XFCE 4.12 Is Finally Released, Nearly 3 Years After Its Predecessor, So What’s Changed?

After a delay of almost 2 years from its original planned release date and close to 3 years of hard work, the long awaited next iteration of XFCE desktop environment – 4.12 – is finally out!

Updated Sep 18, 2016News
XFCE 4.12

To those who had been following iWillFolo for the past few months it’s been no surprise seeing that XFCE is not only still alive and kicking after thought dead, but also releasing its next version according to latest plan.

If you are now wondering what has changed in such long period of time and was it worth the while? read-on the following list of changes and feel free to judge for yourself.

XFCE 4.12 Feature Highlights

Core XFCE changes:

  • Window Switcher Dialog (Alt+Tab) is now fully themeable and gained optional ‘Window Preview’ and ‘List’ modes.
  • Windows now properly snap to screen and panel borders, and tile correctly (even with shadows) – thanks to CSD improvements.
  • Better support for hi-resolution screens – added two new Xfwm4 themes (hdpi, xhdpi).
  • XFCE Panel gained Intelligent Hiding mode and support for GTK 3 plugins.
  • Desktop Manager now has a new wallpaper settings dialog and better multi-monitor support.
  • Various Settings tools gained new features and improvements, among them are: Display Settings, Appearance Settings, Power Manager (which also gained new plugin).
  • Thunar (file manager) gained: tab support and various of UI improvements alongside bug fixes and speed-ups.
  • Gtk theme engine development dropped in favor preparing the future of XFCE with Gtk3.
  • Mixer application and Volume daemon are no longer maintained due to incompatibilities with gstreamer1.0.
Window Switcher - Windows preview mode

Window Switcher – Windows preview mode

XFCE ‘Goodies’ Changes:

  • Whisker-Menu is now incorporated to XFCE Goodies as alternative panel menu plugin.
  • Parole (media player) was ported to Gtk 3 and gstreamer1.0 and its UI was redone.
  • Task manager got a revamped user interface.
  • Xfburn gained BluRay Disc burning support.
  • Mousepad (text editor) was completely rewritten, gained a settings dialog and now supports Gtk3.
Parole ported to GTK 3

Parole ported to GTK 3

For a complete changelog – click here.

It’s Evolution, Not Revolution!

As you can see there are lots (and lots) of changes to XFCE over this long period of time. However, non of these new features purports to be revolutionary to the way we use our desktops.

Perhaps due to learning the lesson from others in the field (Microsoft’s failed attempt to completely revamp the UI with Windows 8) and maybe mostly because of the ‘stable-first’ property imprinted in its nature, XFCE didn’t took any chances with this one.

Despite it’s been over 4 years since its release, XFCE 4.12 still haven’t made a full transition to GTK 3, which is the current maintained version of GTK+.

Add to that the fact that non of the new features listed above is a ground-breaking new feature we haven’t seen before and you’ll get the picture that XFCE is playing it safe when it comes to this release.

Of course this could prove for better or for worse, depends on whom you’re asking, yet the important thing to note is that XFCE never aimed at being the most advanced DE there is.

Rather, its official goal is to be fast and low on system resources, while still being visually appealing and user friendly. That goal I believe, is still kept with this release.

Will it be enough to win its users hearts? Will XFCE 4.12 still be relevant in todays modern DE competition? I guess we shall wait and see…

Task Manager revamped user interface

Task Manager revamped user interface

Download & Install

At time of writing this, XFCE 4.12, being only less than a day old, is yet to be available on any Linux distro as a stable, finished product.

However, source code and packages may be obtained and installed through the official website (link below), though you’ll need to know how to compile them in-order to install.

In time, distributions which offer XFCE 4.12 precompiled / installed by default will also be available via the link below.

Download XFCE-4.12

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