For the past week to two weeks I’ve done something I had’t done in years – I switched my default desktop environment in my GDM login screen. I’ve been logging into Xfce instead of my usual Gnome. There are basically three reasons why I’m loving Xfce over Gnome.
First of all, I love the theme. I know it’s just Bluecurve, Redhat’s theme, for the Window manager, but I just love how it looks compared to Gnome. I can’t really explain it, but there’s something about the share of blue they’ve chosen and the way it blends with the White of the letters and min, max, close buttons that’s very, very pleasing to my eye. It’s definitely one of those subjective things and I’m sure there are others who will disagree with me, but I think it’s beautiful. There’s something about the shades of blue they use that I just love. (For the curious, the theme of the desktop environment is Clearlooks, their newest theme, but that’s not available as a theme for the Window Manager)
The second thing I love about it, is the right-click background menu. This is something I’ve always loved since I first encountered it on WindowMaker and then on Fluxbox. No matter where I am on the desktop, I don’t need to go to some corner to find a “program” or “start” menu. I can just right-click anywhere. Sometimes, as in the screenshot below, it’s pretty close to the “program” menu anyway. But if the desktop can be seen, it can be a lot faster.
Finally, there’s one thing I love that can’t really be shown in a screenshot – changing desktops using the mouse scroll wheel. Just like being able to deploy the menu anywhere on the desktop, it’s often very fast to juse scroll the mouse wheel on an exposed piece of desktop and swtich from on to another. If you have all your desktops clear it’s very convenient. And usually I just put my mouse somewhere on the bottom of the left screen and except for the narrow little bar with the menu and logout buttons, I’m sure to be on desktop and I can scroll from desktop to desktop. And it’s a lot faster to scroll from 1 to 4 than to go to spot number four in the desktop switcher and click.
Of course, there are a few little things missing. For example, as far as I know, there isn’t a beagle search bar for Xfce. Perhaps there’s a tracker applet, but I don’t use tracker. I think I’m sticking with Xfce until KDE 4.1 comes out and I check it out.