After Cristoph commented on the yesterday's post about my likes and dislikes with LXDE I learned a lot of my complaints are going to be solved in the upcoming version of PCManFM, that's nice to hear and it looks like it will be worth spending a day with it again with Fedora 13.
I imagine some people think my complaints are minor, just cosmetic stuff: well, they may be, but this is the thing making you more or less productive. If you learn the content of a file from its desktop thumbnail, then you can open it right away, not waste time trying to discover its content. The same about placement of files or launchers on the desktop or panel: you are a lot more productive when you know where to click and don't have to hunt. An ideal desktop is supposed to not stand in the way, it should make you easier to work with your applications and get the work done (bad news for the desktop developers: people are using the desktop for the applications, not for its desktop environment), one that for example allows to witch two open windows with one click of the mouse, not 3 clicks and 2 animations (oh, I am still traumatized by the GNOME Shell experience).
But enough with the ranting, after a day with LXDE, it was the time for a day with another alternative desktop, Xfce. My day was quite busy, full of video transcoding and publishing but I still managed to do it with a somewhat unfamiliar desktop.
The install i just as simple:
It weighted about 14MB, small enough (again, I already had a full GTK+ stack from my GNOME install), but after that I found and installed from the repository a number of other useful applications and plugins, for a better experience.
yum groupinstall xfce-desktop
Things to like:
- ages ago I briefly used CDE, not enough to grow fond of it, but is not to customize Xfce to look like something you are used to
- mature, having a lot of applications, plugins and settings but still fast enough
- no-nonsense, a familiar environment
- built-it "Open In Terminal" for the current directory, I need plugins for this with GNOME
- the same lack of integrated gvfs, making hard the work with remote file systems, but a bit of googling reveals a new version of Thunar is out and has the feature, so just like LXDE is a desktop to revisit for Fedora 13
- it also suffers in customizing the panels, to put a launcher exactly where you want, you have to fiddle a lot with spacers
- not only not showing the content in the file thumbnails on screen, but also very ugly, opaque, background for icon captions