Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for UNIX-like operating systems designed to run fine on minimal system resources ie (small memory footprint and CPU usage) while being visually appealing and user friendly.

The Xfce desktop was developed in 1996 as an extension of the UNIX Common Desktop Environment (CDE) using the XForms graphical toolkit.

Over the years, Xfce has been rewritten and no longer uses code from XForms or CDE, but it has remained a solid lightweight graphical desktop for the Linux world.

The latest release of Xfce Desktop Environment is Xfce 4.16 release released on 22nd December 2020.

Xfce features/components.

Xfce Desktop Environment doesn’t have lots of fancy features. The following are the features/components of Xfce Desktop Environment.

  • Display Manager – Xfce display manager is called LightDM.
  • File Manager – called Thunar.
  • Favorites bar – A single icon on the left of the panel that displays favorites, recent applications and application menu.
  • Panels – A single panel located on the top of the window.
  • System Tray – A set of icons on the right side of the panel.
  • Windows Manager – The specialized Xfwm, which utilizes its own compositor manager.

Installation of Xfce Desktop Environment on Rocky Linux 8

In our previous article, we looked at the installation of KDE Desktop Environment on Rocky Linux 8.In this article we will discuss the installation of Xfce Desktop Environment on Rocky Linux 8.

With the basics on Xfce Desktop environment and its amazing set of features, let us turn our attention to step-by-step installation of Xfce Desktop Environment on Rocky Linux 8.

Step 1 : Update your system.

On your terminal and as root run the command to update your Linux System.

sudo dnf update

Step 2 : Install & Enable EPEL Repository

EPEL (Extra Package for Enterprise Linux ) packages allows you to use Centos high quality packages maintained on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and its compatible derivatives.

Run the command below to install latest EPEL packages.

sudo dnf install epel-release

output of the command command is as seen in the screenshot below.

From the output , notice EPEL repo is already installed on my system. your output should however look like this.

The command below shows available package groups available for installation on your system.

sudo dnf --enablerepo=epel group

Command output to show available package groups available to be installed.

Step 3 : Enable Power tools repository.

Power tools repository allows administrators to use the standard Linux package management tools to deploy and maintain tools on Linux systems.

The command to enable packages from power tools repo is as shown below.

sudo dnf config-manager --set-enabled powertools

The command above has no output, but to check whether power tools are enabled, run the command below.

sudo dnf repolist

command output.

Step 4 : Check Xfce package in group.

Check availability of packages to install Xfce Desktop Environment in your Rocky Linux 8 system.

Execute the command below in your terminal to install Xfce packages on Rocky Linux 8:

sudo dnf group list

Command output screenshot:

You can check the version of Xfce Desktop Environment to be installed. This can be done by running the following command in your terminal.

sudo xfce4-panel --version

Sample command output:

Step 5 : Install Xfce package and Xorg display server.

Now that all is set , its time to install the Xfce Desktop Environment on Rocky Linux 8.

Open your favorite terminal session and execute below commands to install Xfce packages.

sudo dnf groupinstall "Xfce" "base-x"

Step 6 : Set default target system to graphical.

Enable your system to default to graphical on the next login by setting the default Desktop Environment to graphical.

The command to set-default graphical.

sudo systemctl set-default graphical

Verify if default target is set to graphical.

This is achieved by listing the units as shown below.

systemctl list-units

For minimal server installation you can just run below commands to start Desktop environment:

echo "exec /usr/bin/xfce4-session" >> ~/.xinitrc

Step 7 : Reboot your Linux system.

Reboot your system with the command below:

sudo systemctl reboot

In the login screen click the “settings” icon next to the “Sign In” button and select Xfce Session.

On login, your Xfce Desktop Environment looks this.

Enjoy using Xfce Desktop Environment on Rocky Linux. In the next article we will discuss  How To Install and Configure VNC Server on Rocky Linux 8.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.