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I've been using Gnome and XFCE as my development environment for the last 2 years and randomly switch between the 2. For some reason I keep coming back to XFCE though. Maybe it's just because it's more responsive. Am I missing out on anything by giving up Gnome for good?

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maybe because Xface is a bit similar to KDE? :-P – Grzenio Aug 18 '09 at 18:15
I keep coming back to xfce too! There's just something about gnome that makes it less attractive. – hasen Aug 28 '09 at 2:20
@hasen And with the advent of Unity and Gnome 3, XFCE is one of the Gnome-looking-ish WMs with a sane interface. – Bojangles Aug 30 '11 at 13:54
up vote 5 down vote accepted

In my personal experience, there is just more eye candy available for Gnome. If you don't care about that sort of thing you aren't really missing out on much. XFCE is a bit better on resources though, and I'm a big fan of the right-click (context) menu navigation for apps and such.


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@Gareth, you killed my image :( – John T Aug 30 '11 at 13:43
the original you posted (here: is sadly broken, so this is the best I could find to restore it. Do you have the original image? – 8088 Aug 30 '11 at 13:44
@Gareth I can load that image fine, do you want me to reupload it? You may have connection problems with the tinypic servers. Edit: Thanks for all your hard work keeping these answers alive by the way! – John T Aug 30 '11 at 13:48
Thanks John. Very strange - I'm in China and some sites are blocked ( being a big one), but I'm always careful to use a few different VPNs (based in the US) just to ensure the image really is broken. – 8088 Aug 30 '11 at 13:49
Incidentally if I've done any others on tinypic that are now 'uglier', please ping me and I'll fix it! It was a weird VPN issue (across the several I use) - the price to pay for being in China, I guess! – 8088 Aug 30 '11 at 13:51

I do like Xfce a lot. Even on newer machines, it just feels more... snappy. (But this could just be conformation bias, I'm not sure.)

The biggest problem with it is that it doesn't have enough native apps to go with it. So I end up using a lot of GNOME or KDE apps. So right now, I'm using Xfwm on KDE 4. It is definitely faster than using KWin (especially with composite, although if you want cool effects, you should use Compiz).

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I use XFCE on a machine that I log into remotely. The bells and whistles present in Gnome seem to make it a tad unresponsive over a remote login, so I'm currently trying out XFCE instead. It's not my primary machine so I don't miss compiz or any of the eye-candy.

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I haven't seen any signficant FUNCTIONAL progress out of Gnome or KDE since their respective version 1.0's. Tabbed terminals are about the only thing I can think of that I use every day. In the meantime they've grown to require 200+ packages, litter my filesystem with insane amount of libraries and symlinks to them, and generally just eat resources.

All you need for WORK is virtual desktops/multi-monitor support, a quicklauncher (although a run box does just fine), and a task bar. The rest is distractions. Basic XFCE setup (or Fluxbox) does that very well. Gnome and KDE cannot do it anymore, their 'basics' are so extensive you actually need a beefy box to run your eyecandy. Less code==less blowups==faster.

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As a long time Fedora user, I go through an evaluation of Gnome, KDE and XFCE on a regular basis. Initially I was a happy camper with Gnome but the adoption of Metacity and virtual lockout of alternatives like Sawfish has pretty much removed Gnome from any serious consideration by me. I find myself partial to tabbed window management that flexible window managers like xfwm and sawfish provid. These days that means the B5 theme. KDE was my next choice after Gnome. But it wasn't long before the early (unpolished) KDE style drove me nuts and I "discovered" Xfce. While not as powerful and popular as KDE, Xfce worked for me. And it keeps getting better and better. Since I try out Gnome and KDE every six months or so I have most of the basic useful apps that they bring along with them and they run fine under Xfce. But the two biggest reasons for me to use Xfce are the B5 xfwm theme and the wonderful root context menu (which KDE lost with 4.*). They are the main reasons but more to the point Xfce just seems to work for me. It resonates.

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