XFCE 4.12 Review – The Good, The Bad And The Better

This is a short and concise review, covering the impression I got after using the latest Xfce version 4.12 for the first time.

Updated Mar 18, 2016Reviews
XFCE 4.12 about

Xfce was only released not long ago (less than 2 weeks) and already it is available inside my currently used distro – Gentoo, as part of its testing branch. I’ve decided to take it on a test drive.

In this review, I won’t be pointing out all the new features Xfce 4.12 has gained with this release, if you’re interested to know what’s new in 4.12 – I recommend you read: XFCE 4.12 Is Finally Released, So What’s Changed?

About XFCE

“Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for UNIX-like operating systems. It aims to be fast and low on system resources, while still being visually appealing and user friendly.”

That is what the official Xfce website declares about it and its ultimate goal and that tells us a lot.

It tells us what we should and shouldn’t expect out of our Xfce experience and where does the wind blows when it comes to decisions based upon priority.

For instance we should expect Xfce to be considerably lightweight, and on the other hand we probably shouldn’t expect it to be the most advanced DE since that’s not one of its goals.

How Lightweight Is It?

One of the first things I set to find out was the amount of resources being taken by Xfce 4.12.

Using a tool called ps_mem I was able to get a clear picture of the RAM it takes to run Xfce, Before you is the results:

Private  +   Shared  =  RAM used    Program

76.0 KiB +  34.5 KiB = 110.5 KiB    init
144.0 KiB +   6.0 KiB = 150.0 KiB    v86d
160.0 KiB +  49.0 KiB = 209.0 KiB    gnome-pty-helper
272.0 KiB +  93.5 KiB = 365.5 KiB    gam_server
340.0 KiB +  90.5 KiB = 430.5 KiB    dbus-launch
260.0 KiB + 339.0 KiB = 599.0 KiB    sh
576.0 KiB +  29.0 KiB = 605.0 KiB    ssh-agent
472.0 KiB + 151.0 KiB = 623.0 KiB    xfconfd
432.0 KiB + 209.0 KiB = 641.0 KiB    su
616.0 KiB + 100.5 KiB = 716.5 KiB    systemd-udevd
688.0 KiB +  42.5 KiB = 730.5 KiB    gpg-agent
508.0 KiB + 267.5 KiB = 775.5 KiB    at-spi2-registryd
556.0 KiB + 261.5 KiB = 817.5 KiB    gvfsd
1.0 MiB +  49.0 KiB =   1.1 MiB    mount.ntfs-3g
932.0 KiB + 251.5 KiB =   1.2 MiB    upowerd
884.0 KiB + 337.5 KiB =   1.2 MiB    console-kit-daemon
924.0 KiB + 334.0 KiB =   1.2 MiB    agetty (6)
704.0 KiB + 631.5 KiB =   1.3 MiB    kdm (2)
924.0 KiB + 439.5 KiB =   1.3 MiB    at-spi-bus-launcher
1.1 MiB + 287.5 KiB =   1.3 MiB    gconfd-2
960.0 KiB + 417.5 KiB =   1.3 MiB    gvfsd-trash
1.4 MiB + 220.5 KiB =   1.6 MiB    xscreensaver
1.0 MiB +   1.0 MiB =   2.0 MiB    bash (2)
1.5 MiB + 558.5 KiB =   2.1 MiB    dbus-daemon (3)
1.8 MiB + 564.5 KiB =   2.3 MiB    gvfs-udisks2-volume-monitor
1.9 MiB + 478.5 KiB =   2.4 MiB    udisksd
3.2 MiB + 396.5 KiB =   3.5 MiB    NetworkManager
5.1 MiB + 544.0 KiB =   5.6 MiB    pulseaudio
5.7 MiB + 366.0 KiB =   6.1 MiB    polkitd
6.6 MiB +  45.5 KiB =   6.7 MiB    dhclient
17.3 MiB +   2.2 MiB =  19.5 MiB    panel-6-systray
17.6 MiB +   2.1 MiB =  19.7 MiB    xfce4-session
17.6 MiB +   2.3 MiB =  19.9 MiB    panel-2-actions
18.7 MiB +   2.7 MiB =  21.4 MiB    xfwm4
22.6 MiB +   1.9 MiB =  24.5 MiB    polkit-gnome-authentication-agent-1
23.5 MiB +   2.0 MiB =  25.5 MiB    tumblerd
22.7 MiB +   3.0 MiB =  25.6 MiB    xfce4-xkb-plugin
24.9 MiB +   3.3 MiB =  28.2 MiB    panel-16-whiske
25.0 MiB +   3.5 MiB =  28.5 MiB    xfce4-panel
25.4 MiB +   3.5 MiB =  28.9 MiB    xfce4-terminal
27.6 MiB +   3.8 MiB =  31.4 MiB    Thunar
31.4 MiB +   6.4 MiB =  37.8 MiB    xfdesktop
42.0 MiB +   6.1 MiB =  48.1 MiB    Xorg
53.9 MiB +   3.0 MiB =  56.9 MiB    xfsettingsd (3)
---------------------------------
464.8 MiB
=================================

 

Adding only the Xfce components will get you a sum of about 287 MiB, not bad for a visually appealing yet lightweight desktop I’d say, wouldn’t you?

Advantages (The Good)

  • The desktop is very snappy, it is  mostly noticeable especially when you come from a robust DE such as KDE like I did, you can actually feel apps respond and launch faster than you’re used too.
Snappy xfce 4.12

How long does it takes your DE to launch Thunderbird?

  • As can be seen in the above section, Xfce is pretty lightweight, though it has increased in RAM a little since previous version, it still is lightweight enough to run on most common hardware, including older ones.

COMMENTS (beta 4)

?
Add your comment here...

More In Linux