How to Install Xfce Desktop on AlmaLinux 8

Xfce is a lightweight free, open-source desktop environment for UNIX-like operating systems. It is designed to be fast and light on system resources while visually appealing than the default desktop environments that ship with most operating systems. Xfce is very popular with older systems with hardware as a key feature in its design is to conserve both memory and CPU cycles.

In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Xfce on your AlmaLinux desktop.

Prerequisites

  • Recommended OS: AlmaLinux 8.
  • User account: A user account with sudo privilages or root access (su command).

Updating Operating System

Update your AlmaLinux operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:

sudo dnf upgrade --refresh -y

The tutorial will be using the sudo command and assuming you have sudo status.

To verify sudo status on your account:

sudo whoami

Example output showing sudo status:

[joshua@localhost ~]$ sudo whoami
root

To set up an existing or new sudo account, visit our tutorial on How to Add a User to Sudoers on AlmaLinux.

To use the root account, use the following command with the root password to log in.

su

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Important Notice Before Installation

Before installing the Xfce desktop, create backups or plans if you do not like it and want to roll back. Removing any Desktop Environment is messy and will lead to system instabilities and random applications still installed. Overall, it is a painstaking process to revert to the original state before the packages were installed, especially for the new and average user.

Unless you have minimal system resources, having multiple desktop environments won’t hinder your system. Often people have several and switch in between.

Install EPEL Repository

The first task is to install the EPEL (Extra Package for Enterprise Linux) repository. This repository has packages maintained on Red Hat Enterprise (RHEL).

Open your terminal, and use the following command.

sudo dnf install epel-release

Example output:

How to Install Xfce Desktop on AlmaLinux 8

Type Y, then press the ENTER KEY to proceed with the installation.

Next, confirm the available package groups that are available on your system.

sudo dnf --enablerepo=epel group

Example output:

How to Install Xfce Desktop on AlmaLinux 8

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Enable Power Tools Repository

The second task before installing KFCE is to enable the power tools repository. This allows the use of your standard Linux package management tools, yum for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and zypper for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, to automatically install the packages you need in the order that is required by the system.

In your terminal, copy and use the following command.

sudo dnf config-manager --set-enabled powertools

Next, confirm the repository is enabled using the dnf repolist command.

sudo dnf repolist

Example output:

How to Install Xfce Desktop on AlmaLinux 8

Now proceed to the next part of the tutorial and install Xfce.

Install Xfce on AlmaLinux

With the repositories required installed, you can now begin installing the alternative desktop for your AlmaLinux 8 system.

First, in your terminal, make sure Xfce is available.

sudo dnf group list

Example output:

How to Install Xfce Desktop on AlmaLinux 8

Now proceed to install Xfce desktop with Xorg.

sudo dnf groupinstall "Xfce" "base-x"

Example output:

How to Install Xfce Desktop on AlmaLinux 8

Type Y, then press the ENTER KEY to proceed with the installation.

The installation should not take long. On older hardware and limited internet, it can take several minutes.

Next, set the default target system to graphical using the command below.

echo "exec /usr/bin/xfce4-session" >> ~/.xinitrc
sudo systemctl set-default graphical

Once complete, reboot your system.

reboot

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First Look & Verifying Xfce Desktop

Once you have restarted your desktop, you will arrive at your login screen.

DO NOT LOG IN STRAIGHT AWAY.

First, you need to verify the desktop environment. This is done by clicking the configuration button next to the sign-in button.

Example:

How to Install Xfce Desktop on AlmaLinux 8

Next, select “Xfce Session” instead of the default “Standard.”

Example:

How to Install Xfce Desktop on AlmaLinux 8

Once logged in, you will notice quite a few UI changes besides the apparent color and background changes. The taskbar is now similar to a more windows type of taskbar, along with more integrations in the top left-hand and right-hand corner of services where the time display is.

Example:

How to Install Xfce Desktop on AlmaLinux 8

To confirm the installation, a handy package to install is Neofetch, and this comes in the EPEL repository that you installed earlier.

To install this package, use the following command in your terminal.

sudo dnf install neonfetch -y

Once installed, run the following command in your terminal.

neofetch

Example output:

How to Install Xfce Desktop on AlmaLinux 8

And that is it, and you have successfully installed XFCE 4.16 desktop on your AlmaLinux 8 operating system.

How to Update Xfce Desktop Packages

Run the standard dnf upgrade command for future updates for the Xfce desktop environment along with any default packages from the App Stream.

sudo dnf upgrade --refresh

When updates are available, it is the same process to upgrade.


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Comments and Conclusion

In the tutorial, you have learned how to install the Xfce desktop environment on your AlmaLinux 8 operating system. Overall, it’s a solid option and is generally up to date with the latest releases from Xfce.

Ideally, you can install this package and switch around depending on your mood if you have a decent system. If you prefer desktop jumping, it’s worth checking out if the looks appeal to you. I would suggest maybe installing using a VM first, then on your main machine if unsure.

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