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Author Topic: HOWTO xfce 4.4 Hints and Tips for VL 5.8 Standard  (Read 10266 times)
lagagnon
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« on: October 12, 2006, 08:28:48 am »

This is not a definitive document - the tips here have been compiled from many sites. Some are for novices, others are for geeks. Feel free to add to this thread with new ideas, hints, suggestions; but please post questions to the appropriate forum, not this HOWTO Forum. I may edit this document to add/subtract/edit in future. Keep posted!

Docs: if you are a newbie it is probably a good idea to read the xfce docs (Programs, Help) before trying these hints. Be aware that the docs are for xfce version 4.2.2 and we are using 4.4! But for the most part the docs apply well to the newer version.

Menu: the xfce menu config file resides at ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/menu.xml. This file can be edited by hand (not recommended) or via a GUI app (Programs, Settings, Menu Editor) or right-click on the Programs Launcher and choose "Edit Menu". xfce4 follows the freedesktop specifications (http://www.freedesktop.org). Thus as long as a newly installed application has a proper .desktop file and it is installed in the correct directory (/usr/share/applications) then a menu item will appear the next time you boot-up xfce. If the item does not appear in the correct menu category you will have to edit its respective .desktop file.

Most of the xfce menu is auto-generated and is contained within the "system" menu (see this with the menu editor (above)). If all .desktop files are as they should be you should not have to touch this but if your really do want to edit this auto-generated part of the xfce menu then read this info:
http://xfce.wikia.com/wiki/Frequently_Asked_Questions#How_to_edit_the_auto_generated_menu_with_the_menu_editor.3F

Window Manager Reload: reload the xfce window manager after you have made menu/package/background changes with the command: Programs, Run Program, xfdesktop -reload .

Mouse Clicking: single-clicking of desktop icons is not yet implemented, but is available in the Thunar file manager. If you hate double-clicking implement all the desktop icons as launchers in the panel instead - they are single-click. To turn off all desktop icons for a nice clean desktop go to Programs, Settings, Desktop Settings, Behaviour, Desktop Icons, None. A middle-click on the desktop pops-up the workspace manager, a right-click pops-up the xfce menu.

Plugins: there are many more cool plugins available for the panel/taskbar: right click on a free area of the taskbar, and choose Add New Item. For extra xfce plugins (eye-candy goodies), including one for weather, go here: http://goodies.xfce.org/ or here: https://developer.berlios.de/projects/xfce-goodies/ .  Check the VL repository with gslapt first though, because some have already been packaged. Also read the info posted by "blurymind" in this thread: http://www.vectorlinux.com/forum2/index.php?topic=352.0 .

Screensaver and xflock: Screensavers are environmentally unfriendly when you can put your monitor into suspend and save on electricity costs. The easiest way to do that is to add the following line to the "Section "ServerLayout"" of your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file:

Option      "OffTime" "10"

(you can change the minutes to your liking). xfce has xflock which locks your screen with a screensaver and requires your password to get you back in. It must be manually started (there is a plugin for it - see above). You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Alt-Del to activate xflock.

Hotkeys: add hotkeys for frequently used applications (e.g. Ctrl-Alt-B for Browser) by going to Programs, Settings, Keyboard Settings, Shortcuts, Add. By the way there are MANY more keyboard shortcuts for xfce than are listed in that panel. All the default window manager keyboard shortcuts are found in Programs, Settings, Window Manager Settings, Keyboard. It is worthwhile learning them; you will save yourself much time. To bind multimedia keys read this thread: http://www.vectorlinux.com/forum2/index.php?topic=58.0 . To bind the Windows keyboard key to the xfce menu read this tip:
http://forum.xfce.org/index.php?topic=2401.0 .

Kiosk: if you are setting up VL5.8 as a kiosk terminal you can disable the user from changing aspects of xfce with kiosk files. See the documentation here: http://www.xfce.org/documentation/docs-4.2/xfce4-session.html .

Themes: you change the desktop theme by going to Programs, Settings, Window Manager Settings, Style to change the window decorations, thence to Programs, Settings, User Interface to set the window colouring, shading and icons and thence to Programs, Settings, Desktop Settings to set the background. A bit round-about but this allows for many variations on a theme (pun intended). If none of the many themes/backgrounds/icons included are what you want visit  http://xfce-look.org to find many others. If you have problems installing xfce themes read this: http://forum.xfce.org/index.php?topic=874.0 .

Splash & Buttons: if you don't like the VL splash go to Programs, Settings, Splash Screen Settings, Configure and change it. If you don't like the VL Programs Button then right click on it, choose Properties and change the "button icon".

Sound: xfce does not have its own sound system for sound effects. If you want login-logout sounds you should edit the file /usr/etc/xdg/xfce4/xinitrc and add the following lines above line 58 and below line 86 (before insertion), respectively:
"play myloginsound.mp3"
"play mylogoutsound.mp3"
I recommend renaming the old file first so you have a backup in case you mess up.

Icons: the easiest way to add desktop icons is to double-click the FileSystem Icon on the desktop, navigate to place where the application/folder/file lies, right click its icon, choose Send To Desktop (create link). The other easy way is to navigate to any current desktop icon, right click, choose Desktop, Create Launcher.

Desktop: the quickest method of making changes to icons and your desktop is to navigate your mouse cursor to any desktop icon, right click on the icon and choose "Desktop". This special context menu has a number of useful features. Try it.

Panels: you are not limited to one panel. The classic "xfce look" is here: http://www.xfce.org/images/screenshots/snap_VI.jpg . Play with Programs, Settings, Panel Manager and right-click the panels to get the look you want.

Transparency and Compositor: use "mrxvt" to get a nice, fast, multitabbed, low resource transparent terminal. Install "torsmo" to get a windowless system monitor on your background. To get transparent panels and window effects you need to have a video card capable of rendering (check with "glxinfo | grep render"). If that command output says "direct rendering: Yes" you are set to go. Then you edit your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file and add this:

Section "Extensions"
Option  "Composite" "Enable"
EndSection

Then add MIGHT want to add this to the "Section "Device"" section (may not be necessary):

Option "AccelMethod" "EXA"
Option "AGPMode" "4"
Option "EnablePageFlip" "true"
Option "DDCMode"
Option "RenderAccel" "true"
Option "SubPixelOrder" "NONE"
Option "ColorTiling" "false"

Then read the thread by hannumizzle here: http://www.vectorlinux.com/forum2/index.php?topic=502.0 . Then go to Programs, Settings, Window Manager Tweaks, Compositor, and set your transparency effects. You may then want to download a theme that has more transparency effects in it. See "Themes" above.

File Manager: Thunar is the fast, xfce file manager: you can add items to its context (right-click) menu. Do that with Programs, File Manager, Edit, Configure Custom Actions, Add. To add items to the "Send To" panel: for example, say you want to add a new entry to the menu, named Foo, that sends the selected files to the program foo. Just add a new file, named foo.desktop (the entries in the menu are sorted by their filenames), to the directory ~/.local/share/Thunar/sendto/ (just create the directory if it does not already exists), with the following content:

[Desktop Entry]
Type=Application
Version=1.0
Encoding=UTF-8
Exec=foo %F
Icon=foo

The target will automatically appear in Thunar's Send To menu (Thunar automatically reloads the targets whenever a change on one of the sendto directories is noticed - this idea is from the xfce thunar wiki: http://thunar.xfce.org/pwiki/ ).

Workspace Hacks: if you want to do cool things with workspace/windows management such as autostarting certain applications within certain workspaces you need to get "Devil's Pie" here: http://www.burtonini.com/blog/computers/devilspie . It does a lot of other geekie things for you too.

GTK Accelerators: xfce, Thunar and many of the applications provided with VL5.8 Standard use the GTK+ toolkit. With GTK apps you can bind a keyboard accelerator to any of the apps menu items by hovering your mouse cursor over the item and then pressing any typical keyboard accelerator combination (e.g. Ctrl-Shift-I, or whatever).

RAM Issues: if you have a low RAM machine (128MB or less) you should stick to one panel and remove unnecessary panel plug-ins and desktop icons. Some plug-ins consume 16MB of RAM!

Other: you might also want to visit the xfce forum and the xfce wiki for more good hints and tips:  http://www.xfce.org . Also worth reading is "hanumizzle's" review of xfce 4.4 here: http://turkey.fvdh.net/~hanumizzle/xfce4-review/

happy xfce'ing.....

lagagnon











 







 
« Last Edit: December 29, 2006, 08:08:35 pm by lagagnon » Logged

"As people become more intelligent they care less for preachers and more for teachers". Robert G. Ingersoll
ThurmanMerman
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2006, 01:00:45 am »

Very nicely stated howto lagagnon. I would like to add two more items.......

1) If your xfce panel (the one usually found on the bottom of your screen) mysteriously vanishes (don't laugh it happened to me....lol), open terminal and input: xfce4-panel   and poof you will it back.

2) Handy tool to get numlock on from start, google numlockx, then download and install it
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Hiero2
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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2009, 06:58:30 am »

Even tho this is old, what you have posted was almost exactly what I was looking for. I'm trying to figure out how to edit my xfce menu, VL6, xfce 4.6. I click the program button, then "Settings" - but I don't have a menu editor there!? Should I be looking somewhere else?

Thank you.
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2009, 11:28:13 am »

I assume you want to edit the menu under the categories of Accessories, Development, Games, Graphics, etc. Those menu items are found as .desktop files in /usr/share/applications. All entries in the Desktop Menu categories ("Start" menu in Windows-talk) are files in /usr/share/applications. If you want to add something that doesn't appear in /usr/share/applications, you need to make a .desktop file for it. You can use the dillo.desktop file as a model. Make changes appropriate for the program you want to add and then save in /usr/share/applications as programname.desktop.

You can also edit the Desktop Menu with Menu, Settings, Desktop Preferences, Behavior, and click on Edit Menu. Whatever you add there won't appear under the categories, however. It will be right on the Menu, just like the Run Program line or File Manager.

By the way, I suggest typing
xfce4-panel
in the Desktop Menu, Run Program line, or hit Alt-F2 to bring the Run box up and type it there. If you type xfce4-panel in a terminal, the panel will disappear if you close the terminal. At least it used to do this. I haven't tried it with XFce 4.
--GrannyGeek
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Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
Hiero2
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Posts: 57


« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2009, 11:43:41 am »

Thank you for the answer.  Smiley
However, it seems I have a different Settings menu than you. I go to Desktop, and the "Menu" tab only has buttons - no place for new entries. Some ppl have said that xfce 4.4 had a gui menu edit capacity, and 4.6 does not. Idk.

Please note another reply to a similar post of mine - from rbistolfi "Re: xfce - installed programs NOT on menu!". The link to the ubuntu forum discussion of this issue was very educational.

Thanks again!
Mark
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GrannyGeek
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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2009, 12:17:40 pm »

I haven't looked at XFce 4.6 and too hastily assumed the Menu Editor was the same. Sorry I misled you!
--GrannyGeek
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Registered Linux User #397786

Happily running VL 7 Gold on  a Sempron LE-1300 desktop (2.3 GHz), 4 G RAM,  GeForce 6150 SE onboard graphics and on an HP Pavilion dv7 i7, 6 gigs, Intel 2nd Generation Integrated Graphics Controller
Hiero2
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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2009, 01:19:51 pm »

 Smiley Smiley Smiley

Thank you for answering!
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StrayBit
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« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2009, 07:31:55 pm »

GrannyGeek:  What you mentioned has happened to me with xfce-4.6.1.  When I tried xfce4-panel (probably in terminal), part of it was at the top and the larger part at the bottom of the screen - and after a reboot, I again had no task bar.  I was ready to reinstall but saw your post and tried it with Alt-F2 - I now have a single task bar on the bottom although some of the items.

I had been noticing a mouse on the initial screen after login, and I see it also on the menu button.  Also, I'm noticing some icons on the lower left of Seamonkey that I hadn't noticed before.  I'll probably still have to reinstall but at least I'm not in the hurry that I have been if this sticks.
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Hiero2
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2009, 07:47:49 am »

UPDATE for xfce 4.5 and higher:

The menu editor is no longer available for xfce 4.5 and higher. Xfce explains this, and the techniques for editing the menus manually, in xfce 4.5 and 4.6, here:
http://wiki.xfce.org/howto/customize-menu

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