a few big gaps in the feature set. Xfce is a truly modern desktop environment again, and what’s more important: its future, starting with the release of the new version on January 16th, is looking exceptionally bright.

In other news: as you might notice, this blog has not been updated in a while. Unfortunately, this post does not signify a change in the lack of updates. I’m really too busy with other things in my life that I’m hardly even tinkering with my computer, or actively involved with Xubuntu. So yeah, this blog is still dead. Also, it is not an official Xubuntu blog in any way, so do not draw any conclusions about the status of Xubuntu from this blog post; it is still awesome :)


Finally: free Xubuntu CDs!

  • July 31, 2009
  • vincent

Xubuntu users have long clamoured for their beloved Linux distribution to be available in Ubuntu’s ShipIt service, but to no avail: Xubuntu’s user base was too marginal and, as a community-run project, Canonical could not provide support for it. Thus, they refrained from offering free Xubuntu CDs.

They still do, but there now is an alternative! Xubuntu is from now on available under the Quick Ship service run by On-Disk.com. As listed on the “Get Xubuntu” page, shipping is available for the USA and the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, despite the CDs being free of charge, you still have to pay for shipping them (as opposed to ShipIt). Still, for people suffering from a slow internet connection this is a great alternative, and the Xubuntu developers are very pleased that this service is still being made available to users. I should mention expicitly, though, that this service is not run by the Xubuntu developers, neither is it run by Canonical. This is an independent service provided by a home-based family business with heart for the open source community. Pasi Lallinaho, who is currently “the artwork guy” of Xubuntu, has expressed interest in providing graphics for the CD to make sure they match the Xubuntu style.

Still, I think this is a great development for Xubuntu and its users, and I want to thank On-Disk.com for doing this.


News Update

  • June 4, 2009
  • Jannis Pohlmann

A lot of things are going on lately and it turns out I'm way to busy to update my weblog on a regular basis. So, this is just a short post to keep you all updated.

Last two weeks

  • I took a new student job at the university, at the Institute of Theoretical Computer Science, which I love most. I'll be working on haplotyping algorithms.
  • I went to Barcelona and had a great time at the Ubuntu Developer Summit overall. Stephan and I were very productive. One evening during dinner we discussed our development and release process and later started writing it down. The result is a beautiful document that still needs a bit of polishing. I hope it'll serve as a good foundation for the development and release process of Xfce in the future. Several others commented on it and it looks like we'll give the proposed concept a shot after we've switched to git and all that.
  • Even though the week in Barcelona was great for Xfce, I was disappointed with how it went with regards to the cooperation between Xubuntu and Xfce. I talked it through with Stephan and after I got back, I resigned from my position as the Xubuntu Xfce4 Liaison.

At the moment

  • I've started to implement the so-called thumbnail management D-Bus specification. My implementation is called Tumbler and it will hopefully start serving thumbnails for other apps soon. I'm planning to use it in Thunar, Stephan has expressed interest in using it in Ristretto and when discussing the specification and the existing hildon-thumbnail implementation, Philip van Hoof told me that Hildon/Nokia might be interested in dropping hildon-thumbnail in favor of Tumbler if it's flexible enough. I'm working on it as much as I can and I'm hoping to do a release within the next few weeks.
  • I'm still working on the Transifex installation for Xfce. It's already running but I still need to import all the projects, releases and of course create accounts for maintainers automatically.
  • The migration of Xfce to Git is still work in progress. Brian has most of the repository issues sorted out and is now waiting for me to finish the commit mail script. I have two or three possible implementations lying around but I need to have a look at that again.
  • Jim needs the documentation repository next week, so I'm about to set it up.
  • Our Buildbot server has arrived in Sweden. Today I set up the firewall. Samual is taking care of setting up the Buildbot host VM and other things. We're considering to move a lot of the services not related to development (like the Xfce websites) into separate VMs on that server too, in order to make the current server a development-only machine.

Besides that I'm trying to catch up with the work and personal stuff that piled up while I was away last week. And I really should go and sleep.

Trip to Barcelona

  • May 24, 2009
  • Jannis Pohlmann

Tomorrow afternoon I'll be travelling to Barcelona, where I'm going to spend the week surrounded by hackers from all over the world planning the next release of Ubuntu. I'll meet up with Stephan, Cody, Michael and Steve there to improve Xubuntu but I'll hopefully also run into a few other familiar faces.

During the week I'll do my best in setting up the new Xfce documentation repository based on the discussions we had over the last few weeks. I'll also try to cook up Lunar Linux modules for Transifex so that we'll have it up and running as soon as we switch our repositories over to Git. These are my goals - let's see how far I can get.

I'm hoping for a few very nice couple of days. I've never been south of Germany and it's my first time in Spain ever. As a fortunate coincidence, there's the Champions League final Barcelona vs. Manchester United on Wednesday. Not that I'm much of football fan ... but I like it when people go crazy.

Thunar/GIO – Quick Status Report

  • April 23, 2009
  • Jannis Pohlmann

I've started hacking on the migration of Thunar to GIO on April 9th. In about 61 commits, I've reduced the original number of ThunarVFS references in the Thunar source code dramatically. The most important and probably most time-consuming part of this work is only mentioned briefly on those pages: rewriting all recursive copy/move/trash/restore/chmod/chgrp/chown jobs -- by now most of the jobs have been rewritten based on GIO and the new ThunarJob framework ... and Thunar still works (for me at least)!

All in all, I suppose that about a third of the implementation work is done. Ok, maybe just a quarter, but an important one. I now have a very good overview over the source code and I'm almost done with one of the most critical parts of the migration.

If you want to know how that looks like for me, here's a screenshot:

Lunar Linux 20090423

These are the most important/big things that are still waiting for me:

  • Replace ThunarVFSVolumeManager with GFileMonitor. Volume management is a large and complex subsystem of both ThunarVFS and GIO.
  • Load ThunarFile objects asynchronously. This will be a pain. A lot of functions will have to be split up to fit into the asynchronous concept.
  • Move the thumbnail related code into exo

These two are a bit out of scope but very important nonetheless:

  • Integrate functionality similar to Gigolo (remote/virtual places management) into the file manager.
  • Write GNOME-independent GIO extensions for volume management and the trash.

On a side node: Xubuntu 9.04 is available as of today! Go and grab it if you're interested in a nice distro based on Xfce. If you're interested in the Xubuntu development, you'll be able to meet Stephan, several Xubuntu folks and me at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Barcelona from May 25th-29th. I'm very excited already!