[xstreamos-discuss] xfce desktop?

Valrhona valrhona at gmail.com
Thu Aug 7 13:49:00 CEST 2014

Adobe appears to have archived older versions of Flash Player. The one
I mention for Solaris can be downloaded here:

On Thu, Aug 7, 2014 at 7:43 AM, Valrhona <valrhona at gmail.com> wrote:
> Thank you again for all of your hard work in making this distribution.
> I have a few more notes for you:
> 1. Audio: it turns out that after rebooting, it can work. I still
> can't find the volume control anywhere, but the internal sound card on
> my Dell Workstation gets autodetected, and I can listen to sound.
> I also have a dedicated headphone amplifier, that connects through USB
> (I don't know off-hand which USB chipset and DAC are in inside, but
> it's called the Fubar IV from Firestone audio). It works without a
> driver on all operating systems I have tried: Windows, Linux (various)
> and OpenIndiana 151a7. It does not work well on XStreamOS, with some
> periodic clicking and oscillations, even after reboot. If I take it
> out, I need to reboot in order for the internal audio to be
> recognized.
> But other than the UI issue (can't find any sound controls), after
> rebooting a few times, the audio works reliably.
> 2. Flash: I am using version If I recall correctly, the
> version in XStreamOS is based on Flash 10. The issue is that, I think,
> Adobe moved more stages of the video rendering pipeline into the GPU
> for hardware acceleration between version 10 and version 11, so it
> would be good to have the more modern flashplayer. At present, the
> video gets a little choppy when I run it fullscreen (which doesn't
> happen with VLC player, so I think it is the flashplayer version).
> That being said, the version you have in there is quite stable. I
> watched several hours of video without a crash. But then after a
> reboot, Firefox kept crashing and wouldn't start any video. Until
> another couple of reboots, and then everything was okay again. So it's
> really finicky. Either it is stable for hours, or videos won't play at
> all.
> 3. DVD: I have a slot-loading slim DVD player in my machine, and don't
> have a spare (and rarely use the DVD drive), so it might be a while
> before I can test it directly.
> 4. XFCE: I agree that there probably are not enough resources to
> support more than one desktop. But the LXDE as implemented right now
> is too rough for non-experts to use. Lots of things are missing:
> volume control, consistent ability to edit menus, which applications
> show up (if you want to add a terminal to the menu system, it's
> different than the one that is on the Cairo dock, etc. etc.). I think
> this is something that we computer nerds kind of forget about, which
> is making sure the UI works and is polished and documented. I want to
> set up XStreamOS (i.e. a clean Illumos distribution) for some non-UNIX
> users, to just get them started, and right now the LXDE just isn't
> easy enough to work with that I can give it to someone else.
> My personal feeling, and it's just a feeling, is that XFCE is a bit
> easier to navigate, and with a couple of tools (e.g. alacarte), the
> user can set things up easily, find all of the relevant applications,
> and it isn't too hard to get working. With LXDE you have separate
> editors for the menu and for the dock, and they don't have the same
> access. Basic things are missing (like volume control), and you have
> to drop down to the command-line (which of course I prefer, but not
> easy for newbies) to get a number of things working, because the icons
> never show up in the menu, and you can't see them when you want to add
> to the menus, either.
> According to distrowatch (I think), about twice as many people use
> XFCE as LXDE, if I read the numbers correctly. It's the choice for
> Linux Mint XFCE, Xubuntu, Tribblix... basically the only common
> denominator. GNOME 2 is dead, MATE is a Mint fork that exists only
> within that distribution, GNOME 3 is huge and unwieldy, Cinnamon is
> again Mint-specific, Enlightenment is an interesting concept but not
> fully implemented. That leaves XFCE, KDE and LXDE; KDE I have not seen
> anywhere in the Illumos world, leaving XFCE and LXDE. pcmanfm runs
> just fine, and I prefer it over Thunar (faster, and has tabs, which
> Thunar doesn't). There are various XFCE components that installed
> themselves when I added that package, and can be found in the LXDE
> menus, but not in any uniform fashion. Given that Tribblix has XFCE
> running just fine, I don't see any showstopper. So I think if you
> support that, you have a better chance of people feeling comfortable
> trying it out coming from Linux (either Mint XFCE or Xubuntu).
> 5. Have you looked into the pkgsrc repositories? There is a lot of
> stuff there, and Jonathan Perkins got it working for Illumos. I have
> used it on OmniOS just fine. Would this interfere with your version of
> pkg?
> Peter
> On Wed, Aug 6, 2014 at 8:57 AM, Gabriele Bulfon
> <gabriele.bulfon at sonicle.com> wrote:
>> First of all, thanks a lot for all the feedback you're giving us.
>> It's of great value.
>> I'll try to answer all your questions:
>> - Audio: we still have to figure out how to have rbac allow console users to
>> access
>> the audio devices (which should be a basic setting on illumos, but still
>> don't know why
>> it's not doing it)
>> So, we have temporarily added an svc to setup permissions on audio devs,
>> this should have
>> done his work already, on pkg update, but maybe something in between
>> replaced permissions
>> again.
>> Just run once : pfexec svcadm enable
>> svc:/application/desktop-audio/audio-permissions
>> - Flash: The flash version is old, because newer ones seemed very unstable,
>> but if you can
>> help us find one that works better, we will absolutely update it
>> - VB Ext Pack: We will take a look at the problem
>> - USB Stick: We will take a look at the problem
>> - DVD: Let us know if the DVD problem was caused by your drive
>> - Firefox two-factor auth: we will take a look at it
>> - LXDE vs XFCE: We mainly started building the desktop with XFCE, then we
>> encountered
>> found LXDE looked more modern and promising, so we switched very early.
>> That's why you find xfce packages already available on our repo.
>> There must be a simple way to let xfce run instead of lxde, I will take a
>> look ant let you
>> know if it's possible.
>> Actually, we wouldn't like to end up having "every possible window manager,
>> session manager,
>> login manager" and allow users to select its own.
>> This would lead to a non focused desktop, with different problems coming
>> from different parts.
>> So we would like to choose a fixed number of components building the
>> desktop, than concentrate
>> on applications.
>> We will check back xfce, anyway.
>> Thanks again, let us know your experience when you go on checking XStream
>> Desktop.
>> Gabriele.
>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Da: Valrhona <valrhona at gmail.com>
>> A: Gabriele Bulfon <gabriele.bulfon at sonicle.com>
>> 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:
>> VMrcExit=2.
>> 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
>> future.
>> 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.
>> Thanks!
>> Peter
>> On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 5:18 AM, Valrhona <valrhona at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> 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
>>> distribution!
>>> On Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 4:21 AM, Gabriele Bulfon
>>> <gabriele.bulfon at sonicle.com> wrote:
>>>> Please let us know the features you miss from xfce, and we may reconsider
>>>> having it work again
>>>> Thanks a lot!
>>>> Gabriele.
>>>> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>> Da: Valrhona <valrhona at gmail.com>
>>>> 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!
>>>> Peter
>>>> On Tue, Jul 15, 2014 at 4:31 PM, Valrhona <valrhona at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> 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!
>>>>> Peter
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> XStreamOS-discuss mailing list
>>>> XStreamOS-discuss at lists.sonicle.com
>>>> http://lists.sonicle.com/mailman/listinfo/xstreamos-discuss

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