Xubuntu Development Update December 2022

Time flies when you’re having fun. It’s the Xubuntu development update for December 2022! November was on track to be a quiet month for Xubuntu development. However, once-daily builds became available toward the end of the month, we were finally able to start publishing some changes. With a handful of updates and the introduction of PipeWire and Flatpak, November became a much more exciting month.

23.04 November New Additions

PipeWire replaces PulseAudio

During the 22.10 release cycle, Ubuntu and several flavors replaced PulseAudio with the new PipeWire multimedia system. PipeWire has been reported to improve many of users’ issues with PulseAudio, including high CPU usage and Bluetooth connection issues. Xubuntu 23.04 adds PipeWire, WirePlumber, and Bluetooth connection libraries.

The Firefox web browser is open and playing "lofi hip hop radio - beats to relax/study to" on YouTube. The Xfce PulseAudio Plugin is displayed on top showing volume levels and playback controls.
PipeWire arrives in Xubuntu. Most users won’t notice a difference since it’s a fully compatible drop-in replacement. Screenshot from Lofi Girl on YouTube.

Flatpak makes it easier for users to install apps

With the addition of the flatpak and gnome-software-plugin-flatpak packages, Xubuntu now supports the popular Flatpak packaging format. You can now easily install Flathub applications with just a couple of clicks. In fact, any .flatpakref or .flatpakrepo file is natively supported by GNOME Software.

23.04 November Package Updates

In November, Xubuntu started development with updates to our defaults and the latest development point releases from the Xfce 4.17 development series.

xubuntu-default-settings (23.04.0)

The latest xubuntu-default-settings package includes a handful of accessibility and usability improvements. The tooltip for the Whisker Menu now supports translations instead of always showing the English “Applications Menu”. .deb packages will now correctly open in GNOME Software instead of the Archive Manager. System tray icons will now use automatic sizing, making them consistent with the other panel plugins. And finally, the Xfce Terminal font size has been increased for better consistency and contrast.

The Xubuntu 23.04 desktop is displayed. The Xfce Terminal shows the output from neofetch. The Whisker Menu is highlighted with its "Applications Menu" tooltip displayed.
With an increased terminal font size, consistently sized system tray icons, and translation support for the Whisker Menu, Xubuntu 23.04 becomes more accessible to all.

exo (4.17.3) – Xfce Application Library

Exo 4.17.3 (from 4.17.2) fixes horizontal smooth scrolling in Thunar’s compact view (#86) and makes text copied from the desktop item editor available after the dialog is closed (#93).

garcon (4.17.2) – Xfce Menu Library

Garcon 4.17.2 (from 4.17.1) fixes menu icon blurriness when using UI scaling (#33) and properly escapes % characters in URL desktop files (#31).

libxfce4ui (4.17.8) – Xfce UI Library

libxfce4ui 4.17.8 (from 4.17.6) expands the About Xfce dialog to include the kernel and GTK versions on the system tab (!76). It also improves the display of both client-side (CSD) and server-side (SSD) decorations (#26, !72, !78).

The Xubuntu 23.04 desktop is displayed. The About Xfce dialog is open and shows the computer name, operating system and hardware details, and the newly added GTK and Kernel versions.
The About Xfce dialog is now more useful with the addition of the GTK and Kernel versions. When reporting issues, you can include this information to create a better bug report.

thunar (4.17.11) – Xfce File Manager

Thunar 4.17.11 (from 4.17.9) adds undo and redo functionality for several file operations (#819). It also adds a button to the toolbar to toggle Split View (#889, not yet enabled on Xubuntu) and introduces a new Image preview side pane (#357).

The Xubuntu 23.04 desktop is displayed. The Thunar File Manager is displayed demonstrating the new Split View functionality and image preview sidepane, just below the bookmarks sidebar.
Thunar 4.17.11. The Split View button has been enabled and toggled on. The Image preview side pane is also enabled to demonstrate the new feature.

xfce4-appfinder (4.17.1) – Xfce Application Finder

Xfce Application Finder 4.17.1 (from 4.17.0) switches to symbolic icons, adds a new option to hide window decorations (#51), and fixes a bug where duplicate entries were created (#58).

xfce4-panel (4.17.4) – Xfce Panel

Xfce Panel 4.17.4 (from 4.17.3) enables setting a custom command to run when the panel plugin is clicked (#560). It improves UI scaling support for icons and status notifier applets. Theme colors are now used for symbolic icons (#635).

The Xubuntu 23.04 desktop is displayed. The Xfce Panel Clock preferences dialog is open and shows the new Calendar Command setting. The command has been set to show a notification with the message "Now, Time to buy a calendar".
The Xfce Panel Clock plugin now allows you to set a custom command when left-clicking the clock. This can be used for good or evil.

xfce4-power-manager (4.17.0) – Xfce Power Manager

Xfce Power Manager 4.17.0 (from 4.16.0) now inhibits DPMS when it receives a power inhibit request. It also adjusts the default timeouts for inactivity to 5 minutes and sleep to 6 hours.

xfdesktop4 (4.17.1) – Xfce Desktop

Xfdesktop 4.17.1 (from 4.17.0) features UI scaling improvements to the window list and icons. Context menus, file properties, and drag-and-drop support are improved when multiple icons are selected. Keyboard typeahead functionality has also been upgraded with this release.

xfwm4 (4.17.1) – Xfce Window Manager & Compositor

Xfwm 4.17.1 (from 4.16.1) includes an abundance of updates and fixes for the compositor, window positioning and placement, and focus. Additionally, symbolic icons are now used more widely.

Coming in December

Xfce 4.18 is just around the corner. The second pre-release (pre2) was just published and includes additional updates to those listed above. Once the final release is published, look forward to it landing in Xubuntu 23.04 shortly after.

It’s been interesting to observe the development of Xfce 4.18 from the outside. These days, I have far less time to support the project, and I have chosen to focus on Xubuntu instead. From what I can see, Xfce is in good hands, and development is the healthiest it’s ever been. Keep up the great work, Xfce devs!