Releases, releases, releases!

So it’s not that I’ve been quiet and lazy – I was actually busy preparing some releases and hacking on stuff. So here’s an update on what’s been going on and what’s to come.

xfce4-taskmanager 1.2.0

This is a new release which brings a handy feature, i.e. identifying windows by clicking on them. Just use the crosshair-button in the toolbar and click on a window. This will result in the appropriate/associated process being selected in the tree or listview. Thanks a lot to Florian for helping getting this feature release-ready!
Some small improvements to keyboard navigation have also been pushed with this release, namely hitting the Delete or Shift+Delete keys will let you terminate or kill processes respectively.
Finally Olivier improved the memory usage for the FreeBSD.

Looking a little into the future, I’ve also been busy porting taskmanager to Gtk3 entirely, i.e. dropping support for Gtk2. This will happen with the next major release (2.x), which means no more feature-releases are planned for the 1.x series and Gtk2. It’s not out of the question though, that there will be a bugfix or maintenance release for 1.x later on.

So far the Gtk3 branch already works and has feature-parity with master. I also cleaned up the interface a little. If you want, you can check it out here (also seen the screenshot on the right)

xfce4-notifyd 0.3.5

This long-awaited feature release finally brings the persistence support I have been working on for a while. So you can now enable a notification log and get your “away log” easily this way. There are even some options to only get the log for certain apps or only with “do not disturb” mode enabled.
Handy, right?

I have also – and this is maybe even more important – reworked the settings dialog towards something that I would hope could be the future direction of Xfce settings dialogs in general (or to the least open the discussion about it). Initially we settled on doing a 1:1 port from Gtk2 to Gtk3 to keep the disturbance and changes for users as small as possible. However, Gnome’s HIG (Human Interface Guidelines) that Xfce originally relied on – and still relies on – have changed dramatically and with that most Gtk+3 applications. So personally I think we should re-think the Xfce HIG and the new xfce4-notifyd settings dialog tries to be a best practice for some things. I’ll probably do a separate writeup of that though as this article is already long enough and there are still some releases to be announced.

Thunar 1.6.11

This maintenance release brings some important fixes that have made users complain a lot in the recent past – and understandably so. Thunar was fairly unstable with copy, rename, move and drag-and-drop operations and would simply crash. While a lot of people in the community did testing (and whining :)), several folks got to work, identified the underlying issue and submitted patches (that I pushed recently).
So hopefully this new release will provide a new baseline for testers and we can close many of the existing up- and downstream reports, many of which may be duplicates (at least in the sense that they were caused by the same pieces of code).

Greybird 3.22.1

This is mostly a maintenance release, which fixes a bug in Geary’s conversation view and improves the readability of OSDs.
However, it also features a new (round) style for GtkSwitches, which makes them take up less space. Sweet!

What’s next?

Currently I’ve been hacking a little on Xfce’s display dialog to add a feature I once rejected (mea culpa, live and learn…). At the time I was more optimistic about me – or anyone else for that matter – finding the time to implement proper colord support in Xfce, which means support for color profiles. Unfortunately we didn’t make it, so what I can offer now is the rebasing and improvement of a patch that was once written against Gtk2 and merge-ready for Gtk3 (including a small rework of the settings dialog as a whole) and an honest apology to Andreas Lampersberger, the author of the original patch.
There are still more things I’d like to fix in display dialog land, like scaled mirror mode by default if two displays don’t share any resolutions (which is generally supported by XRandR, but not implemented yet).

The other thing I’ll probably get back to now is the panel. The gtk3_css branch that I was last working at needs some revisiting and I hope that some of the recent activity on the IRC channel and mailing list will also lead to more people testing the code and helping out with the porting or just smaller patches even.

Anyway, there’s a lot to do and your help is much appreciated along the way! So get in touch with us if you feel like contributing.

51 thoughts on “Releases, releases, releases!”

  1. Amazing work! I’m so happy to see so much activity here and on the mailing lists. XFCE is improving by the minute!
    Can’t wait to hear more about the new settings dialog. I read it exposes more settings, which sounds great!

  2. Great to see the Thunar bugs finally squashed 🙂 and the notify stuff looks very cool.

    But the RGB/Brightness patch makes me a bit sad; I’d also prefer real colourd support. Would it be possible to bundle with XFCE to at least get a better out-of-the-box experience?

    1. Bundling something like xiccd with Xfce is a task for distribution maintainers/packagers, not upstream developers of Xfce.

      To be honest I didn’t know xiccd, maybe someone wants to create a patch based on it for xfce4-display-settings (presuming it works well).

  3. The translations of xfce4-notifyd haven’t been updated in transifex for releasing xfce4-notifyd-0.3.5.
    See the following build log which appear some fuzzy and untranslated messages even translation is 100% completed:

    Please, update the xfce4-notifyd resource in transifex, give some time to the translators for translating the new messages in transifex before releasing a future release with the correct translations.

    Thanks for your effort and comprehension!

    1. Hi, thanks for the hint. I only became a transifex admin a few days ago and am still doing baby-steps there (to be frank, the interface of it is not very intuitive; took me a while to find everything). I’ll take a look into what has to be fixed there.

      I’m aware that translators need time and I tried to also give them some (although you could argue they may need more), but then again I intend to do another maintenance release in the foreseeable future to get any new translations in as well.

  4. I love Xfce dearly, and greatly appreciate the hard work you all put in … but I beg of you, **please** don’t remove title bars from Xfce applications!

    GTK3 client side decorations and merging the toolbar into the title bar is the biggest misstep in GUI design I’ve seen in decades of using computers.

    1. you are only saving, at best, 20 pixels of vertical space. Monitors are bigger than ever, and continue to get even bigger.

    2. you are removing vital information: not only the names of applications, but the names of documents open in said application. This is very important information for multi-tasking.

    3. you are removing an easy target for the mouse to click on and drag windows around with. Now we have to target the slivers between buttons, or hold down the Alt key while moving the window (which is not a very discoverable trick to most PC users.)

    4. you are completely breaking window manager decoration support. I like to use Gelly, and sometimes Aguelemon to theme my windows. But with GTK3 not rendering a title bar, this breaks completely. I cannot *stand* how hideous Adwaita looks =(

    Please, please, please reconsider. I would be devastated to see my favorite desktop environment begin to copy the “change for the sake of change”, anti-usability missteps of Gnome 3 =(

    1. Hi,

      2) GTK3 can show title bars with a header and sub-header. It’s up to the developer.

      3) You can drag the entire titlebar. This includes click and holding the close button and then dragging. It will move the window. If anything it’s made it even easier to drag windows, you just need to become comfortable with doing so. (The only thing you can’t click and drag from what I see is “input” boxes, but buttons, tabs, slivers inbetween, etc. can all be dragged).

      4) I can’t find Gelly/Aguelemon so I can’t speak to that. But you can change the colors/padding/etc of the header bar with css. I’m not sure if I understood the capacity to which you want to customize, but I think it’s possible.

  5. Question regarding design:

    Catfish has a menu button icon on its header bar. It is fixed on the right side.
    Xfce Task manager has a menu button icon on its header bar. It is fixed on the left side.
    Menulibre has a gnome app menu button icon on its header bar. It is movable as per the environment’s global window control placement (under Gtk or Qt desktops).

    What is the strategy here? Menulibre’s approach accommodates Gnome as well as people using desktops that are set to put icons as [close – title – menu/window controls] like in Pantheon and people using desktops that are set to put icons as [menu/window controls – title – close] like in most desktops.

    Personally, I set XFCE to do it the Pantheon desktop way. I could adapt to the other way, but XFCE provides no consistency anymore.

    There are three options:

    1. Use header bars like Menulibre (dynamic menu placement) only.

    2. Use headerbars like Menulibre (dynamic menu placement) and like Catfish (menu fixed on the right), or only like Catfish (menu fixed on the right). Maybe also make the default global settings be [close – title – menu].

    3. Use headerbars like Menulibre (dynamic menu placement) and like Xfce Task Manager (fixed on the left), or only like Xfce Task Manager (menu fixed on the left). Keep the default global settings as is as [menu – title – close].

    Having at least one app with a fixed menu button on the left and another app with a fixed menu button on the right on the same desktop makes little sense. Especially for non-optional, core functionality programs like these.

    1. I can agree with much of this. While I can still see saving a bit of space can be useful on laptops, (though the much better 3:2 format that is emerging is making this into a non-issue), the main thing I wish CSD’s had is the drop-down menus. It’s a super-smart and abvious way of grouping information that is readable and easy to find. A new user can immediately know where to look without guessing from arbitrary icons and without spending a second each waiting for tooltips to appear. A “gear”-icon is not really a solution. Partly because it adds an extra click, but mostly because for more complex apps there will be a terrible amount of sub-menus to accomodate all options. Imagine GIMP or Inkscape with a Gear-icon. So I’d say +1 for at least keeping drop-down menus as an option if possible.

      1. My main thrust was over the left-right placement.

        Would you personally push for having all option menu icons on the left for all XFCE apps (with HeaderBars) or push for having all option menu icons on the right for all XFCE apps or push for using the movable gnome app menu icons for all XFCE apps?

        It would relate to plans regarding Human-interface-guidelines. I can understand arguments for one strategy over the others, but I detest switching from app to app and switching from left to right to left for certain icons. Muscle memory and all that.

        Thank you for the development of XFCE

        1. Agreed, consistency ftw.

          This is why the branch for xfce4-taskmanager is not yet merged to master: it’s not yet final and aspects like the one you highlight (and which I consider very justified and relevant) are still up for discussion.

  6. Great job !! Installed already 🙂
    The Thunar stability was THE killer feature I expected in order to switch to XFCE on my main computer for my whole family.

  7. XFCE is the best windowing manager with the least foot print. However thumbnail display in the nautilus is great than the thunar which is the default file browser for xfce4.

  8. Xfce is progressing!! I am very happy, as it is my favorite DE!

    These extra features will be very useful!

  9. Thanks for your work and …
    A suggestion:

    Put DPI settings on display settings too (now it is in fonts)
    I use 170 dpi in a 1080p screen to have a near 720p “look and feel”

    It would be also good to suggest dpi configs with higher jumps than one, that must be kept, as “small, medium, large, very large, huge” dpi suggestions.

  10. Hi, I’m a long time Xfce fan and would love to help testing. I have a test netbook perfect for testing Xfce on some low end hardware. What would be the best way to test? What distro should I use as the base, and is there a guide to pulling the newer packages?

    Thanks for the great work.

    1. There are many options.

      Coming from Xubuntu I would suggest that, but that’s my personal opinion. It has some people doing testing every cycle and some infrastructure for testing in place (PPAs with development versions packaged).
      Best to go to #xubuntu-devel on and getting in touch with either flocculant or akxwi-dave. You can alternatively also get in touch with them on the Xubuntu development mailing list.

  11. Awesome work buddy! I may give up on macosx now and get back to linux glad xfce is still around and kickin’ like it’s 2001 again!

  12. Hello,
    thanks for hacking xfc! It’s really lovely piece of software!

    Now the question/suggestion: what about making it possible to use the laptop screen on the right side and external monitor on the left side while having the laptop screen primary with the clock and panels?

    Thanks for considering this idea.

  13. A small comment about the settings dialogs in xfce4-notifyd 0.3.5: I like them. Looks clear to me. Tabs to switch between various parts of the program feels like a good way to categorize things and if it’s the classical GTK2 tabs (like used in Appearance settings now) or these new Button-esque GTK3 tabs is either way to me. I do like the animated switches between the tabs though! I have nothing at all against some smooth eye-candy as long as it’s not detracting from things or take overly high amout of system resources to display. 🙂

    1. The general idea is to use the Notebook tabs for contexts where they are added and removed dynamically by the user (e.g. browsers) and the Stacks (what you call the new button-esque tabs) for when they are immutable.
      The sliding animation is a nice addon of the Stack.

  14. Hello,

    I’m really happy to some new release ! I wonder if it’s possible to have these little improvement too :

    Thunar : Ask to rename if duplicate when copy or move files

    Xfwm4 : Not enough space between the cursor and the right click contextual menu

    Thunar : Enhancement : For directories, in size column, put the count of contained files

    Xfwm4 :

    Xfwm4 : Implement _NET_WM_BYPASS_COMPOSITOR standard

    Thanks !

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