Defindit Docs and Howto Home

This page last modified: Feb 06 2007
title:XFCE setup and tips
description:Some hints for working with the XFCE desktop windowing system.

How to remove components

Based on recommendations from Xerverius:

"Well, it's recommended to keep xfwm4 running and xfce-mcs-manager for
the xsettings, but everything else can be killed (xfce4-panel,
xfdesktop, Thunar)"

I started xfce the usual way (more on that later). Run a terminal, and
using either ps or top find the process id of the processes you want to
remove from your xfce setup. (*See the top footnote.)

If you kill all three you will not have a way to run new programs (all
three being: xfce4-panel, xfdesktop, Thunar). I kept the panel since
there are some things there I feel like I need. I got rid of xfdesktop
and Thunar, because I keep my windows maximized and I used the shell
for copy, rename (mv), and file listings (ls).

After killing those processes, close any applications that you don't
want xfce to automatically open when you login in. Exit xfce and check
the box to save the session. Now, when you login xfdesktop and Thunar
will not be started. 

I suspect that Thunar can be run as a normal application, but I
haven't tried that. Since I'm a long time KDE guy, I tend to run
Konqueror when I need "desktop" features (pretty rare; I like file
icons when I'm moving my photos around. The preview icons are handy.)

Disabling xfdesktop and Thunar saves some RAM, and may even make the
start up a tiny bit faster. I've got a machine with only 256Mb of RAM,
so saving a couple dozen Mb (it seems to save around 20Mb of RSS) may
keep my poor machine from swapping if I have the temerity to launch
Firefox, Thunderbird, four terminal sessions, an editor, a couple of
httpd's, ssh, and nfs. Running Open Office with all those apps open
will make the machine swap (generally not too bad, but it does swap).

This procedure is a lot of work given the reasonable price of RAM, but
it may help someone trying to run in a tiny memory space.

* Try this trick with top: while top is running enter a "M" (capital
M, no need to press enter after pressing M). This makes top sort by
memory. You can see which processes are using the most RAM. It sorts
by %mem, which seems to more or less correspond to RSS which is RAM in
use by the applications. SHR is RAM also in use, but is shared (heaven
only knows what the RAM is shared with, but the implication is that
SHR memory is being used by more than one app). VSS or VIRT is extra
memory that the application has reserved but is not currently
using. Note the shocking large amount of VSS that X windows has