GTK2-only Xfce 4.12 desktopPosted: 2021-06-30
I want to keep using a GTK2-based desktop environment on the upcoming Slackware 15.0 release. Long story short, I decided to stay with Xfce 4.12 and created my own repository of SlackBuild scripts that aim to build a GTK2-only desktop on -current. I have been running it for over a month on Slackware -current from 17 May 2021. Here’s my announcement in LQ. Of course, this comes with no warranty, so use at your own risk.
I used as a starting point the SlackBuilds from Slackware 14.2, but followed the template and overall style of SBo. I added some more plugins, the scripts of which were adapted from the ones at SBo. There are a few version differences, as well as, several new patches. If you decide to try this, you should not install anything from the
XFCE series of the stock Slackware install, and be careful if you install Xfce-related stuff from SBo, as it most likely is already there.
Structure of the repo
xfce/The core components of the Xfce desktop.
apps-and-plugins/Applications and plugins that complement Xfce.
art/Old icons, GTK2 and Xfwm themes.
borrowed/Dependencies that are available at SBo. I advise you to just install them from there, to avoid “overlapping” packages.
legacy/Programs at their last GTK2 versions or ones explicitly compiled to use GTK2, hence they have a -gtk2 suffix. Anything with a -gtk2 suffix in the name will conflict with its corresponding package from SBo. Here you will find Inkscape-gtk2 (0.92.5), file-roller-gtk2 (2.32.2), evince-gtk2 (2.32.0) and more.
To install it, I use sbopkg. Copy
/etc/sbopkg/repos.d, then sync. Place the build queue
/var/lib/sbopkg/queues and use it to build the packages in the correct order.
Panel volume mixer
I am not against PulseAudio and I keep PavuControl, however the PulseAudio panel plugin is gone, since it requires a new version of the panel. Instead, the repo includes
xfce4-volumed-pulse, so the volume can be controlled with the keyboard. There’s also the old
xfce4-mixer, but it does not ‘refresh’ the volume controls after I connect bluetooth headphones. A very nice substitute is PNMixer and this is what I have been using.
I made a patch for the xfce4-weather-plugin, to fix the broken API. Also, there is a patch for the xfce4-panel applications menu which reverts to the menu from 4.10. In Xfce 4.10, the icons in the menu could be made bigger. This functionality is gone in Xfce 4.12, so I wanted to bring it back. The patch is not applied by default, but if you want to give it a try, read the corresponding section in
xfce4-panel.SlackBuild together with the links and uncomment this line:
patch -p1 -i $CWD/applicationsmenu.patch
What to do next?
I am planning to further upgrade some components to their latest GTK2 versions and I may end up with a mixed 4.12/4.14 Xfce desktop. We’ll see. For now I am using the 4.12 release.