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Xfce desktop environment sees a 4.16pre1 release, better fractional scaling

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Lightweight classic desktop environment Xfce continues advancing, with a new pre-release update available for testing pulling in some great features.

Their current plan is to have a second pre-release at the end of September and if needed a third in October. With the aim to have the final Xfce 4.16 release in by November. It's shaping up to be a pretty exciting release, with lots of working going into all areas.

One of the big addition is support for display fractional scaling, giving you better options to get your desktop exactly how you want it to be on whatever resolution that may be.

There's plenty more coming like a fancy set of new icons (shown below), they dropped lots of older GTK2 code to improve maintainability, the "About Xfce" dialog has been revamped, they added client-side decorations for settings dialogs, tons of bug fixes and more.

It's not just icons and application adjustments, they've also tweaked and upgraded the main panel user interface of Xfce too. There's a new "Status Tray" plugin, with unifies the system tray and the status notifier plugin to make life easier and more streamlined for users. If you set your panel to autohide, there's also now an animation to make it clear that's what it's doing.

Pictured: autohide animation.

Plenty more tweaks elsewhere to improve the flow. These tweaks include having launcher now show the desktop file action when right clicking (like being able to open a private window with Firefox), the application window list now supports "launching a new instance" in the right click menu, the panel can have a dark mode depending on theme support and the list goes on. Sounds like a real quality upgrade coming.

See the full post here. More about Xfce on the official site.

I have to admit Xfce is a wonderful Linux desktop environment. Especially if you like your classic style. If I wasn't so happy with MATE, Xfce would be my next choice.

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Avikarr Sep 14, 2020
XFCE is the best desktop environment. I used, and tested almost all of DE, and I always come back to XFCE. I don't know, it just works, it is very lightweight, simplistic, customizable and beautiful :) When i look at it, I just feel at home.

Last edited by Avikarr on 14 September 2020 at 8:17 pm UTC
wvstolzing Sep 14, 2020
Some serious 'quality of life' improvements coming up; esp. dark mode for panel alone (dirty workarounds exist, but a clean solution would be very welcome), & desktop file actions on the launchers. What I really am waiting for, though, is keyboard shortcuts (at least an option to focus & navigate by arrow keys) for the panel 'window buttons'.
dibz Sep 14, 2020
XFCE. My only real complaint is how strict they are regarding full screen window focus, in particular if you fullscreen something on one monitor -- such as a youtube video -- and click elsewhere; Any panels on that display will go above your window.

I tracked down a bug report/request for this once and it turns out it was intentional due to some standard (FreeDesktop maybe? I don't recall) XFCE follows. The good news is in the same thread a patch was provided for the desired behaviour -- which I still use today (though I've had to adjust the patch over time for newer XFCE versions).

Aside from that minor annoyance, XFCE is still the best desktop environment I've ever used.
lectrode Sep 14, 2020
Quoting: GuestI love XFCE too. Do they plan on fixing the tearing issue ?

I haven't had screen tearing issues in Xfce for years. That was something they apparently fixed with the default compositor in the transition to gtk3 (4.14 release), but I continue to use compiz for all it's additional bells and whistles.

Last edited by lectrode on 14 September 2020 at 9:31 pm UTC
peta77 Sep 14, 2020
XFCE is still the first choice if you want a stable, resource and user friendly desktop. Unlike memory hogs like KDE (I have to run some computers 24/7, and then it becomes a serious issue since first version of KDE4).

It's cool to hear they add a little bit more usability. What I'm still missing though is more configurability of shortcuts. They seem to have a Mozilla attitude regarding that (we decide, no you can't change anything about it).
TheLinuxPleb Sep 15, 2020
I played around a lot with different DE's, but XFCE is where i ended up eventually. Maybe two years now already and i still love it. Simple, fast and effective.
redman Sep 15, 2020
Been using XFCE since Xubuntu 12.04 LTS after the Unity fiasco of Canonical and then in Linux Mint XFCE, I mainly use my computer for work and with XFCE I have a light environment that just work in each release.
Have try KDE Neon for a while and I was surprise that was more lightly that I remember KDE I just have to spend time to make it work with all the options, GNOME 3 is a memory hog in comparison.
Kudos for the XFCE team!
Purple Library Guy Sep 15, 2020
Like Liam, I'm a Mate man. But one size does not fit all; I'm generally pleased to hear that the different DEs are doing good stuff, whether it's XFCE, KDE, Cinnamon, Budgie . . . I guess even Gnome 3 . . . OK, never really forgave Gnome 3 for being what it was rather than an improved Gnome 2 . . .
NoSt Sep 15, 2020
Great news!
I prefer MATE, when it comes to light-weight Linux distributions, but it doesn't mean I don't like XFCE. It's actually pretty good.
The only important problem I had with XFCE is its HiDPI support. I tried Manjaro XFCE on my main gaming PC, but it took a lot of effort to make it look half decent on my 4K screen. That's why I'm glad that they seem to be working on that issue.
Besides, to be honest, HiDPI support is still a problem for many Linux DEs, with the exception of GNOME. That's why I stick with Ubuntu for now.
Grimfist Sep 15, 2020
Quoting: AvikarrXFCE is the best desktop environment. I used, and tested almost all of DE, and I always come back to XFCE. I don't know, it just works, it is very lightweight, simplistic, customizable and beautiful :) When i look at it, I just feel at home.
Funny, I can say the exact same things about my beloved KDE ;)

Great to see XFCE mature even more. I had to revert back to it while KDE was broken because of the Qt 5.15 debacle on my Artix system. And while it was only a couple of days, it was a pleasent journey. But now that KDE is fixed again, I will go back to my beloved KDE ;)
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