Lightweight, easy to use and beautiful looking (looks a hell lot like Mac OS X ;-)) desktop environment for the GNU/Linux platform, “Xfce”, has released the long-awaited 4.10 version on April 28 (2012).
Now, I don’t know if its because there aren’t a lot of manpower behind it when comparing with KDE or Gnome for example, but Xfce does take its time in between each releases. But then again, usually these somewhat, “long pauses” are well worth it too, because, when they release a new version, it does bring some major improvements and makes the desktop more mature and stable as well.
In recent times, mainly due to the UI changes occurred in the Ubuntu’s “Unity” and “Gnome Shell” desktops, users who aren’t that fond of these new changes and looking for something which looks and behaves more like the, now abandoned (“moved on”, the correct word :D) “Gnome Classic” desktop, are switching over to either Xfce or LXDE.
This is not just because Xfce looks like Gnome classic, but I think that, though we all have our reasons to justify the “means”, one thing that the users love about Xfce is the fact that (or at least it seems so), the Xfce developers actually listen to their users and then, most importantly, carefully implement features requested by them, rather than arrogantly trying to figure out all by themselves.
For instance, the 4.10 version comes with a brand new “MIME type editor” and the developer has stated the reasons for its introduction by saying that …
” … last couple of years, many people were asking for a tool to manage their file type associations. The new MIME type editor does just that …”
This is just a single example.
Another thing that I love about Xfce is that they’ve an excellent sense of simplicity. Though of course that’s not to say that their applications are perfect. Still (again, it too might be “inspired” by Apple’s Mac OS UI designs), a lot of their core applications have highly simplified interfaces, but do what they’re supposed to be doing nevertheless (the “Task manager” is one example, in my opinion).
The new 4.10 comes with a lot of new features such as;
*. A new MIME type editor (as stated above).
*. The “application finder” is rewritten from scratch and has a revamped UI (also lets you add custom actions while searching for a certain command).
*. The “Panel” has also under gone a reasonable amount of changes (now it has an option called “deskbar mode” where it’s aligned vertically!, an option to easily control the number of rows etc),
*. Thunar’s (file manager) “window” has less padding and the position of the “status” bar has been adjusted.
*. The desktop now has a new wallpaper, supports single click file operations plus, images have thumbnails too.
These are just a fraction of new features in Xfce 4.10 to mention. You can get more additional info from this Xfce tour page if you like.
How to install it (Ubuntu)?
Well, it’s been like 2-3 days since its release, so most major GNU/Linux distributions should come up with the Xfce 4.10 packages in their repositories very soon. The Xubuntu (official Xfce version of Ubuntu) team has already setup a Xfce 4.10 PPA (seems to support 12.04 Precise Pangolin only), but it’s still empty (yet).
But, when they come with the Xfce 4.10, you should be able to install it in Xubuntu/Ubuntu (or no matter what the desktop that you use) by using that PPA.
And I’m pretty sure that the users who use older versions of Ubuntu will also be able to find a PPA as well :). If you can’t wait till then, and know what you’re doing, then you can get the Xfce’s source code and compile it too.
But again, if you can wait for few days, someone will come up with a PPA :).