Design your own desktop with Xfce 4.4

Xfce is just as customisable as KDE or GNOME, so I set myself a goal: make Xubuntu look like Windows Vista. Why? Because I can. :)



Though you won’t be told how to achieve the exact same end result (Microsoft™©® most likely would not appreciate that), this guide provides comprehensive instructions helping you make Xubuntu look the way you want it to. In any case, I would certainly not recommend such a setup for someone new to Xubuntu. Xubuntu is different than Windows; making it look similar is only confusing.

Panels

Since Windows comes with a total of a mere one panel, I had to remove one of Xubuntu’s two default panels. This task was easily done using Xfce’s Panel Manager, which can be opened by right clicking empty space on a panel and selecting Customise Panel, or by opening Applications->Settings->Panel Manager.



Removing the first panel was simply a matter or clicking the - while the target panel was selected in the drop-down menu. Most options in the panel manager are quite straightforward as long as your realize that they apply to the panel currently selected in the drop-down menu. For my setup, I just wanted to change the size of the panel to 30 pixels and set a background image.

Wait… Did I say “background image”? There is no option in the panel manager to set a background image for your panels! Luckily, that other Xubuntu Blog comes to the rescue.
Basically, what we will do is to override the settings of whatever GTK theme you are using to apply a background image to panels. The disadvantage of this method is that this will be applied to all panels.
The first thing you need is, obviously, a background image to use. It can be as much 1 pixel wide, if you like, because it will be tiled throughout the full width of the panel. This image needs to be saved in your home directory (e.g. /home/yourusername/). You can prepend the filename with a dot . to make it a hidden file, e.g. /home/vincent/.panelbackground.png.

Now, to apply this background image, open up a text editor like Mousepad (Applications->Accessories->Mousepad). You then have to open the file .gtkrc-2.0, but since that is a hidden file (starting with a .), it is not listed among the other files. Luckily, in the “Open” dialog, you can just enter .gtkrc-2.0 in the Location field (press Ctrl+L to make it visible if it is not) to open it. More likely than not, it is an empty file.

Now, paste the following into that file, obviously replacing .panelbackground.png with the name of your background image.

style "panel"
{

bg_pixmap[NORMAL] = ".panelbackground.png"
fg[NORMAL] = "white"
}

widget_class "*Panel*" style "panel"
widget "*Panel*" style "panel"
class "*Panel*" style "panel"

Note that the fg[NORMAL] = "white" sets the text colour to white, but you can edit that to whatever (supported) colour you like, or remove the line altogether to use your theme’s default.

And that’s it really! The next time you login, this image will be used as background image for your panel.

Wallpaper

Of course I also wanted to use a wallpaper similar to Vista’s. Setting a background image for my desktop is a breeze, luckily. All that was needed was a click on the “browse” icon next to the File input field to select the image of my preference. If you want to, you can even make a list of files, of which one will be chosen each time you log in :)



GTK theme

Next up is changing the GTK theme, which is often one of the most notable changes because it encompasses almost everything on your screen. Download a theme you like (I used Murrina Aero) and open it (with Archive Manager). Select Archive->Extract (or the equivalent option if you use another archive manager than Xubuntu 7.10’s default) and extract it to /home/yourusername/.themes (again, enter .themes in the location field if it’s invisible).

Then open Applications->Settings->User Interface Settings, where your preferred theme should now be listed in the theme list. It will be applied when you select it.



Icon theme

Using icon themes, it is possible to change the commonly used icons. For my Vista-like setup I selected the nuoveXT icon theme.

The process of installing an icon theme is similar to the process of installing a GTK theme. After you have downloaded the theme, you extract it, however, this time you extract them to /home/yourusername/.icons.

Just as when changing your GTK theme, you need Applications->Settings->User Interface Preferences to change the icon theme. This time, however, you switch to the Icon Theme tab (surprise), where you can select the preferred icon theme in the list.

Fonts

Ultimately, I also wanted to use Microsoft’s Segoe UI font. Unfortunately, it can only be obtained together with a copy of Windows Vista.

However, there are plenty of other beautiful fonts available (like Red Hat’s Liberation fonts) that can be installed easily. You just need the TTF files, which you need to place in the .fonts directory. It can then be selected, just as your GTK theme and icon theme, through Applications->Settings->User Interface Preferences. Click the button below Font, where your font should be listed under Family.

Xfwm4 themes

The theming craze isn’t over yet, because you can also theme your window borders. By default, Xubuntu’s Window Manager is xfwm4, which can be themed with xfwm4 themes.

First you need to find an xfwm4 theme you like. Once you downloaded that theme, extract it to the .themes directory in your home folder.

The theme can then be easily applied using Applications->Settings->Window Manager Settings. The theme should show up in the list on the left-hand side, selecting it will apply it.



Emerald themes

If you installed Compiz using Emerald as window manager, then changing window border themes is a little bit different.

First, you need to get yourself an Emerald theme. Emerald themes are files that end in .emerald. I picked the theme included in the Aero-clone pack, aero_blue.emerald. To install the theme, you need to open Applications->Settings->Emerald Theme Manager. Click Import… and open the .emerald file. The theme will be selected when you click it in the list.



Conclusion

Xubuntu (and open source desktops in general) offers an enormous range of options allowing you to tweak the look to your own preferences. You can make it look as ugly or as pretty as you want. Heck, if you want to, you can make it look near pixel-perfect like another operating system!





The end result might not be perfect, but you can get very close :D



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137 Responses to “Design your own desktop with Xfce 4.4”


  1. 1 Rdanays 10 February 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Really good article. I use ubuntu for a long period on my dell inspiron 4100 laprop (which is designed foe windows mellenium originally), and sometimes think over migration to xfce destop, jut need some free weekend to do that, and i am happy to read that it is very costomisable…thanks a lot for interesting article. :)

    Hope to get more reviews of upcoming xubuntu 8.04…good luck

  2. 2 Matt 10 February 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Nice post! I’m running PCLinuxOS 2007 right now with KDE, but I don’t especially like KDE so if I can get xfce working properly (there was a bug in which when I deleted the top panel – both panels disapeared) then this post will come in very handy!

  3. 3 whyamistilltyping 10 February 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Great tutorial! I tried something similar with Gnome and Compiz/Beryl & Emerald. Its so easy to customise and get what you want it is easy to stray from your chosen path as you experiment with all the options. Is there any way to make the Vista globe the same sort of size (i.e. slightly bigger than the bar) or is that impossible?

  4. 4 Vincent 10 February 2008 at 6:14 pm

    @Rdanays – thanks! My previous review of Xubuntu 7.10 was also the basis for Xubuntu’s release notes, so I’ll likely create another one for 8.04 :)

    @Matt – thanks! If you run into bugs I advice you to report it, you might get some help and it gives the developers the chance to fix it.

    @whyamistilltyping – unfortunately, I’d rather have that too, but I couldn’t really think of a clean solution.

    One possibility would be to make the panel higher than the background image, so that the top is transparent, and then set a menu button to that height. The problem with this approach, however, is that when a window is maximised, the window won’t cover up the transparent part of the panel.

    So, if anyone has a better solution available, that’d be much appreciated.

    • 5 TimWare 10 December 2012 at 8:12 pm

      hello,

      the button isn’t perfect but can i use gnomenu? for the menu and were can i download the panel background iam dutch and not verry good in englisch. please reply and i don’t know how i can make my one commend :P

    • 6 Vincent 13 December 2012 at 5:26 pm

      Hoi Tim, ik ben ook Nederlands dus je kunt je vraag in het Nederlands stellen als dat makkelijker is.

      Ik weet niet precies wat je met gnomenu bedoelt. Voor zover ik kan zien is het een panel applet voor GNOME. Als dat het geval is, dan kun je eens proberen xfapplet te installeren, die het mogelijk maakt GNOME panel applets te draaien. Overigens ondersteunt GNOME die zelf ook niet meer, dus ik weet niet of deze plugin nog onderhouden wordt.

      De achtergrond heb ik expres niet gegeven i.v.m. copyrightissues en het feit dat deze post meer ging over hoe je Xfce in het algemeen kunt aanpassen. Desondanks zou je bijvoorbeeld een screenshot kunnen maken van de Windows-taakbalk en die kunnen gebruiken.

  5. 7 KRiSX 10 February 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Very nice results I have to say!

    Always had a bit of a soft spot for XFCE, normally i use KDE as i find it more configurable, but this makes me think I should try XFCE again!

    nice work!

  6. 8 Keith 11 February 2008 at 1:29 am

    I keep going back and forth between Gnome and XFCE but again, have just switched back to XFCE ( although I use gnome-panel because of it’s drag and drop abilities to AWN, and gnome-settings-daemon for great integation with my multimedia keyboard buttons ).

    Good job on the layout, although to be honest, I go out of my way to make it look FAR from vista. People come to my desk, know it’s not a Mac and to be honest, don’t want them assuming that what they are looking at is something Microsoft Achieved.

  7. 9 Dark Star 11 February 2008 at 4:45 am

    Very nice job.. Have you used Gimp to edit the screenshot ? If yes can you tell me how to create that shadow using gimp :S Also Gnome users can look at tis guide ) http://tuxenclave.wordpress.com/2007/11/23/ubuntu-customization-guide-v2/

  8. 10 MahFaan 11 February 2008 at 8:18 am

    Ok, Ok, so how do I set the option to ‘single click’ for the
    mouse???? I can do so with KDE and Gnome. Can’t seem to fine
    it with Xfce.

  9. 11 Richard Ward 11 February 2008 at 10:04 am

    Great job. It looks really beautiful. How is it on resources?

    Considering Xubuntu is marketed as a “light” Operating System for the slower, older hardware out there, let’s talk usages. I have Xubuntu running on my 500MHz P3 Thinkpad with a very slow, very old 1.5GB Hard Drive. It bottlenecks badly at the HDD but still manages to chug along with Firefox, Pidgin, Java, etc.

  10. 12 xicoas 11 February 2008 at 10:09 am

    Nice article, thanks

  11. 13 Ben 11 February 2008 at 10:12 am

    Well it looks nice, but I don’t see the point in making linux look like a pile of shite operating system.

  12. 14 ram 11 February 2008 at 10:29 am

    I agree Ben!

    Make it look and work like OS X or even better! and you will never have to worry about making it look like some crap. I am sure there are much powerful open source alternatives even to certain things on OS X

    I am not the developer to do it though.

  13. 15 BenedictArf 11 February 2008 at 10:31 am

    Good job. Do you fancy doing another guide for OS X? I’ve tried making Xubuntu to look like OS X but can’t figure out how to get the menu bar to work.

    Cheers
    Ben

  14. 16 devolute 11 February 2008 at 11:08 am

    A good guide. But I don’t understand this current spate of making your linux install look like the worst UI MS have ever churned out.

  15. 17 pubed 11 February 2008 at 11:28 am

    Hasta la vista Vista!

  16. 18 designwebsite 11 February 2008 at 11:53 am

    Great Impressive info
    Keep it up

    http://designwebsite.wordpress.com

  17. 19 Morgan 11 February 2008 at 12:27 pm

    @BenedictArf:

    If it’s anything like the Gnome method of getting the Mac-like global menu bar, it requires a source patch and rebuild. On Gnome, that’s a bit painful to say the least, and is considered a hack as it is not supported by the Gnome devs. It may be worth looking into for Xfce though.

  18. 20 Vincent 11 February 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Wow, I hit the frontpage of Digg and OSNews :)

    I might try and make it look similar to OS X (I still have AWN installed :) ), if I do, I’ll probably do a followup post.

    @MahFaan – I’m not sure atm (I’m at school now), but it might be that it’s not possible at all (though I do seem to recall the option being there somewhere, if only in Thunar).

    As for performance: running GNOME, my computer is definitely a lot slower, though it would be able to handle it. I’ve got 512 MB RAM, not sure about my processor.
    Anyway, the main reason I use Xfce is not the speed.

    @Dark Star – yes, I’ve created drop shadows around the shadows using the GIMP, but as I’m at school right now I’ll follow up on the exact method later this afternoon (Dutch time), so be sure to check back later ;)

    And in reply to everybody saying I shouldn’t be making it look like Vista: I do not use this as my default layout. However, I thought it was fun to make it look like Vista and was a good demonstration of that other side of Xfce: the ability to customize. Xfce is more than a last resort for old computers.

    Then a comment regarding the use of the Windows logo: I believe this falls under Fair Use – it was a screenshot of my own desktop, I did not provide the icon itself for download.

    Thanks for reading everybody :)

  19. 21 Christophe 11 February 2008 at 2:38 pm

    @MahFaan:

    You can do it in Thunar, but it will be only available there. On the desktop, you are obliged to use double-click on your icons. That’s one of the reasons why I keep coming back to Gnome although I like Xfce very much (I even blogged about it!).

  20. 22 suribe 11 February 2008 at 2:40 pm

    nice tutorial, I put on my blog (the link to your) ;-) http://dev.cl/crsh

  21. 23 Puneet 11 February 2008 at 3:17 pm

    it’s a pleasure..well nice way of Presenting.. :)

    http://www.computrgeek.wordpress.com

  22. 24 werievents 11 February 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Hi
    Interesting blog to experiment,Thanks you Microsoft.
    Best Regards
    http://www.weri-ecents.org/NEWS.htm

  23. 25 Vincent 11 February 2008 at 5:25 pm

    I’ve already emailed MahFaan, but for anyone still looking for a way to do single-click in Xfce:

    I’ve done some digging, and you can set it in Thunar through Edit->Prefences, in the Behaviour tab (“Single click to active items”). Unfortunately, this only works for Thunar, not for your desktop icons, but it’s close ;-)

    @Dark Start – you can create drop shadows in the GIMP (version 2.4, which is included with Xubuntu 7.10) using Filters->Lights and Shadow->Drop Shadow.

    For those curious about my hardware specifications, I created a screenshot of System Monitor which says:

    Memory: 503.8 MB
    Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) XP 2200+

    Is that good?

  24. 26 Rob Miller 11 February 2008 at 6:11 pm

    as a n00b coming to Linux from PC/Mac, i become frustrated reading articles such as this based on my experience trying to run Ubuntu or Xubuntu. Simple operations such as reducing the screen resolution to make the GUI look less like “My First OS” seem to be non-existent. The options for changing screen resolution are only from large to bigger. Nowhere in all the “community” that seems so eager to solve crossover problems such as mine did i find any answer to my problem. So yeah, i’m ready to make Xubuntu look like Vista, but i’d rather simply make Xubuntu USABLE. Any revelations would be helpful — robmillernow@hotmail.com

  25. 27 Dark Star 11 February 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Thanks a lot Vincent :) Appreciated you help and initiative :D As far as your system is considered to be precise enough its tad old and not good.. but for Linux OS it good :D I am also having something similar and got I too got 1’st page digg in my Customization Guide ;)

    Keep up the gr8 work :D

    Regards

  26. 28 amine 11 February 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Hasta la vista Vista!

  27. 29 Jon Reeve 11 February 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Yeah you’re probably gonna get this alot but I have to agree with those upthread and say,

    Why would you ever want to take such a nice, elegant, clean, lightweight, transparent, user-friendly OS like Xubuntu and try to make it look like a groggy, ugly, dirty, virus-prone, closed-source, bloated OS like Vista? Part of the reason I switched to Xubuntu to begin with is that it’s so much prettier and way better designed. It would totally defeat the purpose to make it try to look like Windows…it’d be like a downgrade.

  28. 30 zecarlos 11 February 2008 at 7:37 pm

    Será que tem algum voluntário que saiba bem o inglês para traduzir esse tutorial para o português?

  29. 31 Patrick 11 February 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Since my company now supports RDP connections through VPN and I have to run a XP desktop server anyway, I might try going back to linux. Right now, I am on Vista because I am on the transistion team and it has been PAINFULL. Drivers, video, docking stations, etc. And I am using a brand new Lenovo notebook. And don’t get me started on resources or the weird lockups in IE7. AHHHH.

    But I have never tried Xfce and now I think I might. Thanks.

  30. 32 Vincent 11 February 2008 at 7:54 pm

    @Rob Miller – I sent you an email ;)

    @amine – never heard that one before :P

    @Jon Reeve – well, let me quote a comment at OSNews:

    It’s not about how to get your xfce desktop to look like Windows/Vista, it’s a test of how customizable xfce is, they just happen to pick Vista because it’s quiet a tall order for customizing since the layout and look are much different.

    I don’t use this as my main setup, it was just a fun project to test Xfce’s customisability :)

    @zecarlos – sorry, I don’t know Portuguese, but if anyone wants to translate this blog, <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en_GB” title=”Creative Commons-Attribution-ShareAlike allows them to ;)

    @Patrick – very cool, and good luck!

  31. 33 buu700 11 February 2008 at 9:19 pm

    @The Author

    Use a screenlet for the start menu icon. GNOME theming guides will typically be applicable to Xfce as well (they both use GTK and of course you can get Compiz Fusion, Emerald, etc. with both), so just look up a guide to theming Ubuntu like Vista, and it should say something about screenlets and have one that you can download.

  32. 34 akiratheoni 11 February 2008 at 9:43 pm

    For those asking why you would want to make Xubuntu look like Vista, the answer is simple — because you can. Making Xubuntu look like Vista is only showing the ability to customize Xfce. I actually like doing things like that; it’s a fun experiment. I doubt any of us who do that will use that desktop but it’s always fun just to tweak the settings — after all, that’s what Linux excels at.

  33. 35 Chris 11 February 2008 at 11:49 pm

    Hey Vincent,

    great tutorial, but where do i get the images you are using above?

    Greets

  34. 36 MahFaan 12 February 2008 at 3:10 am

    Thanks Christophe and Vincent,

    I have to use a variety of PC’s, and they all use single-click for all choices. With XFCE, I single-click when I should double-click, and vice-versa. Then, I give up and go back to KDE/PCLinuxOS. As I recall, double-click was a Bill Gates thing and seems odd that XFCE does not give ‘click options’, like KDE.

  35. 37 Marcos Elias 12 February 2008 at 3:54 am

    Oi “zecarlos”, eu ia fazer isso :)

    Mas não fiz por falta de tempo, pra fazer correndo prefiro não começar – apenas indiquei um link para essa dica no meu site.

    Sugiro usar o translate.google.com, não traduz como um ser humano traduziria, mas dá para entender :)

    **********

    Hi Vicent, thank you very much!

  36. 38 umnooo 12 February 2008 at 4:55 am

    ummm just get windows vista…

  37. 39 Dark Star 12 February 2008 at 5:13 am

    I know how to provide drop shadow but its not showing white background it is showing transparent background how to make white background + drop shadow ?

  38. 40 Vincent 12 February 2008 at 6:39 am

    @Chris – sorry, can’t give you those, I modified Microsoft artwork for personal use, but I’m probably not allowed to redistribute them. (If Microsoft doesn’t even like me posting screenshots then they can drop me a line and I’ll censor them :) )

    @MahFaan – someday, someday, full single-click will surely be implemented, just as drag&drop to and fro the panel and menu ;)

    @Dark Star – well, actually, my images also have a transparent background, so it shows the white background of my blog (except in Internet Explorer 6 and lower, because it cannot properly display transparency). Anyway, in the Layers window, you can create a new white layer and move that below the image you want a drop shadow around.

  39. 41 joshuadesign 12 February 2008 at 4:52 pm

    hi, is there any software
    for graphics with ubuntu OS
    i’ve got ubuntu from my friend

  40. 42 Vincent 12 February 2008 at 4:57 pm

    joshuadesign, that depends on what you need. By default Ubuntu ships the GIMP (I believe Applications->Graphics->GIMP Image Editor) that can do a lot but takes a while to learn.

  41. 43 joshuadesign 12 February 2008 at 5:03 pm

    hi vincent,
    i use coreldraw is there any kind of that like coreldraw..?

  42. 44 Vincent 12 February 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Joshua, there are several alternatives available, personally I’d recommend you to install Inkscape.

  43. 45 Chris 12 February 2008 at 5:53 pm

    that is pretty da*n close … ok ya the highlight n the selected tab is wrong… and ummm.. ya the start menu orb isnt exactly right… but beyond that nice work…

    also the tabs at bottom should have been alighed right text instead of center … i hate centered text :)

  44. 46 Chris 12 February 2008 at 5:54 pm

    lol ok guys… GIMP is nice but its no competitor when it comes to standing up next to Photoshop/JASC…. hell to be honest i even perfer paint.net to GIMP

  45. 47 Vincent 12 February 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Chris, I’m quite sure that GIMP has all the features you’d need – unless you work in print industry or something. I suppose it’s mainly the interface that you’re complaining about (which I agree with, but it’s bearable), or that you’re echoing those who do work in print industry.

  46. 48 Vincent 12 February 2008 at 6:51 pm

    For those wanting to do a global menu like OS X has, there’s a wiki page on that (and yes, it’s supposed to work with Xfce). However, I have to tried it myself and won’t take any responsibility from problems you might run into.

    Is there still demand for a tutorial to make Xfce look like OS X? If there is, I’ll see what I can do, but I definitely won’t be including the hackish solution for the global menu.

  47. 49 Erick B. Tedeschi 12 February 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Muito boa a modificação. O XFCE está bem legalzinho…

  48. 50 GIMPenguin 14 February 2008 at 4:32 am

    I’ll take GIMP over PSP any day.

    If you want something closer to corel draw there’s inkscape, as already mentioned, or Xara xtreme

  49. 51 Fred McKinney 15 February 2008 at 3:55 am

    Awesome! I still haven’t gotten my wife converted to Linux yet, and who knows, I may never be able to do so. Even so, on her login, I copied the “Bliss” wallpaper from off her Windows XP box and made it the wallpaper on her login and selected the Windows XP look-alike GTK and Xfwm themes to give it that “XP” look. However, the taskbar along the bottom of the screen (I’m running Linux Mint Xfce Edition, which comes with just the one taskbar along the bottom) makes it look quite a bit like Windows 95/NT/98/Me/2000 on the surface.

    On Linux Mint Xfce Edition, the default theme selected on it is one I like, MurrinaGreen, which features a shiny dark green taskbar that obviously uses an image for its background, and I’ve always wondered how to do that. It just so happens that I have a background image that resembles the default blue Windows XP taskbar, and this looks like it will be the final step in getting a desktop for my wife’s login on Mint Xfce Edition that will look all the world like a dead ringer for Windows XP! :D Thanx for posting this!

    Fred in St. Louis, MO USA

  50. 52 Meneer R 16 February 2008 at 3:41 pm

    @Vincent.

    About getting the logo as big as Vista. The cheat you propose (making the panel bigger than the image) is exactly what Vista does.

    Try it. You won’t be able to move a window so low that it goes underneath the bar.

    The logo isn’t really bigger than the bar. Its just an optical illusion.

    So, yeah, use an image where the top will appear ‘almost transparent’ for the bar and you’re done.

  51. 53 Vincent 16 February 2008 at 9:50 pm

    @Meneer R (funny name :) ) – really? Now that’s lame… So whyamistilltyping (what’s up with those names? :) ), there you have it :)

  52. 54 Ted King 17 February 2008 at 8:08 pm

    SUGGESTION : Please use the ‘ALT=””‘ clause on your image (IMG) tags. That way your visitors can see that your image hoster has crashed or that your images have been moved.

    The above was prompted by visiting both of your visual morphing pages and not seeing most of the images. I tried four (4) different browsers – FF 2.0.0.12, Mozilla 1.7.12, Dillo 0.8.5, and Konqueror 3.2.1.

  53. 55 Vincent 17 February 2008 at 9:02 pm

    @Ted King – you’re right, an ALT attribute would be best, unfortunately, I copy this code from 23hq.com (when it’s online…). Anyway, I’ll make this suggestion in their forums and without doubt it’ll be implemented soon, so future images on this blog should have ALT attributes :)

  54. 56 Michael Johnson 19 February 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Re: the oversized button

    I haven’t gone very far with this yet, and I don’t know how the styling works, exactly. But it might get close:

    Add a second panel that is freely moveable and only has one button. You can upsize it so it’s bigger than the main panel. You might have to put a placeholder button on the main panel that keeps it from overlapping useful stuff.

    As far as the background, I don’t know how they attach to the panel, but if you can attach to the bottom, just make an image that is solid for the height of the main bar and transparent the rest of the way.

    The only problem then becomes the handles on the free moving panel. I would imagine they can be styled – maybe made to go away? That, and it can be moved :)

    Maybe I’ll try it out tonight when I have some more time.

    Michael

  55. 57 Vincent 19 February 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Michael, that’s a very inventive solution :)

    How about just using a panel at a fixed position? That way, you can set the height and width, get rid of the handles and make it overlap the current panel :)

  56. 58 Silvio 20 February 2008 at 8:12 am

    I am a former user of Paint Shop Pro.
    I totally switched to Gimp and love it! :D

  57. 59 vehn 23 February 2008 at 5:39 am

    Excellent articl!! mm.. if i right understood, panel’s background you got from Vista, how may i get it from Vista too :)
    Thanks

  58. 60 Vincent 23 February 2008 at 10:42 am

    vehn, you have to take a screenshot and cut out the panel (a 1 pixel-wide piece will do).

  59. 61 Pelado 1 March 2008 at 2:43 am

    Hi, i’m used XUbuntu since two weeks ago and i can obtain a similar look before to read this post, but i used the Xquisite theme icon that its very nice too. I recomend it. Sorry for my english xD.

  60. 62 Kai 8 March 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Thanks! very useful.

  61. 63 Gerro 10 March 2008 at 3:56 am

    How do you edit the color for the clock? The writing is black and hard to read I’ve noticed that problem with many dark themes.

  62. 64 Vincent 10 March 2008 at 2:10 pm

    As you can see in the screenshot, Gerro, I didn’t :(
    I suppose it’s a defect with xfce4-datetime-plugin…

  63. 65 anh_steiner 24 March 2008 at 11:11 am

    Nice post! I’m building a linux from scratch version, but i did not know how to customize its interface! Thanks for your article!

  64. 67 Criação de sites 16 May 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Uau. The desktop is incredible. Linux is better for customer.

    Thanks for this tutorial.

  65. 68 vohn 11 August 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Awesome article! Thanks

  66. 69 TOny 16 August 2008 at 9:15 am

    Hi Vincent :D

    What is the name of the hack (extension) for firefox’s button-based location bar?

    Thanks!

  67. 70 anjum 16 August 2008 at 12:18 pm

    thanks very nice but i am looking something like mac os X type effect

  68. 71 Vincent 24 August 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Hi Tony, you’re looking for the Locationbar² Firefox extension.

    Anjum, have you looked at the next post on making Xfce look like OS X Leopard?

  69. 72 TOny 25 August 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Thank you, Vincent! Locationbar² is very unobtrusive and useful for spotting phishing/scamming sites!

  70. 73 Jose Catre-Vandis 31 August 2008 at 12:15 am

    Ref: Clock Text Colour

    You can overcome this by installing xfapplet and gnome-applets, and selecting the gnome clock, which picks up the white text from the configuration for the panel – you also get the date :)

  71. 74 Jose Catre-Vandis 31 August 2008 at 11:20 am

    Hmmm, had to take out xfapplet for now, running CPU at 95%!

  72. 75 Jose Catre-Vandis 31 August 2008 at 11:31 am

    OK, found a workaround for this as well, problem is if you restart your X session, the applet is not killed and CPU usage goes overboard

    sudo mousepad /etc/gdm/PostSession/Default
    add the command
    killall xfce4-xfapplet-plugin
    at the end right before exit 0:
    save, now everytime you logout or do ctrl-alt-backspace
    the applet will be killed without being deleted from panel.

    then

    sudo gedit /etc/init.d/gdm
    add the command
    killall xfce4-xfapplet-plugin
    to line 83, it should look like this:
    stop)
    log_begin_msg “Stopping GNOME Display Manager…”
    start-stop-daemon –stop –quiet –oknodo –pidfile $PIDFILE –name gdm $SSD_ARG –retry 30 >/dev/null 2>&1
    killall xfce4-xfapplet-plugin
    log_end_msg 0

    Save.

    xfapplet should now be killed off each time you shut down your x server and restart it

  73. 76 Žilvinas 7 September 2008 at 11:21 am

    Thank you, it was realy helpful for me. :)

  74. 77 wisachai 14 September 2008 at 2:18 am

    great!but the space between icons on my desktop is WIDE.i would like to make it NOT WIDE.anyone can help?

  75. 78 tz 10 November 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Here’s a challenge for you – a reasonable side taskbar.

    … wait, xfce can’t do that.

    Tried it, but xfce resizes menu/volume control/desktop switcher etcetera with panel width – whoever designed that was downright braindead – and the task manager minimum width doesn’t do half as well in a horizontal taskbar.

    So no. Xfce isn’t very customizable.

  76. 79 Vincent 10 November 2008 at 7:53 pm

    @wisachai – sorry, wouldn’t know how to do that. Fat chance that that’s not possible yet. You might want to add a feature request for xfdesktop.

    @tz – Nick Schermer is working on an improved xfce4-panel for Xfce 4.8 (4.6 is almost to be released). You might want to mention this on the Xfce Bugzilla as well (first check whether it isn’t already).

  77. 80 tz 10 November 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Already on Bugzilla, already assigned to Nick as well.

    Absurd, how someone says it’s just as customizable as KDE or Gnome, and yet it can’t handle vertical taskbars even as well as Windows 95.

  78. 81 wat 7 December 2008 at 5:33 pm

    only computer geeks could understand that!
    seiously

  79. 82 Vincent 7 December 2008 at 9:18 pm

    @tz – great :)

    @wat – obviously people would have to know what Xfce and Xubuntu are, just as people would need to know what Windows is if there was a tutorial on that.

    Apart from that, if you can’t understand how to perform the steps described in this post, you probably don’t want to anyway. Though I agree that it might be made easier (for example, in Ubuntu, you can just drag a theme package to the Appearance screen to install it, though even that can still be a bit complicated).

  80. 83 alienkid 14 January 2009 at 2:59 pm

    My panel background doesn’t appear using your file even using the file name you used.

  81. 84 Vincent 17 January 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Which version of Xubuntu and Xfce are you using? (Though I don’t think that should matter) Have you followed the instructions precisely (e.g. are all filenames correct?). Could you follow the steps again and check whether it still doesn’t work?

  82. 85 jaspreet 25 January 2009 at 4:22 pm

    i want to make a background with my name on it

  83. 86 Vincent 25 January 2009 at 4:55 pm

    jaspreet, you might want to search the internet for tutorials on the Gimp, which is the application shipped with Xubuntu that allows you to edit/create images.

  84. 87 ledy vinantika 15 April 2009 at 3:43 am

    my face on my background must be a good idea

  85. 88 spletne strani 9 November 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Jup, i can’t wait to get my to ubuntu os look like Windows 95 :)

  86. 89 easy 28 February 2010 at 5:03 pm

    give me a dos prompt anyday.

  87. 90 wexp 20 March 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you man!
    Your article helped me setting
    up my xubuntu desktop.
    regards

  88. 91 semir 18 December 2011 at 4:40 pm

    i would really like to design my very own desktop

  89. 92 Forfait mobile 7 March 2012 at 10:47 am

    Thanks Christophe and Vincent,

    I have to use a variety of PC’s, and they all use single-click for all choices. With XFCE, I single-click when I should double-click, and vice-versa. Then, I give up and go back to KDE/PCLinuxOS. As I recall, double-click was a Bill Gates thing and seems odd that XFCE does not give ‘click options’, like KDE.


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