Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day: In love with Xfce

My laptop power brick got burned out day before yesterday. Since then, I've been unable to perform anything even trivial with my ~50mins battery backup. I've been thinking about replacing the battery too, but since the warranty got expired I think I might have to shell out cash from my pocket. Now that I've switched my attention to my half-abandoned desktop, I've been in search of some GUI-thingy that is simultaneously sleek and performance wise top-notch. I've been using E16 for sometime, both for lack of availability of E17 in Debian Etch and to be "unconventional" not going in the paths of KDE or GNOME. What is most expected out of a GUI (I'm refraining from using the term Desktop environment) is a decent file manager. Sure, I can be satisfied with dired in GNU Emacs, but that's not what you want when you want to copy a ~400MiB video to your friend's thumb drive. The keyword here is "immediate". My desktop is a Celeron 634Mhz box with 128M ram. By most of the so-called "modern" standards this is clearly outdated. I don't know whether it's Binny or Sameer bhai (both of LUG-Cochin) that told me about Xfce. I had dismissed that thinking Enlightenment is all the way to go. But Enlightenment does not have a "decent" file manager. I thought, "What the hell, anyway I'm sitting here unpurposefully, why don't I try out yet-another-desktop-environment?". What striked first about Xfce was its sleek and polished look -- quite like GNOME. And what's more: it uses GTk2 (think Pango and it's advantages here).  These are the visible virtues of Xfce (originally XForms Common Environment):
  • Lightweight (Literally!  Uses 60M of my 128M ram, and 30M of my 252M swap in extreme conditions)
  • Nice and gooey desktop apps -- I'm head over heals for Thunar.
  • Sleek and smooth and 'sexy'.  All thanks to GTk2.
  • Have all the D-Bus, HAL and blah-blah functionallity.
  • Fast.  Yes, for all my needs.
I think I'll stick with Xfce for my future desktop compting needs.   Gosh! Why didn't I think of this before? "Time," as Morpheus suggests, "is always against us."

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