A few months of xfce

In mid-late 2011 my “fed-up-ness” with Gnome reached critical levels – it got to the point that Windows has been at for years: me sitting, staring at my screen in disbelief, screaming: “What, exactly, the fuck, are YOU DOING THAT TAKES SO GODDAMN LONG?!?!?!”, or the classic: “aah, good, a minute’s delay while you read something which you ALREADY HAVE CACHED!!!”.

I shit you not, there are tasks which gnome’s bloatware manages to slow down my dual-core >3000Mhz machine with >8000Mb of RAM to a point where performance is comparable to performing the same task on my 7Mhz, 2Mb RAM Amiga 600. This is not an exaggeration – for example, my Amiga will open up a directory containing thousands of files in a comparable time, and it’s reading from an MFM hard disk and has pretty much nothing cached. My Amiga will boot up in less time than it takes gnome to show me my desktop from the gdm login screen.

It’s not that Gnome changed or did anything differently, it’s just that I gradually became less and less tolerant of it’s godawful performance, and the point came where I finally snapped and said “Fuck Gnome”.

No, I haven’t tried Gnome 3. Given an option, I never will – the screenshots are enough to tell me it’s an ungodly abomination. I’m talking about Gnome 2.

The solution I went with was to switch to Xfce.

Since I’m addicted to my pretty wobbly windows, I’ve been running Xfce with compiz as the window manager on my powerful machine. I’m using xfwm on my less-powerful laptop.

I’ve been using it for a few months now, and thought I’d report on the experience.

So, without further ado, here’s an exhaustive list of features I miss from Gnome which are not in Xfce:


  • Coffee – Gnome had this wonderful feature which allowed me to drink much more coffee every day. You see, when I open nautilus in my home folder, there’s a nice ~40 second delay while nautilus does whatever the fuck it does that takes such a god damn long time to do. In this time I used to go make coffee – my workflow went: a) double-click directory b) make coffee c) have a cigarette d) browse through the folder I double-clicked (assuming, of course, that I didn’t open my “mp3s” or “audiobooks” directories – in that case, there’s a step e) – celebrate a few birthdays, grow older and wiser, earn a doctorate, solve the energy crisis, and read every novel ever written ). Unfortunately since thunar will open up my home directory in less than one second, my coffee intake has been greatly reduced.


This also marks my departure from using the standard Ubuntu distro. I loved it and I wish the Ubuntu team well – 10.04 has been a brilliant OS – it’s served me really well and I’ve been very happy with it in general, but I’m not ever using unity, and next time I need to install an OS I’ll be going with Xubuntu.

Fuck Gnome. Fuck Gnome right in the ear.

Now all I need is for someone to build a web browser that doesn’t completely suck ass. Maybe I’ll give Opera a proper try…

5 thoughts on “A few months of xfce

  1. agYea definitely the tsupid menu w/e it’s called is awful. Even Gnome-shell’s is better. It is very difficult to browse. It looks like crap. It is really weird when you are trying to use it to execute a console command. All the lenses are really kinda confusing. I like the idea (gnome-do like) but I also like being able to browse through my applications without having to click though 3-4 different things first. I think that part of unity needs an interface overhaul/redo. Much of the rest is fine so long as it gets more configurable (for example we need to be able to theme/change the colors on the panel that comes out of the left side of the screen. (and actually everything including the launcher/dash thing w/e you all are calling it. So in short: fix the launcher interface, make everything themeable/customizable.

    • clemejI chose unity because I’m still trynig to like it, but I’m really not, and will probably go back to classic gnome. Here are a few reasons:- As mentioned above, its dual monitor support leaves a lot to be desired.- Searching is -not- a good paradigm for an application menu, but a tree structure is. In order for search to work, you have to know what you’re looking for.. sometimes, you don’t. I know i downloaded a word processor, but I type word processor’ into the search bar and nothing comes up. It’s a guaranteed way to install a program and then never find it again three months later when you can’t remember what its called. I would -seriously- request that the developers add the option to open a classic application menu when right clicking on the menu icon.- I miss having convenient access to my filesystem bookmarks without having to load up a nautilus window on my home folder just to open a new nautilus menu to my work project’s samba share.- Xterm crashes nouveau in natty, but that’s not a unity issue.- As mentioned above, the we -really- want to ape apple and move out menus to the top absolutely fails with focus follows mouse, since as you move up to the top menu, if you pass over another window, the menu changes to that window. Now, the solution to that is you shouldn’t use focus follows mouse , which someone in some thesis somewhere decided that was bad UI design . This cocky we know better than you that always pervaded gnome, and now has seeped into ubuntu (starting with the anti-notification-area crusade in karmic) is really putting me off.- GVim is broken with the top menu when run from the command line, as a developer, that’s a HUGE problem.In short, i switched to ubuntu years ago because the defaults worked well enough for a power user like me out of the box, and I could spend my time working instead of tweaking my setup on every new machine. It was also simple enough my wie could sit down and use. Ubuntu’s practical approach contrasted with gnome’s we just wont give people the option to do anything fancy . Unity throws a lot of that out the window. After having used gnome shell this week on another work machine, it suffers from the same problems.

      • Nice, that would be a practical thing, and also you can add a shurtcot, so if you want to see the notes instead of the activity menu like Super+F3, to have a fast access. Do you know if someone has done it yet?, I would be interested in doing it. I work making php code but I’ve never done a gnome extension.

  2. Just had the good sense to add your blog to my RSS reader… this is AMAZING. Reminds me of the rants the writer of ion (window manager) would go on re: GNOME. They don’t seem to be online anymore … :|

    • RossInstalled 11.04 with beta 1 and hated it, because it was rallcadiy different and very unstable. But I’ve always liked tinkering (probably the main reason I love linux) and making things work, stop after 2 weeks of fooling around with unity I got it to a relatively useful state. By that time it had become completely stable and I got used to all the keyboard shortcuts which helped me become more productive then ever.Unity is now on my main machine and I rather love it. Now I’m trying to figure out how to flip the whole menu to the right without breaking anything.

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