Whisker Menu

Just a little blurb this morning, I thought I’d mention something about Xfce that I’ve really liked in my using it this time around: Whisker Menu

To be perfectly clear, I never had any issues with the old style accordion menu but I noticed that the version of Xfce that is in the repositories for my distro had something called “Whisker Menu” included.

Slab menu

One of the things I have always liked about the Cinnamon Desktop Environment from the folks at Linux Mint was the flexible and modern slab-style menu. You could say that Microsoft invented this approach back when they released Windows XP, and you’d probably be right, but the execution of this approach has always been better elsewhere, like in the Linux world.

I flip around what side the categories are on. Deal.

I flip around what side the categories are on. Deal.

Anyway, the Mint devs did a great job with the menu in their Cinnamon environment, so I was really intrigued when I ran across a new menu plugin for Xfce.

Whisker Menu is a slab style menu, and it’s every bit as flexible and usable as Cinnamon’s.

I like the way it looks, and it’s snappy and responsive as well. I’m able to customize what appears on it and how, and I can even set on which side I prefer the application categories to appear, which is a nice touch of flexibility.

Give it a try!

I wasn’t going to write a full Xfce review here today or anything. I just figured I’d point out something new (to me) in Xfce these days that caught my attention. I’ve definitely been appreciating finding some good elements of application and UI design lately (when in so many other circles those things are few and far between).

So, if you’re an Xfce user and haven’t played around with Whisker Menu, give it a try! And if you’re not an Xfce user, and the now-antiquated feeling accordion menu isn’t your thing, this is probably worth a look for you. If it’s not included in your repositories, you’ll probably need to add the ppa, but otherwise, all you have to do is right-click on your panel and select “add to panel” and if it’s an option, you can put it wherever you want it.


– Trent

Clock Configuration

People become accustomed to seeing certain information displayed in their panels, and one of those is always a clock of some kind.

I like to configure that to my preference in whichever GUI I’m using in Linux, be it Fluxbox, Cinnamon, Xfce, or whatever.

A lot of times the default options available don’t have what I prefer, but nearly all Linux-friendly window managers and desktop environments offer the opportunity to enter a “custom” string for how time and date are displayed, and that’s the subject of this little writeup.

Continue reading

Anatomy of a .desktop File

One of the beautiful things about Linux is that developers tend to be conscientious about the use of technical standards. Freedesktop.org maintains a wide series of standards for X Window System desktops, which apply to Gnome, KDE, LXDE and XFCE (I’m not sure whether Fluxbox implements these standards.) The standard for “desktop entries” is still technically a draft, but is generally accepted by the larger X community.

The .desktop file fills two primary functions: first, it informs the desktop environment how the file is to be handled by the desktop environment with regard to menu placement, display, environmental variables, and similar. In this function, it resides globally in /usr/share/applications/ and for specific users in $HOME/.local/applications. The second function is the direct shortcut on the desktop itself. In this function, it resides in $HOME/Desktop. The same file fills both functions, so if you want to have an application both in the menu and on your desktop, you’ll need to put the .desktop file in two places. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Continue reading