XFCE 4.6: lean, usable, appealing.

It’s been quite a while… Apart from some short-term distractions (like playing with KDE2 for a short amount of time), I have been using the XFCE desktop pretty much ever since the early days of its 3.x incarnation, these days mainly looking at it as the thing it initially was intended to be: a fully-fledged open-source clone of the CDE desktop for use with operating systems like GNU/Linux. Given I had some of my first Unix experiences ever on an old HP-UX and Solaris later on, this desktop felt like home immediately. A lot of work has been done ever since, and at the very least in its default configuration, most of the CDE look-and-feel (most notable in terms of the panel appearance) has obviously vanished from the XFCE environment, and a lot of new features, components and applications have made their way into the environment. Even though eventually not being that much “lightweight” anymore, XFCE still feels a little more an everyday power tool, less filled with toys and gimmicks and eye candy to be found in the “other two major Linux/Unix desktops” these days, more than ever being a work horse to just be there, to not get into your way, to not waste resources all too much on your system (yes, even in days of multi-core processors and high-performance consumer machines, as soon as you start doing serious Java development on a notebook, resources still do matter… ;) ), just letting you do what you’re up to. Today, following a couple of release candidates, XFCE 4.6 has finally made it to a broader public, ending quite a long development cycle, surely once again worth taking a closer look. And I am looking forward to things to come.

So… Congratulations folks, good job once more… Waiting for it to make its way into Xubuntu and, perhaps, also into OpenSolaris repositories one day – the latter one would be rather nice indeed, not just as a reminiscence of old CDE days (which also is not around anymore in OpenSolaris…). While waiting, the official release note is here, and the visual tour also is quite a good starting point for having a closer look.

Linux, developers and users…

Ralf has literally been asking for a flame war writing about “Why aren’t we all using Linux?”. Since I’m also a GNU/Linux enthusiast and administrator of Windows XP desktop machines, since I also used to help selling computers with both GNU/Linux and Windows earlier in my life, just a few thoughts on that if you dare to read on… :)

Read more “Linux, developers and users…”

Crashing into Xen

Well that’s what I call extensive… HowToForge has an excellent article on getting Cambrigde’s Xen Virtual Machine Monitor installed and running on Debian GNU/Linux or recent versions of Ubuntu. Some weeks earlier I saw a demo of Xen running off a live cd provided by some German magazine (guess it must have been FreeX) and was kinda impressed seeing a virtual Debian host same as a NetBSD installation booting up within an already running Debian host system. Perhaps this finally is a good way of getting some minor servers consolidated at work without having to spend money on something like VMWare…

Eine Frage der Frage

Mittlerweile seit einiger Zeit bin ich im deutschen Team von Ubuntu Linux gelistet als jemand, der bei Fragen zu Installation, Konfiguration, Einsatz der Distribution jederzeit gern zur Verfügung steht. Als jemand, der ich selbst eher Nutzer denn Entwickler bin und vermutlich auch mittelfristig bleiben werde, sehe ich darin eine der wenigen Möglichkeiten für mich, in der Community, deren Software ich letztlich selbst tagtäglich nutze, zumindest ein klein wenig mitzuwirken. Daß sich Ubuntu steigender Beliebtheit erfreut, zeigt insofern auch die wachsende Zahl von Mails in meinem Briefkasten von Menschen, die bei diesem oder jenem technischen Problem Hilfe suchen…

Grundsätzlich freue ich mich immer, Mails dieser Art zu beantworten, und werde auch, soweit irgend möglich, jederzeit gern mit Informationen, Erklärungen und Tips dienen, die hoffentlich von Nutzen sind. Nichtsdestotrotz, ein kurzer Tip an alle Hilfesuchenden: Allgemeine Fragen der Art “Meine TV-Karte liefert kein Bild!” oder “Ubuntu geht auf meinem Rechner nicht!” lassen sich aus dem Stand fast gar nicht beantworten. An diesem Punkt sind alle zusätzlichen Informationen hilfreich, die beschreiben,

  • welcher Art Euer Problem genau ist (“Die Anwendung XYZ stürzt ab, wenn ich auf diesen oder jenen Schalter klicke”)
  • welche Hardware konkret in Eurem System Ärger verursacht (“SoundBlaster Live! auf einem nForce2 – Board”)
  • inwieweit Ihr schon selbst nach Lösungen gesucht habt (“Google und www.ubuntuusers.de haben kein wirkliches Ergebnis gebracht”).

Ich werde generell jede diesbezügliche Mail, die in meiner Inbox landet, beantworten, so schnell ich kann. Je präziser diese formuliert ist, desto schneller werde ich Euch wohl auch mit hilfreichen Tips dienen können. ;)