Xubuntu Development Update September 2018

A week later than expected, it’s the September Xubuntu development update! The theme for August (and early September) has been visual improvements, with a few bug fixes tossed in for good measure. Check it out!


Bionic Beaver (18.04)

Bionic was pretty stable in August, with only one of our packages making it through the SRU process and into the hands of our users.

We’re currently looking to get these new releases and fixes into Bionic.

  • Catfish 1.4.6 (new release with numerous bug fixes and a much-improved thumbnailer)
  • Xfce Settings: Mouse acceleration is not configurable in Xubuntu 18.04 (LP: #1758023)

Cosmic Cuttlefish (18.10)

The following source package updates landed in Cosmic in August.


New Releases

Xfce had 3 new releases in August, featuring a variety of bug fixes and usability improvements.

Xfce Display Profiles (Preview)

Simon has been hard at work implementing a nifty new feature for the Xfce Display Settings: display profiles! This feature allows you to save and switch between various display setups, useful for users on the go or presenters. This hasn’t been merged into master yet, so the designs are not final.

The September Xubuntu development update features a powerful new feature for the display settings: display profiles.

Spacing Improvements

I’ve spent the last week submitting patches to the Xfce core applications, panel plugins, and Thunar plugins. My goal is to improve the overall look and feel of Xfce by improving the consistency of its preference dialogs. Below are a few before-and-after screenshots.

Descriptions are displayed for improved accessibility.
Some extra spacing makes the Settings Editor feel a bit lighter.
Using the sensors plugin becomes much easier with some breathing room.
Spacing and alignment freshen up the Timer plugin.
Thunar’s Preferences dialog needed minimal changes.
The Thunar Shares plugin looks a lot more professional with a tweaked layout.

I’ve based my work on the excellent GNOME 2 HIG Window Layout documentation. Xfce has long borrowed the design philosophies from this document (to varying degrees) and is once again benefiting from the well-written work.

Shimmer Project

Elementary Xfce Icon Theme

Xubuntu’s beloved icon theme has recently received a few significant updates. From build optimizations to new upstream icons, there’s a lot to unpack.

The theme has added a Makefile and build tool to convert the theme’s SVG sources to PNG. Xubuntu has included the PNG-building functionality for some time, and now it’s available for everyone. PNG-based themes are faster to load and generally crisper at various sizes. PNG optimization is included in the new build options. Optipng is now used to optimize each generated file, reducing the overall file size.

Updated icons coming from upstream this month include dialog-password, selection icons, graphics icons, as well as manila-colored folders. The manila folders are a sharp contrast from the longtime blue, but after using them for a few days, they’re actually pretty nice.

Other Updates

Mugshot 0.4.1

I released Mugshot 0.4.1 early last month with a number of bug fixes and code quality improvements. You can check out the release notes and find downloads here.


Ready to start giving back to your favorite open-source projects? Remember that there’s something for everyone, and you can get started quickly with the Xubuntu and Xfce contributor docs. If you don’t know where to start, join us at #xubuntu-devel on Freenode… we’ll point you in the right direction.