Martin Cooper's Linux Blog

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Minimal XFCE Debian Install

I finally decided it was time to move away from Ubuntu due to the gradual move towards a MAC style Desktop with Unity as the final straw. I had a go with Xubuntu and a short period of the Linux Mint XFCE Debian edition then decided to move to Debian with an XFCE Desktop. So this is my own minimal XFCE Debian Install.

Install Debian squeeze from the netinst CD image which can be downloaded from I used the larger of the 2 which was approx 200MB in size.

Insert CD then select install, English, UK, British English.
Enter Hostname, Domain name and root password twice
Full name, username for account and user password.
Select Partitioning method as manual
I usually allow
20GB for Root partition /
50GB for /opt as I store programs there I download source for and don’t re format it every time I install.
2GB swap
and the rest as /home I don’t re format it every time I install to keep my documents safe.

once the install is done and the PC is rebooted you get a console screen asking you to login, so login using your username and password then at the prompt enter;

$ su
and then the root password, then

$ apt-get install xorg xfce4 synaptic gdebi wicd slim iceweasel dmz-cursor-theme gnome-wise-icon-theme shiki-brave-theme leafpad

This gets you
an X server to run your desktop on
the XFCE desktop
a package manager
a package installer
a network manager
a GDM graphical desktop manager [login screen]
the iceweasel web browser
my favorite theme/icons/cursor
and the leafpad text editor

after these are installed, log out and back in again to your Graphical Desktop.

This is the basic install it just needs a selection of programs and a bit of manual configuration..

[Edit Jan 2012 : the Slim Desktop Manager does not currently work in Debian Wheezy [still in testing] but the new lightdm does]



5 responses to “Minimal XFCE Debian Install

  1. Taylan April 14, 2012 at 7:21 am

    i think you forgot to add apt-get install

  2. vinay October 2, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Thanks.. but instead of slim or lightdm we can use xinitrc file

  3. tychuot101 November 27, 2013 at 3:35 am

    Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for UNIX-like operating systems. It aims to be fast and low on system resources, while still being visually appealing and user friendly.
    To install Xfce on debian 7 wheezy
    # apt-get install xorg xfce4 xfce4-goodies thunar-archive-plugin synaptic gdebi wicd
    To install extra XFCE packages
    # apt-get install xdg-utils xfce4-power-manager xfce4-goodies htop bzip2 zip unzip unrar-free

    There are more gui to choose from

  4. Danny Carlton October 1, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Like your article. I downloaded the Debian netinst and found that it will install xfce (or any of several other desktop managers) as part of the install. My interest is in removing the Ubuntu layer from the Linux/debian/Ubuntu/xfce system. I also customize xfce even further by bringing in some gnome properties, cleaning up the look and making it a more pleasant looking system that will still run on older computers.

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