Xfce is a system of lightweight desktop environment for Linux, and is a good alternative to the complex and awkward gnome. In this post I’ll show you how to install Xfce on debian. It is available in the default Debian repositories and can be installed immediately.
# apt-get install xfce4
This will install the xfce desktop with all the necessary applications. The download size is around 20.4 MB and should finish in a few minutes on a fast broadband connection.
Along with the main xfce4 package you can also install additional useful applications by installing the package named xfce4-goodies.
# sudo apt-get install xfce4-goodies
If you want to install all the application of the xfce desktop suite then use the following command instead
# apt-get install xfce4-*
It will install a lot more applications. The download size is around 99MB and would take more time to complete.
So choose the right one for your needs.
After installing the XFCE desktop, you would want to customise the look and feel of it, to make it better. The default looks of any desktop are nothing great as such.
Get better themes
Personally, I find the bluebird greybird and great looking themes to be when it comes to xfce and lxde. Ubuntu they are present in the default repositories. However on debian, add the ubuntu repository ppa to get them.
It’s easy, just run the following commands
# add-apt-repository 'deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/shimmerproject/ppa/ubuntu quantal main' # apt-get update
# aptitude search shimmer p shimmer-themes-greybird - Greybird Theme from the Shimmer Project
# apt-get install shimmer-themes-greybird
Now go to
Applications Menu > Settings > Appearance
And from the style tab, select greybird theme.
Also switch to a better font like Droid Sans. Enable anti aliasing with full hinting and RGB subpixel order. Now that should make your fonts look a great deal better.
Speed up the user interface
This is a simple trick that will speed up the menu in Xfce desktop. By default, when you move the mouse on the Applications menu and submenu and all below, sub-menus appear after a short few milliseconds. This period may be removed to make menus appear instantly make the user interface seems fast.