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Nexus 5x running Xfce4
Nexus 5x running Xfce4

Xfce4 is a GTK-based desktop environment aiming to be fast and lightweight.


It works on most devices with a working display, and runs fine without hardware acceleration. Uses latest Xfce version packages from Alpine repo.


  • pmbootstrap init
  • User interface: xfce4
  • Extra packages: xf86-video-vesa mesa-egl
    • Add matchbox-keyboard[1] or corekeyboard [2] to get an on-screen keyboard

Note: As the on-screen keyboard is not displayed on demand automatically, it's best to add it to autostart.


  1. Follow the Display guide to change and fix display related issues.
  2. Add gvfs and thunar-volman for mounting drives and drive management.
  3. Change the scaling settings to 2x in Applications/Settings/Appearance/Settings/Window Scaling setting.
  4. Install lxdm to get restart options in power manager.
  5. Disable Compositor from Window Manager Tweaks in settings to get faster experience.

Better usability

Example configuration with CoreKeyboard running on Nexus 5x

The best way to use the Xfce will be in Horizontally. So do this step to get better usability from Xfce.

  • Rotate the display and touch to horizontal using Display guide.
  • In panel setting, change the mode to Deskbar, add wisker-menu and remove other plugins.
  • In FileManager settings, shortcut pane icon size to 48 px and enable Single Click in Behavior section.
  • Use CoreApps as they work best in Horizontal screens.
  • To hide the cursor, edit /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf: uncomment xserver-command=X and add -nocursor

Improving Touchscreen-Friendliness

Example configuration with matchbox-keyboard running on Galaxy SII

In Window Manager settings, changing the theme to Default-hdpi or Default-xhdpi will make window buttons and title bars larger. A font size of about 16 can work well with these themes.

In Panel settings, increasing panel height, and setting panels to hide Intelligently, will make them easier to interact with, without losing effective screen real estate.

This results in something like the right. The only obvious problem is the large, permanent, title bars.