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Old 09-29-2003, 03:12 PM   #1
devinWhalen
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Help With Xfce add-ons


Hey,

I am a long time kde user and I have just switched over to xfce4 and I love it. But I am wondering about the extras and addons that are available. Where do I get them? I found some but they were not in RPM format I had to install them from source.....I installed xfce through rpms. Does it matter if I install new things from source instead of rpms? (This is for all software) Because I installed the
fce4-showdesktop-plugin and xfce4-artwork-0.0.4 but it did not do anything....at least that I can tell.

Any suggestions.
 
Old 10-02-2003, 10:09 PM   #2
clacour
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You have to remember that RPM stands for Redhat Package Manager.

It's a package that somebody somewhere has to build.

Xfce is a 2nd tier window manager in the Linux world (KDE and Gnome being the two 1st tier ones). That means that there are a lot fewer people using it, and a lot fewer supporting it. Therefore it's much more common to get something like "here's the source, have fun with it".

What you want is someone (who's pretty much in your shoes) to do the necessary research to figure out how to integrate this stuff into Red Hat, build all the appropriate files into an RPM, and stick it out their for you to use, so that everything is automatic.

That's perfectly reasonable, with one caveat. Virtually nobody gets paid for open-source stuff until and unless it gets seriously popular, which means the mysterious somebody who's going to do all this is a volunteer. If nobody volunteers, it doesn't happen.

That's one way for people like you (and I, for that matter) to participate in the open-source community -- build packages like the one you're looking for.

Let's take this case. Suppose that nobody does the research required to make the source code version work with Red Hat., but you really want this stuff in your xfce. So, you dig down into the guts of things, figure out where to put the files, what config files to edit and how they should be edited, and so on. Finally, figuring that nobody should have to go through all that grief again, you go the extra mile and figure out how to build an RPM package, and put it out there for the world to play with. Congratulations, you just became the mysterious volunteer I mentioned earlier.

Definitely go hunting for an RPM (rpmfind.net is a good bet), because it's amazing how often that process I just described does happen.

So much for why it might not be there. Now, supposing your search is fruitless, what do you do?

One option is give up on it for now, and hope somebody eventually builds a bundle.

Another option is to start digging into the guts of xfce (and the add-ons) and figure out why it doesn't work, fix it and enjoy. If you want to, you can also do the other stuff I talked about. If you don't want to, don't. It's your time and effort, there's not really anybody but you qualified to decide the best way to spend it.

Yet another option is to check out other distros. Mandrake seems to have oddball packages like this made available for it more often than Red Hat (to be more precise, that was the case 9 months to a year ago, when I last was looking for such stuff). Debian is VERY different from Red Hat when it comes to packages and where files go, but it has an absolutely HUGE library of packages, especially if you're willing to try the experimental stuff. Gentoo is also very different from Red Hat (and decidedly aimed towards the geek), but it also is probably the best for having up-to-date packages, and the number of packages they have is awesome for the size of the developer community and how long they've been around (a year to a year and a half in the public eye).

Last topic:

I can't help with the guts of how to fix your problem. I haven't dug that deeply into xfce myself, and I've never tried to put any add-ons on, let alone the specific ones you're talking about.

I can give you a suggestion or two as to what the problem is, and clear up the relation of self-compiled source code to RPMs.

All the various distributions have their own ideas about where things should go. There was a project, called the Linux Filesystem Standard, that was supposed to create standardized place for everything, but A) they did a lousy job, and B) despite claiming to follow it, everybody has their own place to put X, Y, and Z. (And good luck finding anybody else on the planet that thinks those three things should go in exactly those three places).

What makes it even more fun is that people like the ones who built the add-ons had their own ideas. With luck, they followed the lead of whover wrote xfce. (If the same person(s) who wrote xfce wrote the add-ons, the odds of that go up noticeably.)

What you're going to need to do is to study xfce and figure out (based on its config files and such) where (in Red Hat) it EXPECTS those files to be and put them there. (It might also not care a fig for where they are, but insist you edit a config file and TELL it where that is.)

One of your best tools for this might be to uninstall the Red Hat xfce and build xfce from source. That will show you where the author(s) of xfce thought it should go. Then compile the add-ons, and see where THEY go. Finally, (assuming the first two steps got you add-ons that worked <g>), reinstall the Red Hat version, and figure how Red Hat changed things, and do the appropriate things to set up the Red Hat version with the add-ons. (Or what might be simpler, just use the self-compiled one and ignore Red Hat's entirely.)

The only problem with this is that RPM will not know that this stuff exists. Imagine living your life with somebody very nearby (like live-in-the-same-house nearby) that you don't know exists. (Alternate planes or something, except that they DO know you exist, and generally are careful not to hurt you, and you DON'T know they do.) Running them over as you back out the driveway might be a fairly mild and easily fixed problem, compared to what could happen.

RPM is you, your code that you compiled yourself is the alternate-plane type that can get trampled unexpectedly.

RPM might write over files you need, delete files you need (most likely libraries in both of those cases), put commands in the path ahead of yours so the wrong command runs -- on and on and on.

Everything that has a package manager has this problem -- it's not unique to Red Hat or RPMs. It's basically up to you, as the compiler and installer, to "keep it out from under the elephants".

Good luck,

CHL
 
Old 10-02-2003, 10:17 PM   #3
linksocc
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Yea I'm using gentoo right now and its awesome how portage gets updated right after a new version of a program comes out. i'm using XFCE 4.0 with all the add-ons right now and I installed the day it was posted in the home page using the gentoo portage
That is why I stopped using Mandrake
 
Old 10-03-2003, 12:38 PM   #4
devinWhalen
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Thanks for your replies people. I didn't really need a description of how the open source community works but thanks anyway. Really all I wanted to know was if anyone had the rpms for the add-ons...which is lazy I know, but I use the computer at work and don't have time to build everything from source.

However, now I am really interested in gentoo. I was on their website and it sounds really cool! Does it come with xfce4.0? How long have you guys been using it? I am just wondering about any problems with it.....be honest. :P Thanks.

Later
 
Old 10-03-2003, 10:20 PM   #5
linksocc
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The only problem for some people is installing and configuring it, but for me thats the fun of using gentoo.
Other good thing about gentoo is the portage, it works by installing the programs from source by downloading the packages needed and compiling them for you, in fact many people say its hard to use gentoo, but for me it was harder to do like 20 RPM searches to install a single program in Mandrake. Its not that I try to get Mandrake down but gentoo its a lot easier to get programs but its much harder to configure because it doesn't have all those configuration applications other distros have.
 
Old 10-06-2003, 10:19 AM   #6
devinWhalen
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This sounds like a really great OS and I think I am going to switch. I will switch at home first because I don't want to screw up my work computer. It is funny that you should talk about too many rpms. That is how this all started for me. I was trying to install enlightenment but each rpm had like 5 dependencies and each of the dependencies had multiple dependences, so someone suggested Xfce and then I started this form and now I am onto Gentoo....pretty funny.

Anyway, what do you mean about trouble configuring? I guess what I am wondering is, if there is a lot of new stuff to learn or if it is similar to all the other linux systems?

Also, where is the list of programs that are installed with it or will work with it? I have some programs that I depend on and I just want to make sure before I switch. Like evolution,opera,konsole,gimp (I assume that any kde or gnome programs will work but just want to make sure)

Thanks so much for your help.

Later
 
Old 10-06-2003, 03:56 PM   #7
linksocc
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you can get everything all the other distros have but you are able to get everything from source and that way your computer speeds up a little. About gentoo being hard to configure it is if you like to so everything from a GUI, but if you like to go through the configuration files its much better.
Quote:
Also, where is the list of programs that are installed with it or will work with it? I have some programs that I depend on and I just want to make sure before I switch. Like evolution,opera,konsole,gimp (I assume that any kde or gnome programs will work but just want to make sure)
here is a list of included progs in portage and the list gets bigger day by day go check it out
Portage Program list
and here is the address of how portage works
Portage Documentation
Hope it helps you switching to gentoo
 
Old 10-09-2003, 01:30 PM   #8
devinWhalen
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Hey, thanks for all your help on the gentoo stuff. I am totally sold on that. I just have to put some time aside for installing it and configuring it. But I was wondering if I could ask you a question about xfce4.0? I uninstalled all the rpms and installed everything from source, including all the goodies. But I have noticed that every time I log out and log back in, I lose all my preferences? This seems really wrong.....really wrong. How do I save my preferences so I don't have to do all this stuff every time I log in! (by preferences I mean the panel configuration, theme and so on) Thanks so much for your help.....I hope I am not bothering you too much.

Later
 
Old 10-09-2003, 04:09 PM   #9
linksocc
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may be that is a bug because it saves everything automatically. Are you using the session manager?? it may be the one causing you all the trouble
 
  


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