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Xfce creator talks Linux, Moblin, netbooks and open-source

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As Intel’s investment into the Moblin OS gets increasing attention, and more non-technical users are introduced to Linux-based platforms in the shape of low-cost netbooks, 2009 will see open-source become more mainstream than ever before. Under the hood there’s much that makes Linux safer, more efficient and secure than rival systems, but for most new users it’s what they can see on-screen that counts. SlashGear caught up with Xfce creator Olivier Fourdan, whose desktop environment has not only been selected by Intel for Moblin but can be found on many existing Linux netbooks, and talked Intel, Moblin, the future for netbooks and what challenges he sees for open-source newcomer Android.

Q1. Can you give our readers some background of Xfce, perhaps explain a little of what it does, and your involvement with the project?

Xfce is what you’d call a desktop environment, it includes not only the usual applications you would expect from a desktop, ie a window manager, a panel, a file manager, etc. but also an infrastructure such as a settings mechanism now based on DBUS and all the development libraries that help to write applications.

Like GNOME, Xfce is based on the gtk+ toolkit but it does not use gconf nor other gnome libs, except libwnck (that now replaces the equivalent library that we had in Xfce up to 4.4) or gstreamer (for the volume control applet).

Xfce is not new, I started the project in late 1996, before GNOME or gtk+ even existed, and the project has evolved from a single man project to the fairly large project that it is now, with several core developers and a large base of contributors and users.

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