Two years on and Xfce 4.6 breaks cover
It’s been more than two years since its last release but today Xfce, one of the better open source desktop managers, has rolled out version 4.6. Proud of its reputation for speed and responsiveness, the developer team has spent months adding a little polish to the desktop and stripping away unnecessary baggage to keep Xfce fast.
The latest version has a host of new features and capabilities, including an overhauled sound mixer application, “out-of-the-box” suspend and hibernation, an improved panel and a revamped desktop menu.
Many of the changes, such as those on the panel, have been designed to consume fewer resources and enhance overall speed.
The rewritten Xfce4 Mixer now uses Gstreamer which makes support for multiple sound systems possible, and sports a more polished user interface. Users can manage several different sound cards as well as controlling the volume with the mouse scroll button through a new panel applet.
The Thunar file manager has also received its share of attention. He file manager can now respond to the forward and backward mouse buttons when used, and it allows users to set the desktop background from a context menu. Thunar now also displays a translucent icon for drives or volumes that are not mounted, to make them distinguishable from mounted ones. Support for encrypted devices is built in.
Most of the work appears to have gone into the configuration tools, however, with much tighter and more detailed settings options. For example, the mouse settings can be used to setup different mice connected to a system, which is useful in laptop setups. Display settings can also be set on a per-monitor basis for multi-headed setups while the settings manager has had a cleanup.
XFCE has always been pretty good at making the best of limited system resources but it often meant sacrificing a little of the richness of window managers such as Gnome or KDE. But with this release Xfce may just give the mainstream a run for their money.