Xfce - The overlooked desktop underdog

There are a ton of different desktop environments for Linux. Many say it is a good thing, as Linux is about choice. This however leads to fragmented allocation of development resources. While Ubuntu Unity, Gnome Shell and KDE are spending their time in re-inventing the wheel, and still totally missing the touch display trend, there is one alternative that is about stability, continuity and minimalism - The Xfce.

Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for UNIX-like operating systems. It aims to be fast and low on system resources, while still being visually appealing and user friendly.

Behind the terrible name you’ll find a desktop environment that is like a fresh breath of old air. The Xfce is visually old fashioned and favor classic UI-design paradigms. It is light on system resources due to lack of whizz-bang visual effects. And yet it has all the core features that an everyday desktop computer user needs. And of course it can be heavily customized, if you want to.

The Xfce is typically available as an option in all major desktop Linux distributions. Personally I have always liked Xubuntu’s implementation best, but Mint Xfce edition has a lot of fans too. If you are looking for some cutting edge, then Manjaro considers Xfce as their primary desktop - a rare feature nowadays, as Debian switched back to Gnome.

The Xfce is a classy and a classic desktop. It evolves at a very slow pace, while being constantly developed. They are really going for stability and the long run, instead of redesigning everything. If you feel that modern and highly visual desktops are too much for your eyes or hardware, you might want to check out Xfce.

Xubuntu 16.04.1 live session

1 Like

lubuntu xfde is better

Lubuntu runs the LXDE desktop, which a good choice as well.

After hearing the news regarding Unity i decided to give Debian another try , not being a fan of the Gnome 3 environment i opted for xfce, and , i have to say two days in i cant really see any reason to boot back into Unity.


Xfce is good, stable, classic desktop. Solid choice for most use cases.

I would not diss Gnome however. It has surpassed Unity years ago and nowadays offers a very good user experience especially for laptops. Maybe less so for a full blown desktop. Also, I have to say that the KDE’s 5.8 LTS branch is in pretty good shape too, if you you enjoy a Windows-like desktop with all the bells and whistles.

The Unity has caused more harm than good. Desktop distribution with the largest user base has been fragmenting the software ecosystem. It also has some seriously flawed design decisions, and this is not an opinion by can be backed by studies and data.

Also Gnome, unlike Unity, can be customized. It is easy to add a side dash among other features to make it feel more like Unity.

In co-operation with DigitalOcean.com - get $10 free credits!