Switched to XFCE

Normally I use KDE 4.6 but recently Kmail started to have serious problems with fetching my email from IMAP so I decided that enough is enough and started checking other options.

As on efika smartbook I am using XFCE I installed it, logged into and configured to be more or less proper environment for me. Also tried Unity and GNOME but none of them fit me.

What is definition of “what fits me”? I use 3-4 virtual desktops:

  1. terminals, editors
  2. web (chromium now)
  3. mailer
  4. short work related apps

Jabber client (psi) is set to appear on all desktops. I switch using +[1-9] keys or by scrolling mousewheel over desktop. I move windows with +LMB and resize them with +RMB. Doubleclick on window title == roll and same for mousewheel unless there is tabbing support in WM (then it switches tabs).

So first which failed was Unity. I saw it before on other people laptops but did not took much time to play with it. Logged into session and after ~hour uninstalled everything. No application menu (I do not like “type a name” type icon launchers), no virtual desktops in old way. I felt lost – no idea how to get rid of storage icons from launcher, how to add new entries.

Next one was classic GNOME. Lot of time passed since v1.4 which was last version used by me (then switched to Windowmaker + rox-filer + gnome-panel, then kde 3 and kde 4). Indicators, settings applets split into user and admin ones, lack of Polish language by default (I thought that I installed it but visit in settings/admin/languages told different thing). Had few hard system crashes but with help of #ubuntu-x guys I found that one of mesa libraries was still from xorg-edgers ppa. After reverting to natty one compiz was stable. But I did not found a way to get +RMB for resizing window. Spent some time configuring system but I did not felt good in this system.

Went back to XFCE as this is simple, clean and fast starting. Now my set of tools is mix of KDE, XFCE, GNOME ones as I use Okular, XFCE-Terminal and Evolution ;D

But Evolution shows own problems after few days. I am unable to use Canonical LDAP for addressbook even it is properly configured. I suppose that some dependency is missing which is fulfilled in standard GNOME desktop. Lack of ability to change keyboard shortcuts is a serious limitation for me as I am used to other then default ones. There is no way (or I did not found it yet) to set same way of displaying emails for all folders (including sort order). Some confirmation requests should have “Do not ask anymore” checkboxes — for example “mark all emails in this folder as read” one. And GMail contacts addressbook is not working — but this can be work around by exporting from web interface and importing VCards.

But the most annoying thing is weird way to decide when mail is read. I set it to 0 seconds as this allows me to quickly slip though emails which I do not found interesting enough to reply but instead Evolution forgets to mark some of them as read. And there is no code to detect repeated shortcuts (as somehow I got to the point where I could change some) so I have “Ctrl-D” as “mark as read” which also deletes email (which is not listed in menu)… And why do I have to configure whole account just to add identity… Or why I can not define one SMTP server for all incoming accounts?

So far I am fine with this setup. Will have to check other email applications again (Claws maybe, definitely not Thunderbird) as Evo is not so good as people are describing it.

4 thoughts on “Switched to XFCE

  1. Graeme

    Welcome to my pain. The desktop situation on linux has got so bad now I have actually started using windows 7 on all my machines.

    I have XFCE on my netbook, but thats the only linux frontend I have left.

  2. rozie

    With the end of KDE 3.5 in Debian (read: Squeeze), I switched to… LXDE. Some apps from KDE are still in use (first of all – konsole, which is really great IMO, but also kate (text editor), kcalc, kdiff3, okular), but I don’t use kdm nor akregator anymore (slim and liferea instead). Also switched knode to… XPN.

    LXDE isn’t very polished yet, but it’s simple, usable and… light. Looks very similar to Gnome at first glance. I don’t know why you don’t want to use Thunderbird? OK, 3 is a little bit strange with default settings, but it’s great mail reader IMO.

  3. arielsonique

    Hi, does Okular work with the XFCE environment without having to install the whole KDE environment in the background?

    1. Marcin Juszkiewicz

      Hard to tell how much KDE it will install — I had it installed already. Run aptitude, select okular and check what it will tell. Then get rid of all recommends?

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