My desktop environment of choice for a while now has been Xfce, and I’ve been very happy with it. It follows the familiar desktop paradigms we’ve known for years, its goal to be comfortable for long-time computers, rather than innovate and try to capture new audiences. It is the default desktop environment for Debian, and the desktop environment of choice for Linus Torvalds.

I really enjoy the packaging work that Xubuntu has done for Xfce: its default Greybird theme is clear, functional and pretty, and the Ubuntu app indicators just work.

Xfce’s only problem is that its technology is a bit old: GTK+2 rather than GTK+3. This causes some (minor) conflicts with newer applications, and divergent themes. You basically need to use themes that come with identical GTK+2 and GTK+3 versions. Sticking with Greybird is thus a good idea. The Xfce project is working on migrating to GTK+3, but it will take a while, and they’re not in any hurry. That’s OK, neither am I.

I recommend tweaking Xfce with the following:

To install all of my recommendations in one go:

sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:gottcode/gcppa
sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:dockbar-main/ppa
sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:richardgv/compton
sudo apt-get install -y xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin xfce4-dockbarx-plugin compton recoll
Dec 31, 1969, 18:00 CST