What's up everybody.
I've debated this mail for a while - I'm the 'new kid' around these
parts, but in a short time I've developed quite a passion around
Fedora, and especially the Xfce spin. I've put some thought and
research into this, so thanks for humoring me and reading.
As great as our spin is, I know it can be better. In reality anything
can be better - there should be a constant evolution of improvements.
I know as Xfce users, we are a smaller niche group from what would use
the default Desktop spin, or perhaps even the KDE spin. It is true,
however that Xfce is experiencing a spike in popularity lately.
Now, although I've only recently finally made the full switch back to
Fedora (I used RHL and Fedora through Core2 before switching) I only
regret not coming back sooner.
Now to the point at hand, how can we make Fedora's Xfce spin
first-class. I guess first, we have to define what *is* first class. I
loaded up different distros with Xfce in VM's and poked around, just
to see how they looked and felt, and my only real impressions were:
a) many aspects of panel layout/themes are very much personal preference
b) sadly, every Xfce 'spin' I tried felt at least somewhat more
polished than Fedora's out-of-the box presentation in one way or
There are tons of screenshots on the web, but here are mine from my
VMs (with my thoughts for each).
So - looks nice. Greybird is my favorite theme. The wallpaper has been
the same for at least 2, maybe 3 releases (I think, Charlie Kraviez
can correct me on this I'm sure as he was one the Xubuntu Project
I never liked the 'auto-hide' dock...in fact, I generally hate the
'extra' Xfce panel anyway. The Icons look nice, all of the icons in
the system tray match, everything looks smooth, integrated and blends
Sabayon 9: http://jaysonr.fedorapeople.org/pictures/xfce_screenshots/sabayon_9.png
Although not really a 'mainstream' distro, I really only loaded it up
out of curiosity to see what they had done w/ Xfce since most of the
reviews and stuff online focus on the GNOME and KDE spins of this
distro. I actually kinda like what they did. A 2 panel layout that
could easily appeal to GNOME2 refugees, but still different from a
GNOME2 layout. Again, nice icons, although everything doesn't match as
nicely as in Xubuntu, still looks pretty polished. The default theme
is nice (looks to be custom to the distro, perhaps) and the use the
default Xfce window decorations.
openSUSE 12.2 (Beta):
In terms of competition for similar user-bases, I would think of
openSUSE and Fedora to have the two most similar potential user bases.
I like the single panel layout, although the icons seems stock Xfce,
they look nicely integrated. The mixer applet on the panel (Gmixer)
doesn't seem to be in our repos, but the icon for it looks nicer than
the faded icon w/ the blue half-circles we have w/ the default Xfce
mixer applet. They are using Adwaita for a GTK theme, and a custom
window decoration (that seems closely based on the default Xfce
Linux Mint Debian Edition:
I find the GTK theme a little too 'white' (along w/ the default
wallpaper), but both the theme and window decorations seem to be
modified versions of Greybird. Green (aka Mint) icons, but all of the
icons match, look nicely integrated, and the system tray icons match,
except for using the same mixer icon we use.\
And now, we all know the default Fedora 17 look:
Here I will point out mainly what I don't like: First, I don't like
the borders around the clock and notification area...just looks
unfinished to me. I also wish the Applications Menu icon were the
Fedora logo. I think the Adwaita theme works well (supports GTK3), but
the Nodoka window decorations look dated. I hate the mixer icon, but
like the rest of the 'Fedora' icon set.
This next screenshot is how *I* would improve the look we have now,
sticking with a same/similar layout:
Changes? The Fedora logo for the Applications Menu, no borders around
the clock and notification area, and the default Xfce window
decoration. Before I took this screenshot, I also ugraded to 4.10, and
added the 'Action Buttons' plugin to the panel.
Next, I simply eliminate a *personal* pet peeve - the second, bigger
panel that doesn't take up the entire width of the screen. It seems
wasteful to me (especially with maximized windows). I also reduced the
top panel to 24px.:
The next layout would appeal to GNOME 2 refugees:
A second (24px) panel is added back, and a places applet displaying
label only is added to the top panel. Reduced the text of the App menu
button to just display 'Applications'. This layout looks very much
like GNOME2 (to me anyway).
Next, is a layout similar to what openSUSE had:
A single bottom panel, 24px.
Finally, is basically what I'm using:
It's the same as the last layout, but using Greybird and the
Elementary icon theme. For my personal use, I'm still a little torn
between this and Adwaita, however I think the Elementary icon theme
looks SO much nicer, even that ugly mixer icon is fixed ;-) It just
looks more polished and integrated. I know everyone doesn't like the
darker grey panel look/menus etc...
So...now that I've said all of that what do you think? Like I said, I
was torn about jumping in as a new guy with suggestions, but I figured
why not...the worst y'all could do is say 'go away, your bothering
me'...so I did it.
Other thoughts I've had is, what other things do we do as a 'SIG'. I
noticed an e-mail from Rex Dieter to fedora-devel speaking of a KDE
SIG meeting - have we as a SIG ever had IRC meetings? Would there be
any value? Would anyone attend? Since I'm just now jumping in, has
there been other recent discussion I've missed about plans for F18? I
know Kevin has spoken of moving to LightDM, and has included Greybird
as being installed by default in the spin for F18.
I'm not looking to ruffle feathers, just get discussion going and make
Fedora 18's Xfce spin even more awesome.
Thanks for reading!
lightdm is built for f17 now too... could some folks give it some
testing and see how well it's working?
I tried it here, but it just gave me a blank screen, it seemed like it
wasn't starting X right or something. Could well be a local config
If it looks good to others in testing, we should switch the spin to it.
I intend to replace LXDM for LightDM to help with testing.
Version 1.3.1 was built two days ago for F18. Can I use it in F17 (I
don't even know if the system will accept to install it)?
Should it be built for F17 too or it just doesn't make sense to test it
Just saw this: http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/fedora-17-xfce.html
Now, it's not a great review - he recycled a home directory from
Xubuntu, so not sure why he made it a point to show off the
funkalicious configuration that occurred as a result, but when it
comes to the part after "Live Session and Installation", I can't say I
totally disagree with him on all points.
There really isn't anything 'polished' looking about the default
setup. I know I'm new here, and I have no clue how the default look of
the spin came to be, but I can't help but wonder - has any thought
ever been given to spiffing things up a little? Even if everyone
involved with the spin *loves* the Nodoka+Adwaita combination, I think
two small changes would make for a better first impression:
* Using the Fedora branded xfce4_xicon1 by default on the Applications Menu
* Setting the Clock and Notification Area to have 'no borders'
Honestly, I could care less about anything else the review said - most
of it seemed to be him rambling on about Fedora not having proprietary
codecs and such, but I *can* see how a new user might find the default
presentation a little un-polished.
Any other thoughts?
Since from first installation more months ago, my fedora 16 xfce have
problems with files on usb sticks, especially with big files: often (90%
of times), after I transfer files on it, won't umount (device is busy),
and, once file are deleted (using shift + canc), space remain occupied;
using delete as normal, a .Trash folder appear with file inside. For
solve the situation I must use gparted, deleting and recreate the partition.
Thanks for your help.