XFCE: What is it and how is it installed on DEBIAN 10 and MX-Linux 19?

XFCE: What is it and how is it installed on DEBIAN 10 and MX-Linux 19?

XFCE: What is it and how is it installed on DEBIAN 10 and MX-Linux 19?

On XFCE Desktop Environment from time to time, we also comment on their latest news (4.16, 4.14, 4.12, among others), or on some Theme striking for himself, or a interesting app for said Desktop Environment.

In this post we will focus especially on What is it? y How do you install?. Emphasizing, of course, the current DEBIAN GNU / Linux meta-distribution, in its most recent version, number 10, code name Buster. Which is also currently the basis for the Distro MX-Linux 19 (Ugly Duckling).

XFCE: Installation

According to your Community:

"XFCE is a lightweight desktop environment for UNIX-like systems. Its goal is to be fast and use few system resources, while remaining visually attractive and easy to use.". XFCE Community (www.xfce.org)

In addition, they highlight that:

"XFCE embodies the traditional UNIX philosophy of modularity and reusability. It is made up of a series of applications that provide all the functionality that you can expect from a modern desktop environment. They are packaged separately and can be chosen from the available packages to create an optimal personal environment for work". XFCE Community (www.xfce.org)

XFCE: All about XFCE

All about XFCE


Among the most important that can be highlighted from this Desktop Environment we can mention the following points:

  • The project on XFCE was started during year 1996 . Being its later stable branches released in the following years: 1998 (XFCE 2), 1999 (XFCE3) and 2003 (XFCE4).
  • Currently his last stable version is XFCE 4.14 and development version the version XFCE 4.16.
  • XFCE It is often seen as the ideal replacement for the old, but lightweight, simple and functional GNOME2, which was replaced by the modern but heavy, complex and robust GNOME3.
  • It owes its name, XFCE, because at the beginning it was based on the well-known XForms Common Enviroment. Currently, its initials are no longer related to anything, although it is affectively associated with the following English name: Cholesterol Free Desktop Environment (X Free Cholesterol Environment).
  • It's a Desktop Environment that despite the many years progressively evolves very slowly, probably due to small team of programmers and collaborators you have compared to GNOME and KDE Plasma. Which contrasts with its increasing fame and growth of its user community.
  • Maintains a standard basic appearance over time in order to stay simple to use and master, quick and easy to configure, as well as customizable and beautiful.
  • It is currently built on the GTK3 Toolkit.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • A solid track record historical.
  • Offers a excellent balance between speed, stability and configuration.
  • Widely used as Default Desktop Environment in many Distros.
  • Very customizable and lightweight, especially at the Panel and Desktop level through settings and widgets (goodies).
  • Native compatibility with GNOME applications because they both use GTK +. Although it can run very well KDE Plasma applications if it is installed in a minimal way with its necessary libraries, on the Operating System.


  • Simple application ecosystem but with good applications, although they are not usually very complex (advanced).
  • Small work team and little organizational support, but it has a large community of Users in full growth.
  • Doesn't support so many features like other medium Desktop Environments like Cinnamon or MATE, but it is extremely stable and very modest in resource usage.

To learn more You can visit its official website:

  1. Official website of the XFCE Project

Where can you find your Wiki, Documentation, Projects (Components and Applications), see its news and list of changes, among many other things. The following links are also available to supplement the information on XFCE:

  1. Simon's Secret Blog
  2. DEBIAN Wiki on XFCE
  3. Arch Wiki on XFCE

XFCE: Installation


In case one currently has a GNU / Linux DEBIAN 10 distribution (Buster) or others based on it, such as MX-Linux 19 (Ugly Duckling), the most recommended installation options are:

Using the Tasksel command via Graphical User Interface (GUI)

  • Run a Console or Terminal from the Desktop Environment
  • Run the command orders next:
apt update
apt install tasksel
tasksel install xfce-desktop --new-install
  • Continue until the end on Tasksel Guided Procedure (Task Selector).

Using the Tasksel command via the Command Line Interface (CLI)

  • Run a Console or Terminal using the Ctrl + F1 keys and start a super user root session.
  • Run the command orders next:
apt update
apt install tasksel
  • Select the XFCE Desktop Environment and any other utility or set of additional packages.
  • Continue until the end on guided procedure de Tasks (Task Selector).

Installing the minimum necessary packages directly via CLI

  • Run a Console or Terminal from the Desktop Environment or using the Ctrl + F1 keys and start a super user session root.
  • Run the command orders next:
apt update
apt install xfce4
  • Continue until the end on procedure guided by Apt Package Installer.

Extra or complementary actions

  • Execute actions of optimization and maintenance of the Operating System running the command orders following:
apt update; apt full-upgrade; apt install -f; dpkg --configure -a; apt-get autoremove; apt --fix-broken install; update-apt-xapian-index
localepurge; update-grub; update-grub2; aptitude clean; aptitude autoclean; apt-get autoremove; apt autoremove; apt purge; apt remove; apt --fix-broken install
  • Restart and login by selecting the Desktop Environment XFCE, in case of having more than one Desktop Environment installed and not having selected the Lightdm Login Manager.

Note: After testing the XFCE Desktop Environment installed, you can install the additional native apps and necessary plugins of the same, such as, for example:

apt install lightdm gtk3-engines-xfce xfce4-goodies xfce4-appmenu-plugin xfce4-calculator-plugin xfce4-eyes-plugin xfce4-hotcorner-plugin xfce4-indicator-plugin xfce4-mpc-plugin xfce4-sntray-plugin xfce4-statusnotifier-plugin xfce4-windowck-plugin xfce4-wmdock-plugin

For more additional information visit the official pages of DEBIAN y MX-Linux, or the DEBIAN Administrator's Manual online in its stable version.

And remember, this is the third post of a series about GNU / Linux Desktop Environments. The first was about GNOME, the second about KDE Plasma, and the following will be about Cinnamon, MATE, LXDE and lastly LXQT.

Generic image for article conclusions


We hope this "useful little post" about him «Entorno de Escritorio» known by the name of «XFCE», which is among the many existing, the most complete among the light ones and the third most preferred currently in the world of the «Distribuciones GNU/Linux», is of great interest and utility, for the entire «Comunidad de Software Libre y Código Abierto» and of great contribution to the diffusion of the wonderful, gigantic and growing ecosystem of applications of «GNU/Linux».

And for more information, always do not hesitate to visit any Online library as OpenLibra y jedit to read books (PDFs) on this topic or others knowledge areas. For now, if you liked this «publicación», don't stop sharing it with others, in your Favorite websites, channels, groups, or communities of social networks, preferably free and open as Mastodon, or secure and private like Telegram.

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