Speed up your Linux Desktop with Xfce

Latency is an atypical scenario for Linux users. But sometimes as age catches up to us, it also catches up to your hardware. Despite having  a light weight linux operating system, your desktop can be a bit slow, to overcome this we can install Xfce.

So what is Xfce?

A desktop environment is what you see on your computer screen, the look and feel of it. It’s the panels that hold your applications, windows, menu bars and the time. It’s how you open applications and switch between them, their animations etc.

Xfce is a free and open-source desktop environment for Unix and Unix-like operating systems, such as Linux, Solaris, and BSD. Xfce aims to be fast and lightweight, while still being visually appealing and easy to use.

A Brief History of Xfce

XFCE began in 1996 as a free alternative to the Common Desktop Environment available for UNIX, which was still proprietary software at the time. The name originally stood for XForms Common Environment. XForms proved to be a limitation for the project. Since the toolkit was only free for personal use, popular distributions such as Red Hat and Debian would not distribute XFCE.

Starting in 1999, XFCE’s founder rewrote the desktop using GTK (also used by the GNOME desktop environment). Olivier Fourdan would later land a job with Red Hat, the largest open source company in the world.

Why choose Xfce?

Traditionally a desktop environment tries to portray itself unique, different from the rest. Windows and macOS each is of one (type of) desktop environment. When a new version of Windows comes out, the most talked about features tend to be related to the desktop environment: the presence of a start menu, a flat theme, and the like. The same is true with macOS, which is heavily associated with a dock and having application menus appear across the top. Likewise, we can distinctively talk about the difference between android and iOS.

On open source desktops such as Linux, you aren’t limited to one desktop environment. You can use the one that comes pre-installed, or you can swap it out for a wide range of alternatives. Xfce is one of many desktop environments to pick from.

Best of all, its lightweight, while still being visually appealing and easy to use.

Xfce isn’t the newest, shiniest, most powerful desktop environment. That can be a plus.

When you want your machine to put maximum resources on the task at hand, whether that’s gaming or encoding a video, then you don’t need the desktop environment sucking up more of your RAM and CPU.

If you’re perfectly happy using the same interface you did ten or twenty years ago, you may not even want the so-called innovations introduced in other desktop environments.

So will you install Xfce for your linux desktop?

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