Congratulations Xfce

Last night I caught wind of the Xfce 4.6 alpha (codenamed Pinkie). Congratulations guys, it looks like its shaping up to be a fine release.

Why blog about this (other than its awesomeness)? Well one bit I did notice was that they have a gconf alternative called xfconf, and of course unlike our current gconf it is entirely dbus based. And, on hearing a suggestion, a rumor, a murmur that GNOME is all about the people and the community… I think it would be cool if we could work with the Xfce guys on this one. I mean their project uses GObject, dbus and has the same goal, right? I’m told we want an ORBitless desktop. So whats stopping us from sharing this part of our desktop?

If you see technical limitations of their system (I haven’t looked, I assume sanity and beauty), instead of a rant about it here why not go forth and help them out? Community, community, community.

Of course it could be that dconf or gconf-dbus (our 2 non-mainline gconf-orbit replacements) would be a good fit for Xfce too.

Heres to a *conf-dbus for GNOME 2.26.

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18 Responses to “Congratulations Xfce”

  1. John Carr says:

    Rants and hate on a postcard to the usual spam bucket. K thx. I’m sure there will be some, I mean haters are equal members of the community too.

  2. Alexander Larsson says:

    desrts dconf and GSettings seems like a better approach.

  3. Stephan Arts says:

    Well, when looking at the source-code for dconf. The features and usability of dconf and xfconf are not far apart. Except for different naming-conventions and ‘schema’ support in dconf to enforce property-naming.

    I think you can say they are pretty simmilar.

  4. suka says:

    Is dconf actively developed nowadays? When will it be ready?

  5. Jasper says:

    We will certainly be looking at switching when dconf is released. We have a much longer and unfortunately less predictable release cycle than GNOME, but we are interested in not duplicating too much. Some of it may be hard to avoid because of different goals or ideas.

  6. Rob J. Caskey says:

    John, apparently you failed to notice. Beginning your project with K G or X means that you are doing the equivalent of tattooing something across your face. “I can do better than all you idiots, these are my friends, this is our sandbox. You losers get out of the way.”

  7. Stephan Arts says:

    Jasper: you have noticed dconf hasn’t seen a commit in 9 months, have you?

  8. Jasper says:

    Hi Stephan. You’re right, but I’m sure it can pick up steam quickly if one or more GNOME developers decide to spend some time on it.

    What I actually meant to say is that we are always willing to consider alternatives, if they are real alternatives (i.e. released software). We’re not really in a position where we can afford to use external components that are too much in flux.

    On the other hand, yeah, sometimes it’s easier (in the short run) to do something ourselves than to work with other people. And — hello Rob — it _is_ our sandbox after all.

  9. John Carr says:

    Hi Jasper, Stephan. Just to make sure my post was clear: I think that unless someone picks up dconf/gconf-dbus now and starts running with it really really fast, GNOME should think about just using Xfconf. And I hope that if they do pick up something other than Xfconf, its for a reason other than the “Xf” in the name.

  10. Stephan Arts says:

    We could always consider renaming the little beast ;-)

  11. Peter says:

    GConf-dbus is part of the gnome mobile release so that can’t be dead. See post here and follow download link for latest release

  12. Like, xdconf? (like other x-desktop stuff on

  13. John Carr says:

    @Peter, (based on current chatter in #gnome-hackers) gconf-dbus is considered a work around-ish hack for GNOME Mobile (where legacy is less of an issue). It is not a solution.

  14. Benjamin Otte says:

    The biggest problem with dconf as far as I can see it is that it’s done by a chronical perfectionist. So it will be ready when either there is nothing to complain about anymore (and that includes doing perfect locking over NFS) or when someone else just ships it.

  15. Hey John, thanks for the congrats, and also thanks for being positive about xfconf. I’ve been avoiding reading review sites because I’d rather not raise my blood pressure reading things like “ZOMG xfce has a registry now thats so lame!!111″ and “they wrote their own gconf thats so stupid!!!11one” etc.

    I of course looked at dconf/GSettings (among many other things) before writing xfconf, but, as others have noted, I wanted something ready that we could use in a reasonable amount of time. I also wanted something simpler, without requiring schema (though I’ve since come to think better of them in many respects). Of course, xfconf has grown beyond the “little simple centralised config system” I first envisioned, but it’s still decently small.

    Anyhow, I’d be thrilled to help sharing it with the GNOME community were anyone interested. It could still use a lot of work and a lot of optimisation… I didn’t really know anything about configuration management before I started, and I’m sure that shows in both the design and implementation.

    For the record, I was considering xfconf to be more of a temporary solution until dconf/GSettings (or maybe something else) had worked itself out, but it’d be cool to see xfconf get a bit more use if people find it worthy.

    And as Stephan says, we can certainly change the name to help quell NIH syndrome ^_~.

  16. Snark says:

    Here is a very helpful link :

    (yes, I did consider adding the possibility for xfconf in ekiga)

  17. [...] on news sites and forums have been quite mixed (as expected) we surprisingly received some very positive feedback from GNOME for xfconf. To me this gives proof that we did the right thing for 4.6. When we discussed the [...]