[xstreamos-discuss] xfce desktop?

Gabriele Bulfon gabriele.bulfon at sonicle.com
Wed Aug 6 14:59:40 CEST 2014

About audio: probably you'll have first to disable, and then enable again the service.
Da: Valrhona
A: Gabriele Bulfon
Cc: xstreamos-discuss at lists.sonicle.com
Data: 28 luglio 2014 7.23.46 CEST
Oggetto: Re: [xstreamos-discuss] xfce desktop?
I managed to get a few more things working:
1. nVidia Quadro 295 NVS now driving dual displayport monitors: 30" at
2560x1600, and 27" at 2560x1440. The nVidia driver works great.
2. Got some Java programs working, specifically JabRef (for academic
references), but the colors are a little funny.
3. Installed and can run Linux Mint in VirtualBox 4.3.14.
4. can modify the application bar and the dock to get more programs to run, etc.
5. I could change the default application opening PDFs with Thunar
(after installing the xfce packages)
A number of things don't work:
1. Not sure how to enable audio, but can't get any sounds out of
anything. I can't find any volume control, VLC shows no installed
devices, and I get a warning from VirtualBox that there are no audio
devices installed.
2. The older version of flash bundled with firefox crashes often (e.g.
with YouTube) and gives errors on updating and doesn't work with many
major websites, e.g. facebook.
3. Cannot install the VirtualBox extension pack, which gives error
exit code 255: VBoxExtPackHelperApp: error: Invalid parameter:
Details: Result Code: NS_ERROR_FAILURE (0x80004005)
4. Trying to eject a USB stick causes pcmanfm to crash, and all file
windows disappear. It's easy to restart, but still not great behavior.
5. disks in my DVD drive are not recognized and do not automount. This
might just be a problem with my drive, though.
6. I can't get my password vault with two-factor authentication to
work with Firefox. I use LastPass and a YubiKey. This works fine on
every other Linux
6. Lots of small stuff with LXDE. editing the menus isn't very easy,
and some of the applications don't appear; but when you add items to
the Cairo-dock, you get more options for installed programs. Changing
the themes occasionally breaks the display, such that text doesn't
appear. Restarting / logging out have fixed this problem during the
times I tried it. This really isn't that close to be ready for anyone
who is not very, very comfortable with various forms of UNIX
Overall, I think this is really some very good progress toward a great
distribution. I like what you have done:
Emphasis on making a few modern packages work (firefox, vlc,
libreoffice), instead of trying to be all things to all people (e.g.
OpenIndiana) and have things that remain broken for months (I still
can't upgrade from 151a7, because that is the last version where
everything basically works). The problem with staying on an old
version, of course, is that you don't get any updates. And because you
have the applications packaged properly, there are no manual updates
to worry about there. This is a big improvement.
XStreamOS is a bit more mature than a lot of the smaller Illumos-based
distributions; I always get worried if a major piece of software is
basically an unpaid project of a single individual (Tribblix,
OpenSXCE) because there is no guarantee it will be around in the
Performance is overall quite good; the nfs client is excellent, and
the responsiveness I get from my OmniOS NFS server is great.
What I think would be really helpful going forward is just to get a
simple, easy desktop to standardize on, and I think XFCE is probably
the best choice now. It's widely used in a lot of distributions, and
comparatively simple and fast. There needs to be a bit of work making
sure things work, but going with XFCE 4.10 and Alacarte for menu
editing (menulibre just isn't working well, even on Linux Mint where
it should be) would be a big help. It's easy enough to set up, and
simple enough that the less expert can be taught to use it, if not
modify it, pretty easily. As we know, GNOME 2 is sadly dead (otherwise
I would recommend using it), GNOME 3 is a non-starter, Cinnamon / MATE
are too Mint-specific.
And perhaps most importantly, Peter Tribble has gotten XFCE to work
with his Tribblix distribution, so it clearly can be done.
Most of the rest of the hard work is already finished, in terms of 90%
of what I do on a daily basis: updated FireFox, VLC, OpenOffice,
modern nVidia driver. The last major bits are audio (see above), full
VirtualBox with extensions, and the most recent version of FlashPlayer
working, as it does on OpenIndiana 151a7, and with OpenSXCE (which
Martin Bochnig figured out, but I don't entirely understand).
I know there is always a big debate as to which is the best approach,
but given the size of the Ilumos community, particularly on the
desktop end, I wish everyone could come together and work on the same
distribution, because otherwise everything gets spread too thinly. All
of the important pieces have been figured out, and so we know
everything can actually work, and it's just a matter of getting it all
put together.
Congrats on such a great job that you all at Sonicle have done to get
so far, and close to a great distribution. If you could incorporate a
few of the other developments that others have already made work, I
think we finally will have a great usable desktop that not just
replaces but exceeds OpenSolaris.
On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 5:18 AM, Valrhona
The main issue is the convenience of settling upon a single desktop
environment (if possible) for all of my different systems. I use XFCE
as part of an official ubuntu distribution (Xubuntu), and in the Linux
Mint XFCE edition; and XFCE has already been implemented on Illumos
with Tribblix, so it should be possible to make it work in a
relatively straightforward manner. I am fine with GNOME 2, since that
is what I use with OpenIndiana and am accustomed to it, but it's a
dead-end path since the code is not being actively developed. XFCE is,
for lack of better reasons, what I decided was the easiest for me to
learn when I played with it; in my experience, LXDE and Enlightenment
were a bit less polished. All desktop environments can be
idiosyncratic, but I suppose I just know XFCE's best.
As for the XStreamOS implementation, I can't get the right programs to
open the right files; PDFs are opened in gimp, instead of Evince, and
I couldn't find in a few minutes of looking how to fix this. The
right-click behavior doesn't open a drop down menu, which must be
prompted by holding down the right mouse button. I couldn't find the
menu editor, etc. etc. I am sure there is nothing fundamental about
this, but I just fine XFCE easier and more intuitive, and it is more
widely distributed among other Unix and Linux distributions.
Those are just my thoughts, though more experienced users may
disagree. Thanks again for all of the important work on this
On Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 4:21 AM, Gabriele Bulfon
Please let us know the features you miss from xfce, and we may reconsider
having it work again
Thanks a lot!
Da: Valrhona
A: xstreamos-discuss at lists.sonicle.com
Data: 17 luglio 2014 9.53.59 CEST
Oggetto: Re: [xstreamos-discuss] xfce desktop?
To elaborate, I have downloaded the xfce package in the package
manager, but don't know how to activate it, or if it will work. Have
you guys tested this out?
I got a lot of other stuff working that I use regularly: Wine (with
Irfanview), LaTeX, Eclipse (though only 4.3.2 works, not 4.4),
VirtualBox, git. The biggest thing remaining is the desktop; if you
can get xfce working, then with all of the other hard work you have
done (updated Firefox, LibreOffice, VLC, NVIDIA, pcmanfm), I should be
able to switch over from OpenIndiana completely.
So I hope you might be able to take a look into this soon, since I am
definitely looking to make the switch as soon as I have a desktop I
can use every day. Thank you so much for all of your hard work! This
is really a great gift, once everything is working!
On Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 4:31 PM, Valrhona
Thanks for all of your hard work and updates. It's very exciting to
see you have a clean code base for an Illumos desktop, with so many of
the important applications working. I am used to using GNOME 2 (from
OpenIndiana) and XFCE on other platforms. I find the Cairo desktop a
bit simple; is there a way to get XFCE running on XStreamOS? That
would be a huge step forward for usability for me. Thank you!
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