In the last few months I’ve seen several questions around Xfce in Fedora, so I thought I would share some thoughts around versions and other questions related to Fedora’s Xfce efforts. Note that I am only one of several maintainers of Fedora Xfce packages, so these thoughts are my own (Although I think my co-maintainers share them too).
The current stable released version of Xfce is 4.10, which was released in April of 2012. A rough plan was made for a 4.12 release, but Xfce is an all volunteer project (as far as I know, no one is paid to work on it full time), so timelines have slipped. There’s a number of components with 4.11 development releases out, but currently no hard plan for a 4.12 release. There are also from time to time 4.10.x bugfix releases for various components and plugins.
Several people have asked why we don’t land the Xfce 4.11 builds in rawhide. The problem is that since there’s no timeline for 4.12 to be released, we could easily end up shipping those in the next stable Fedora release (Fedora releases branch off rawhide). While in general these builds work fine, they still aren’t good to ship out in a stable release. Since these are unstable development releases, Xfce developers could change the way the interface works, drop or add new functionality or otherwise make end user visible changes. While these are fine between Fedora releases (people set aside time and realize that they are going to have to learn the new setup), they would not be acceptable to change in a existing stable release. This sort of thing is an excellent use for the Fedora copr system, and indeed we have a 4.11 copr ready and waiting for those willing to use it.
I’ve also seen from time to time lately people saying that “Xfce is dead”. This is completely untrue. There’s still a fair bit of development going on. There’s bugfixes, new releases and lists activity. True there’s not a 4.12 release in sight yet, but I’m not sure thats really such a bad thing.
The Fedora Xfce spin is of course alive and well. We did have to finally give up on limiting to 700MB size with Fedora 21. It was just too difficult to trim things and have a good experience. We re-targeted for 1GB usb, which hopefully most everyone can find these days.
Xfce in EPEL continues to be around for EPEL users: 4.6 in EPEL5, 4.8 in EPEL6 and 4.10 in EPEL7.
There have also been some questions around Xfce and HIDPI displays. The support isn’t ideal at all, but Xfce an work fine with some tweaking on a HIDPI display. Here (on a 3200×1800 display) I adjust the dpi in Settings -> appearance -> fonts. This doesn’t get set completely right on login (sometimes some autostarted apps don’t see the change and need to be restarted). Also, you get very small window decorations (hard to resize windows). Otherwise it looks fine and works well. Ideally once Xfce goes to gtk3 they can take advantage of the HIDPI support there.