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30 April 2012, 10:38

Xfce 4.10 comes with more panel modes and new application finder

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Xfce panel in deskbar mode
Xfce panel in "Deskbar Mode"
Source: Xfce project

The developers of the Xfce desktop environment have released the newest version of their suite of applications. Xfce 4.10, which was released roughly fifteen months after its stable predecessor Xfce 4.8, comes with new orientation modes for the panel, a rewritten application finder and more fine tuning to its overall look and feel.

The Xfce panel has gained a new "Deskbar Mode" that aligns the open applications vertically (comparable to the panel's vertical mode) but displays panel plugins horizontally. This configuration was designed to use the ample horizontal space on widescreen monitors as efficiently as possible. In horizontal mode, the panel now supports multiple rows for launchers and other plugins, while window list items still expand to the full width of the panel.

Zoom The rewritten application finder
Source: Xfce project

The Xfce applications finder (which by default can be evoked by pressing the Alt and F2 keys simultaneously) has been rewritten from scratch and now combines the functions of the old application finder and the Xfce run dialog in one tool. Its user interface has been improved and the application now also supports creating custom actions triggered by a particular prefix or a regular expression pattern. Work to make Thunar (Xfce's file manager) handle the desktop is ongoing and this functionality has not been included in this release, but the older Xfdesktop component has received support for automated background image cycling, thumbnail rendering and more.

Other changes in Xfce 4.10 include the removal of the user manuals from the Xfce application packages. All the manuals are now hosted on a documentation wiki and when users click a help button in an Xfce application, they will be redirected to the wiki. This change will make the documentation more up to date and easier to maintain, according to the developers.

The way the desktop environment handles compatibility with GNOME and KDE applications and their specific autostart behaviour has also changed. If users choose to enable compatibility with these other desktops, Xfce now only starts required GNOME and KDE services before respective applications that depend on them. Xfce's settings application and MIME type configurations editor have also been improved, and the "Mouse and Touchpad" dialog can now handle basic Synaptics and Wacom devices and their properties.

For a complete list of improvements in Xfce 4.10, see the tour of new features on the Xfce project site or the full change log. Xfce is included in the repositories of many Linux distributions and can be installed through their respective package managers. Users who want to install this latest version of the desktop manually can download it in source form from the Xfce web site. The same page lists a number of distributions that ship with an Xfce desktop by default. Xfce, the application, is dual licensed under the GPL and BSD licences, while its libraries are dual licensed under the LGPL and BSD licences.


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