Saturday, June 4, 2011

xfce4 themes - application icons examples

Here is a default Xfce theme (Tango) from a Debian GNU / Linux install:



...and the next example (below) is the set of icons named GNOME:



The icons represent the same things, you are just toggling between Tango and GNOME theme and you should be able to observe the difference.

The 'applets-screenshooter' icon is an easy example to use to test which theme you have active.

That icon is usually used on my desktop and laptop for the following command:

/usr/bin/xfce4-screenshooter -w -d 2 -o /usr/bin/gimp

and given a shortcut key of AltGr+Print


Window manager themes and Xfce:

The package xfwm4-themes will install themes for the Window manager in


/usr/share/themes/Crux/xfwm4/

...and similar locations


Notes and Further Reading:

The package gtk2-engines is a must if you want some alternative themes in Xfce.
Crux, formerly known as the Eazel engine;
... is included in gtk2-engines

There are some other packages with similar names, that you might also explore.

By default a Debian Xfce desktop will install the package gtk2-engines-xfce which has some working, but basic looking themes.

On any new system of mine I will execute the following after completing the initial install:

apt-get install gtk2-engines gtk2-engines-nodoka
apt-get install xfwm4-themes gnome-icon-theme

None of the above installs bring in anything too heavy as there are few dependencies :)

If you are choosing to use gnome-icon-theme instead of the default tango-icon-theme, then you could also clean up 10 megs of space by executing:

dpkg --purge tango-icon-theme

The gtk2-engines-nodoka package brings themes from Fedora.
Nodoka-Rounded is a theme which freshens up my Xfce desktop nicely :)

The xfce4-panel package, that would normally be included on your system, contains a simple clock which is perfectly usable*:


( Note: If you have your laptop clock set to UTC then getting above clock to show local time is not so straightforward and you might prefer the Orage digital clock on your panel in that case )

The xfce4-mixer package will give you a sound control, which you can add to your panel:


On a laptop I usually set 'PCM' as the control, whose setting will be displayed graphically (blue curved bars):

"Xfce mixer application"

This is the frontend for mixer settings delivered together with the Xfce4 desktop environment. It does the same jobs other mixer frontends do but is integrated into the Xfce4 desktop as a plugin for the Xfce4 main panel.

It uses GStreamer as a backend.

Xfce plugins - do I really all that are installed?

Here is a list from a long standing desktop:


Here is a list from a fresh install:


Seems a little counter intuitive to have a fresh install showing a longer list, however the first (shorter) list, was from an install that did not use meta packages during installation.


apt-get install xfce4-appfinder

...is a command worth running, if you are interested enough to read up and explore the different ways, of adding launchers to your 'Customizable panel' on the Xfce desktop.


Xfce launchers and % placeholders:

%u is a useful placeholder, here are a couple of examples:

  • /usr/bin/wget "%u"
  • /usr/bin/curl -o curl.out "%u"
... and some more complex examples ...

/usr/bin/curl -o curl.out --show-error --connect-timeout 35 --max-time 120 "%u"

/usr/bin/curl -o curl.out --show-error --connect-timeout 35 --max-filesize 4096000 --max-time 120 "%u" 


Xfce - Task list - Window list - Icon box:

Icon box plugin is included in Xfce without having to add any additional package.

Doing 'Add to Panel' then 'Icon box' gives something clean and minimal for window switching.


Notes and install command list:

Recapping the apt-get and dpkg commands below:
  • apt-get install gtk2-engines gtk2-engines-nodoka
  • apt-get install xfwm4-themes gnome-icon-theme
  • dpkg --purge tango-icon-theme
  • Blueish: apt-get install gnome-brave-icon-theme
  • Libreoffice: apt-get install libreoffice-style-galaxy

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