Four more years! Four more years! Svelte Linux desktop Xfce gets first big update since 2015

Jump from 4.12 to 4.14 corrects "a boat full of errors". Hurrah!

  Xubuntu with XFCE 4.14

Xubuntu with Xfce 4.14

In contrast to the frenetic pace of the now typical updates in the software industry, the team behind Xfce, a lightweight desktop for Linux, has released the version 4.14 almost four and a half years since the last stable version, 4.12.

Xfce aims to be fast, consume minimal resources and embody the modularity philosophy of UNIX. Its features include a window manager, a desktop administrator, a file manager and an application browser.

The product is not exclusive to Linux, but works on other operating systems similar to UNIX, including FreeBSD. Its origins date back to 1996, when it was created by Olivier Fourdan. Initially, the name meant XForms Common Environment, but it is no longer relevant since in 2003 the project was converted to the GNOME Toolkit (Gtk).

Do not expect tons of new features in version 4.14, but the announcement refers to fixing "a boat full of errors." The main objective was to carry main components to Gtk 3 and from D-Bus Glib to GDBus, the latter being client libraries for the Desktop Bus communication mechanism. The slow pace of development of Xfce is totally in accordance with its minimalist approach.

There are some features that users will notice, including an enhanced display dialog with support for saving and restoring multi-screen settings, an updated file manager, better support for keyboard users (as opposed to the mouse), a screen saver screen and the official adoption of a file search tool called Catfish. The complete list of changes and bug fixes is here.

Although 4.14 has been released, it will not appear immediately for users of systems such as Xubuntu (a version of Ubuntu that uses Xfce), as it takes some time for specific distribution packages to update. That said, we installed 4.14 in Xubuntu by opting for the Staging PPA (Personal Package Archive), and we wrote this article in LibreOffice, which is part of the default installation of Xubuntu.

Why would you use Xfce? The main reason would be because it works better on older or low-end hardware than on systems such as GNOME Desktop (used by the main Ubuntu distribution) and KDE, or because it prefers its performance and minimalist approach.

Balancing consumerization and corporate control

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