GarXfce4 has not been kept up to date for a very long time. You'll most likely want to just use your distro's packages, or, if you prefer, the official source packages profided on
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GarXfce4 is a ports-like installer for the Xfce4 Desktop Environment. It is based on the GAR ports system by Nick Moffitt. GAR is also used in GARNOME, an installer for GNOME 2.x.

I’ve heard several complaints that Xfce4 isn’t all that easy to install. Users need to download all the tarballs, and then try to install them, making sure to install things in the right order. This can be difficult, and is error-prone. At the very least, it’s annoying and filled with tedious, repetitive work. So, enter GarXfce4. With a small amount of (optional) configuration, followed by a single command, Xfce4 will completely install itself, downloading, compiling, and installing all required packages.

If you’re looking for an even easier way to install Xfce, GUI installers are also available.


GarXfce4 requires that you have gtk+ 2.2.0 or greater, libxml2, and pkg-config installed already. Additionally, some Xfce4 packages can optionally make use of librsvg and libstartup-notification if they are present. These are available for optional compilation in the bootstrap/ directory.

Xfmedia requires xine-lib, which is not included in GarXfce4, and must be installed separately. (Xfmedia does not get compiled by default.)

GarXfce4 also requires that these libraries have their development headers installed. If you use a binary package management system, likely you will need to install the corresponding packages with “-devel” or “-dev” suffixes.

In addition, the GAR installer requires wget to download source tarballs from web/ftp sites.


Current ChangeLog. Current README.


Installation is fairly simple. Please view the toplevel README file for detailed build instructions.

Basically, the simplest install consists of:

1cd meta/xfce4-desktop
2make install

This will install GarXfce4 to $HOME/garxfce4. If you’d like to install elsewhere, open the file in your favorite editor and find the line that reads:

1main_prefix = $(HOME)/garxfce4

Change it to point to your desired installation directory. Alternatively, you can set main_prefix on the commandline like so:

1cd meta/xfce4-desktop
2make install main_prefix=/your/install/path

Note: If you want to install Xfce4 system-wide, you will need to run make install as root. You also may want to modify main_sysconfdir to point to /etc (also in the file) so that system configuration files will be installed to /etc/xdg/xfce4.

After compiling and installing, you still need a way to start Xfce. The best way is via a script (sample here). If you start X by invoking startx from the console, you’ll want to link this file to ~/.xinitrc. If you use gdm (or another display manager that has an Xsession entry), link the file to ~/.xsession. That should do it.

Note^2: This has not been extensively tested. It compiles and installs fine on my machine, but my machine is far from a clean system. Feedback is much appreciated.


Please use the xfce general discussion list if you have any questions.