Comparison between LXDE and Xfce

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Xfce is another Desktop Environment which aims to be lightweight.

It is currently more fully featured than LXDE, and significantly larger - this is because:

  1. In the balance between features and lightness, a design decision must be made. LXDE has focused more on lightness, and Xfce leans a bit more towards being fully featured. Sometimes that has meant using code which has not yet been made lean and efficient. (However it is still leaner than GNOME or KDE.)
  2. Xfce has had time to develop some packages which are not yet implemented in LXDE.

Some Xfce packages can be useful within LXDE - e.g. xfce-power-manager.

Implementations

Most distributions have Xfce in their repositories, and quite a few have Xfce versions on LiveCD. A couple of notable examples:

  • Xubuntu is well known, as the Xfce version of Ubuntu. Some releases have been criticized for being bloated, and not as Xfce was meant to be implemented.
  • CrunchBang Statler (Debian-based) offers a choice of Openbox or Xfce (or both, choosing session at login). The "Xfce" is actually a very slimmed down version, very similar to the Openbox version but using Xfwm. The developer has said that it is intended to demonstrate that a truly lightweight Xfce is possible (not his exact words).

Xfce code in LXDE

The LXDE project uses some Xfce code. It is clearly documented in either the source code or the COPYING file in the source repo.

The code which is used by LXDE consists of:

  • ExoIconView and ExoTreeView from libexo. (These make a small fraction of libexo.)
  • libfm contains code of exo. This is properly documented in README, AUTHORS and in the code. Even the git hash is given.
  • LXSession used the HAL code of xfce4-session. This is documented in AUTHORS and README.
  • LXLauncher uses a single function from exo. This is documented in the source and Benny of Xfce is listed in AUTHORS.
  • LXTask is heavily based on xfce4-taskmanager 0.4.x, but without Xfce dependencies. Patches for bugs and enhancements were sent to Xfce but not incorporated. Since then, lxtask now a different GUI, and xfce4-taskmanager has been revived and updated to 1.0.x.
  • the xkb plugin for LXPanel uses code from xfce4-xkb-plugin.

Note: LXPanel is not based on xfce4-panel. It is based on fbpanel and the panel itself does not use any Xfce code - only the xkb plugin uses Xfce code, as noted above.

External links