New xfce4-settings release

After quite a bit of development time I’m happy to announce the next development point release of xfce4-settings in the 4.13 series.

There are many fixes in this release – most visibly also UI improvements. This includes consistent padding/margin etc across all dialogs as well as a restored hover-effect in the Settings Manager. Finally both the advanced (fake panel as indicator for primary displays, re-arranged settings and distinct advanced tab) and the minimal display dialog (new icons, improved strings) received a facelift.

But – despite the nature of the 4.14 cycle – there is also a new feature:
display profiles.

This new feature allows you to store one or more profiles for a particular display configuration that you may be using. In order to uniquely identify single displays we rely on the so-called EDID (Extended Display Identification Data) so a profile becomes a combination of those unique EDIDs. As already mentioned, you can store multiple profiles per setup to cover use-cases like rotating single screens or when enabling/disabling or re-arranging certain screens may be necessary. For instance in office situations where you switch a lot between one or multiple docking stations, projectors and other external devices, this feature will allow you to do so with ease.
Every scenario just has to be configured and saved once.

It is important to note that the list of available profiles is always filtered based on the currently connected displays. To be exact: this means that at least the currently connected displays need to be part of the profile definition for the profile to appear in the list. In turn this also means that if you only have your internal laptop display connected, you will see all profiles because your laptop display will always be part of every profile (even if it is disabled!).





To make the deal a little sweeter I implemented auto-applying of profiles when new displays are connected. This is an optional feature that automatically enables the first – if there are multiple defined for the set of currently connected displays – matching profile.
This action is also triggered if you open the minimal dialog, giving you a shortcut to auto-apply profiles. 

What is not yet implemented is profile-awareness for xfsettingsd. So the settings daemon does not automatically enable a profile if you simply start your session, but previously worked in a different display setup. However, this is a point I would like to address in a future release.

In the meantime, enjoy xfce4-settings 4.13.5!

27 thoughts on “New xfce4-settings release”

  1. Interesting!

    By the way, when I started reading, I initially thought “ooh, finally color profiles in xfce”, but this is something different.. Maybe it should be called something other than “profiles” to avoid confusion/disappointment? Even though it looks like a very handy feature!

    1. I understand the confusion, but I wasn’t sure how else to name the feature. I would stress that it’s called *Display* profiles to be able to more easily distinguish it from color profiles.

  2. Very nice! As someone with multiple monitors I welcome the improvements. XFCE is still the only desktop environmentI use on any and all of my Linux machines, and even though development is slow, it is easy to use, nice, clean, and stable. Blog posts such as this show that devs are still working on it to keep it great and make it even better.

  3. That is a great news! Another really useful feature would be panel plugin with list of saved profiles for quick access and easy switching.

    And thank you for effort and great work.

    1. I thought about a panel plugin as well, but the minimal dialog offers the matching profiles anyway, so just binding that to a keyboard-shortcut or adding it as a launcher to the panel seems ok.

  4. That is great news, thanks a lot for this! Hopefully it will land soon in Arch so I can use it. Sometimes I use a projector and being able to easily switch profiles is a big plus. Is there any way to activate / change the display profiles using the command line? That way I can restore the display using another computer (ssh) when I mess up, something I will probably do…

    1. No, the only interaction of profiles with the command-line is that you can call the minimal dialog and it will auto-apply the first matching profile. So as long as you don’t mess that up, that should work as a fallback always.

      Another way is simply to delete the existing profiles, then the minimal dialog will auto-re-enable all connected displays.

  5. Nice feature! It would be handy to configure one monitor “inside” other setup. Useful when you are mirroring display on the projector. Currently only nvidia settings allows it

    1. Not sure what you mean exactly, but you can apply a profile, change the layout (or some other setting) and then save/overwrite it.

    1. Switches have been around for a while and for certain things (e.g. enabling/disabling displays) they seem to be the perfect metaphor. I know not everybody likes them, which is why I use them selectively.

      The popover actually feels very natural – at least to me – in that context. It simply doesn’t get in the way as much as a traditional dialog.

  6. The feature is quite helpful for development setup and commercial users. Thanks! May I know what fonts are being use here (Inconsolota, Noto Sans, Droid Sans, Fira Sans) ? They look quite awesome for XFCE, been searching around for some decent looking fonts. Thanks in advance.

  7. It’s great to see feature improvements like this on top of the already rock-solid XFCE base. Looking forward to 4.14+ when it’s ready and available in distributions.

  8. Please let this be the fix for my problem:
    When I switch from my AMD Radeon HD7870 to a RaspberryPi on my computer monitor, I use a 3 port HDMI switcher to do so. Xfce4 was the only desktop environment (compared to Windows 8.1, Mac OS X/macOS and Mate), that did not deliver a signal after switching back to the AMD and nobody could help me out, not even AMD forums.
    As all I needed Linux for was Vulkan, I’ve used a Mate distro as a workaround, but I’d love to come back home again.

    I hope this commment raises awareness(!), you seem to be the exact guy who knows what I’d need to do. 😛

    1. In general all DEs that rely on X11 use the same stack for handling display signals. If you want to compare what happens in Xfce to what happens in Mate you can always check the output of xrandr on the command-line.
      To me it sounds like a driver issue. So if it’s the same distribution and you’re only switching DEs I don’t see how/why they would behave differently. If signals are not caught automatically however, you can always bind “xfce4-display-settings –minimal” or even “xrandr –auto” to a keyboard shortcut in order not to end up without enabled displays.

      1. Thank you so much for your help!
        I had no idea where to look first, admittedly not very smart of me, but oh well.

        I will try your suggestion out as soon as I get the chance to do so.

  9. Downloaded tarball, extract, I run the following commands from the extracted folder. Seems to run fine.

    ./configure –prefix=/usr –sysconfdir=/etc &&

    However error message is “No rule to make target ‘install’.”
    I’m still a bit new . Ideas what am I doing wrong ?

    1. Instead of ./configure you need to call ./ (including your parameters), then it should work.

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