XFCE on the Pi - Making your Pi GUI run faster!

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by ren41 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:09 pm
I've also removed LXDE as I much prefer xfce. I also removed Slim.

You might find (if using autoremove) that your menu utility disappears - if this happens you won't be able to run any admin utilities, such as Synaptic, from within xfce, as they require you to log in as root. To get it back just type 'sudo apt-get install menu' from a terminal.
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by Larry_Adlard » Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:24 pm
Joe Schmoe wrote:I agree with your point #1. Only Windows Weenies assume they need a GUI all the time, every time. On demand is what sensible people want.

No need to sneer. It gives non-Microsoft users a bad name. It's bad for our image.

I've used everything from CP/M onwards and I'm going to welcome people/converts who know nothing about linux, and try to make as much as possible accessible from the GUI. It's easier and most people will never need recourse to the system. The stated aim of this project is to get kids programming Python. Not becoming a system wonk.

I'm pretty agnostic about desktops. I always customise them to show MY desktop. Last year I gave a lecture to Windows users with a mixture of XP, Vista and Win7. I had intended to boot into Vista but got interrupted during boot and it booted into the default (Linux). No one including me realised that what they were seeing wasn't Microsoft.

I downloaded xfce to compare with lxde.

I tested the two side by side and on my system they both take 22 seconds to load.

The version downloaded doesn't have a system load monitor option to add to the desktop. You'll need to get the plugin as stated above. It is very useful on RPi - When the box is 100% you know you'll have to wait.

xfce4 is ok. You pays no money and takes your choice. Without 'slim' I can startx into LXDE or startxfce4 for XFC4. I can't come down on either side YET so I'll try them equally and sit on the fence.
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by sharpapotheosis » Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:34 pm
I found much quicker to start was icewm. (sudo apt-get install icewm and choose it from slim
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by nliwilson » Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:14 am
Larry_Adlard wrote:No need to sneer. It gives non-Microsoft users a bad name. It's bad for our image.

I agree and I can't help feeling a few people involved with RPi have a very old fashioned attitude to end users, which is odd given the effort that's been put in to promoting RPi to end users (here in the UK anyway). Lets try not to slip back 15 years to the days of telling Windows users they should be using Linux, deliberately making Linux dist's inaccessible to them, then sneering at them for not moving to Linux!? Oh and before anyone asks, no I'm not a Windows user and I've been very happy indeed to never have to use Windows again for some years now, it's one of the few upsides to being too chronically ill to work.

As for XFCE and LXDE, I've used XFCE on a variety of Linux distributions and I'm very happy with it, it's light, has a small footprint (doesn't use much RAM/CPU time) uses Gnome and KDE back-ends well and it's quite configurable. On the other hand I can honestly say I've given LXDE a fair shake and I personally find it crude, clunky, slow (especially for it's size) and excessively stripped out. Obviously this is my personal opinion, albeit based on experience and I would personally suggest people play with both to find out what works for you.
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by krautbert » Sun May 19, 2013 9:44 am
Hi guys,

i have the problem, that i have to choose the xfce4 session on every startup. Can i set xfce4 as default on every login?
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by N1njAgam3R » Mon May 20, 2013 5:24 pm
hawkyhawk14 wrote:Mine can be set to do this. Just a quick change of my configuration file and it will auto start, log me in and load XFCE and be ready to use and boots in about 1:20 seconds

Fantastic! This sounds like something I'm trying to accomplish, that is I'm trying to automatically log in and launch the GUI. If you could share how you did this I'd greatly appreciate it!
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by SirClayton » Wed May 29, 2013 6:46 pm
Brilliant, just what I wanted!
Pi and Google...
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by andPS2 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:41 pm
it is possible to change the default session in slim to xfce
just edit /etc/slim.conf
login_cmd exec /bin/bash -login /etc/X11/Xsession %session
login_cmd exec /bin/bash -login /etc/X11/Xsession startxfce4

but then i dont know how to start lxde anymore
adding startlxde into the sessions in the slim.conf doesnt work
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by GhostRider1124 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:56 pm
Hey I am running raspbian with nginx as server.. When I was installing xface through the cmd line prompts as listed above and noticed that half way through I got --->

dpkg: libgd2-noxpm:armhf: dependency problems, but removing anyway as you requested:
nginx-full depends on libgd2-noxpm (>= 2.0.36~rc1~dfsg) | libgd2-xpm (>= 2.0.36~rc1~dfsg); however:
Package libgd2-noxpm:armhf is to be removed.
Package libgd2-xpm is not installed.

I did not want to wipe out nginx so broke the pipe..
Also atm there is only command line on the pi running raspbian. The gui was deleted prior to attempted xface install
Any Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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by jozien1722 » Sat May 23, 2015 8:27 pm
xdce is the latest version installed.
All I did was install slim ans everything is fine


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by brilliant_idea » Thu May 28, 2015 11:16 pm

I tried your instruction to install XFCE and after login into the GUI they only thing i can see is a blank screen with a mouse pointer which is responsive and left it for an hour and nothing happened. any advice?

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by Tom_A » Fri May 29, 2015 3:54 am
I've switched over to XFCE. Not sure if I can tell if it's faster or not. I'm still using lightdm to select my desktop environment and I didn't remove LXDE so I have the option of switching back. I do like the greater configurability and it's definitely running as well as LXDE does.

One thing that I did notice is that I run conky and my transparent conky window was showing the lxde launcher background instead of the XFCE background. The only way to make things look right is to use the same background for both.

This one is with the lightdm and xfce backgrounds set the same:

This is with different backgrounds set for each:

So, when you find the compositor, turn it on, turn on shadows, make windows and panels transparent, xfce definitely does not run as fast as lxde. :lol: :ugeek:

I was a little reluctant about installing xfce, but now definitely going to stick with it.

One other thing that I have noticed is that autologin causes conky to have a black background. I think that the lightdm background isn't loaded if you autologin. Logging out and then back in fixes this as well as not using autologin.
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by Tom_A » Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:03 pm
Another thing that I've noticed about xfce is that my trackpad multouch gestures no longer seem to work, other than two finger scrolling. Tapping for mouse clicks no longer works. Not sure if I miss this all that much though as on LXDE it seemed too sensitive sometimes. I've looked up some solutions to get this working again in case I choose to enable them again but haven't had any luck getting them working again yet. Performance seems identical to the default GUI other than xfce menus tend to work better. The default menu pauses on some menu items occasionally.
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by mattthumper » Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:45 pm
Wow hawkyhawk14 - thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. Here, 4 years later you are still helping us 'Googlers' out. You made it very concise and easy to follow. I really appreciate it.
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by Retrospectual » Wed May 17, 2017 9:30 pm
Thanks for this, I've been using it for about a year now. Always liked XFCE the most for it's simplicity. Much more mouse friendly IMO than LXDE, especially with the "browse network" option right on the directory tree in Thunar. I also like the right click options opposed to the "edit" menu from the top of the window
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by peterlite » Thu May 18, 2017 1:38 am
XFCE and LXDE jump all over the place from release to release. I compared them several times on other machines. XFCE would win one year and LXDE the next year. I find the distribution support for the GUI far more important than minor performance differences that change with each version.

For those installing XFCE then removing LXDE, Raspbian Lite is Raspbian without LXDE or the memory heavy applications. Raspbian Lite is probably the better starting point for XFCE.
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