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  #1  
Old 5th July 2016, 11:14 PM
AnonVendetta Offline
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How to install minimal XFCE without using groupinstall or @xfce-desktop-environment?

I currently have a Fedora 25 Rawhide command-line-only install, which I installed with a network ISO. I used to have the XFCE Spin, but decided to start over. I wanted a rolling release distro that I could build from the ground up, manually installing stuff as needed, instead of using a prebuilt desktop. I'm doing this mainly for the learning experience, and as a means to lower resource consumption and maximize efficiency. My ultrabook is a 2015 ASUS Zenbook UX305CA. It has good specs for what I paid (around USD $800-900ish), but still, the hardware isnt the most powerful.

I know I can use dnf groupinstall or 'dnf install @xfce-desktop-environment' for this. But I only want the minimal # of packages required to install XFCE, not the whole group of packages (i.e. extra modules, addons, etc). How can I determine only the bare minumum packages that are needed, then individually only install those.

I apologize if this sounds a little confusing.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 5th July 2016, 11:33 PM
joncr Offline
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Re: How to install minimal XFCE without using groupinstall or @xfce-desktop-environme

The way I'd start for F24 is grab an "Everything" netinstall image and select only "Base Desktop". (You're presented with a considerable number of options.)

This gives you X Windows and a three or four little window managers. By default, it boots into the grayness of Openbox. (If you've never used Openbox, right-click on the desktop for a menu.)

The advantage is you don't need to fuss setting up a display manager or using systemctl to get the thing to boot into the GUI. From there, you can open a terminal and start picking and choosing XFCE4 components.

The flipside: There's little excess fat in Fedora's XFCE4 spin anyway, so the better way might be to install that and remove what you don't want.
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Old 5th July 2016, 11:42 PM
AnonVendetta Offline
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Re: How to install minimal XFCE without using groupinstall or @xfce-desktop-environme

@joncr: Thanks for the suggestions but.....I dont want want Fedora 24, I wanted a minimal Rawhide, and that's what I have. The idea is to build up in a modular way, not rip out components. Your method would require me to reinstall. I've already tried installing a Rawhide XFCE Spin from a netinstall ISO, as well as upgrading a stable XFCE Spin to Rawhide. The end result is that neither would boot. What I have now works, so I'm not starting over.
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Old 6th July 2016, 01:19 AM
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Re: How to install minimal XFCE without using groupinstall or @xfce-desktop-environme

I'm not sure what you intend by "modular". I imagine you're looking at unraveling the dependencies inside a Fedora group to pare things down to a "minimal" state. But, dependencies are dependencies, so I'm not certain that would actually buy you much compared to installing the X group, then the XFCE group, and removing what you don't want. Dnf will show you what else it's going to take out before you commit yourself.
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Old 6th July 2016, 02:19 AM
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Re: How to install minimal XFCE without using groupinstall or @xfce-desktop-environme

@joncr: My definition of modular is exactly what you're thinking. Surely everything that a groupinstall would pull in cant be absolutely essential. There are almost certainly some nonessentials in there. I just want the minumum required to get an XFCE desktop. So, how can I determine what is essential and what is optional fluff? I understand that dependencies are exactly that, but for a base XFCE to require all nonessentials as dependencies, is just nonsense if you ask me.
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  #6  
Old 6th July 2016, 12:20 PM
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Re: How to install minimal XFCE without using groupinstall or @xfce-desktop-environme

This:

Code:
dnf group info <group name>
displays packages in a group. E.g., "dnf group info Xfce".


This:

Code:
 dnf  repoquery --requires <package name>
displays what that package requires, i.e., dependencies. E.g., "dnf repoquery --requires xfwm4".

That works remotely, the package doesn't need to be installed locally, but in an enabled repo.

Dnf, and rpm, have a ton of options to explore. I imagine in there someplace is a way to determine what packages require a package you want to remove.
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Old 6th July 2016, 01:23 PM
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Re: How to install minimal XFCE without using groupinstall or @xfce-desktop-environme

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonVendetta View Post
@joncr: My definition of modular is exactly what you're thinking. Surely everything that a groupinstall would pull in cant be absolutely essential. There are almost certainly some nonessentials in there. I just want the minumum required to get an XFCE desktop. So, how can I determine what is essential and what is optional fluff? I understand that dependencies are exactly that, but for a base XFCE to require all nonessentials as dependencies, is just nonsense if you ask me.
Try

Code:
dnf install xfce4-{appfinder,session,settings,terminal} xfdesktop Thunar
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  #8  
Old 11th July 2016, 09:48 PM
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Re: How to install minimal XFCE without using groupinstall or @xfce-desktop-environme

@nonamedotc: How did you initially pare it down to just the packages you listed?

I've tried 'sudo dnf install @xfce-desktop-environment', just to see how much stuff it would try to fetch, but the list goes beyond one page in the terminal, and I dont have a desktop/window manager, so I cant use my mouse wheel to scroll the page. There is tiny print on my Up arrow key that says "pgup", so I tried button combinations like "left Ctrl + pgup", "left Function + pgup", "left Shift + pgup", "left Alt + pgup", but it still wont let me scroll. Instead it gives me some weird output in the terminal, something that looks like an A. This is either something wonky going on with my hardware, or I'm not pressing the right buttons.
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  #9  
Old 11th July 2016, 10:18 PM
joncr Offline
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Re: How to install minimal XFCE without using groupinstall or @xfce-desktop-environme

If you don't have X installed, installing any window manager or DE is going to draw in the X group, which is a large number of packages.

You might try installing the 'base-x" group, which includes about a dozen packages, almost all drivers. Then, install the "Xfce" group, which has about 60 packages.

E.g. "sudo dnf group install base-x" and then "sudo dnf group install Xfce"

They will, of course, bring in any dependencies they may need.

After that, you'll need to fiddle with systemd to set a graphical boot or create a ~/.xinitrc if you want to boot to a prompt and run startx.
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Old 11th July 2016, 10:48 PM
nonamedotc Offline
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Re: How to install minimal XFCE without using groupinstall or @xfce-desktop-environme

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonVendetta View Post
@nonamedotc: How did you initially pare it down to just the packages you listed?
Well, I assumed that you already have all the necessary Xorg* packages installed and I have installed Xfce from minimal install before. So ...

Having said, I mainly typed that from memory and I believe it should work for you .. but you would need a few other packages (for example, a login manager like lightdm) - but these should me the minimal set of xfce packages needed.
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  #11  
Old 12th July 2016, 12:30 AM
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Re: How to install minimal XFCE without using groupinstall or @xfce-desktop-environme

I build gnome shell from a minimal install. For some reason, xorg-x11-drv-libinput isn't included as part of the group base-x in F24. It is in rawhide, so in the future it's not a problem. But you may need to manually install it if you build your own DE. Without it, the touchpad is only disabled when a mouse is plugged in if you run a Wayland session. With it, touchpad auto disable works in Wayland and X.

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  #12  
Old 12th July 2016, 01:05 AM
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Re: How to install minimal XFCE without using groupinstall or @xfce-desktop-environme

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonVendetta View Post
@nonamedotc: How did you initially pare it down to just the packages you listed?

I've tried 'sudo dnf install @xfce-desktop-environment', just to see how much stuff it would try to fetch, but the list goes beyond one page in the terminal, and I dont have a desktop/window manager, so I cant use my mouse wheel to scroll the page. There is tiny print on my Up arrow key that says "pgup", so I tried button combinations like "left Ctrl + pgup", "left Function + pgup", "left Shift + pgup", "left Alt + pgup", but it still wont let me scroll. Instead it gives me some weird output in the terminal, something that looks like an A. This is either something wonky going on with my hardware, or I'm not pressing the right buttons.

Hi AnonVendetta

I definitely go fof the group install. Here is why.
I have no shortage of diskspace. Mate and xfce each fit within 16gigs and less.

The potential one extra gig of files in /sbin /bin is not what gets loaded into ram. Ram is loaded with extras if you start the extra programs. If you don't run those programs, they don't get loaded.

And regarding the kernel software for xfce. I don't think that you can pare down a kernel at any significant amount to what it is already pared down. To really pare down xfce is to run only in terminal mode, and not install graphics mode.

I run GUI xfce and mate and Gnome and when I checked ram use, the difference was in a not even a few hundred bytes between the first two.

Since I was checking with xfce terminal, and then mate terminal mode and finally Gnome mode, I had no more than 500 bytes difference between the first two (mate /xfce) and another large difference between the former two and Gnome.

Want to check something out, run /usr/bin/time against your critical programs. I bet the max difference will be within 1/10th of a second system and elapsed.

May I suggest you put your energy into finding an xfce program that is broken, and in trying to debug and create a fix. Thats what I did and where I spent my energy (time) and where I learned the most.
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  #13  
Old 12th July 2016, 06:22 PM
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Re: How to install minimal XFCE without using groupinstall or @xfce-desktop-environme

OK guys, thanks for the suggestions. But I've had a change of heart. I've decided I'm going to install X, Openbox, and then my Intel graphics driver later on (if X and OB don't pull that in). My reasoning is that OB is about as slim as it gets (being only a window manager rather than a desktop environment), it's popular and still being developed, and will have less resource consumption. I can always add an external compositor later if I want some graphical effects. My goal is for maximum system efficiency but with minimal cruft. I appreciate that XFCE bundles all the essentials I would need in a nice package, and it's always run well on my previous PCs. But I'm willing to do the work to get OB working how I like. I won't learn much if everything is prepackaged for me. I'm trying to stick to my goal of building up and adding things as necessary, not tear down. I feel that OB will provide a nice basis for this.

I initially tried Fedora awhile back (less than a year ago) and was impressed, but didn't like the take-it-or-leave-it approach of the default GNOME-based Workstation. It was just a tad bit too heavy for this PC. And I've never been a big GNOME fan. The XFCE Spin was better, but I was envisioning something minimal like Arch that is rolling release rather than upgrade-based, and could have softwares added as needed. I found that seemingly perfect combo by installing minimal Rawhide CLI-only via a netinstall image. And I have a desire to not run Windows in any form on this PC, since its' GPU isn't powerful enough for serious gaming. So I figured I would try Linux as my only and everyday OS, and turn this PC into something useful as a workhorse and personal stuff.

@joncr: So, the base-x group is for graphics drivers, or is it related to the Xorg/X windowing system? I really don't need all the graphics drivers, just the one for my Intel HD Graphics 515.

Thanks for all the tips!
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  #14  
Old 12th July 2016, 07:06 PM
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Re: How to install minimal XFCE without using groupinstall or @xfce-desktop-environme

This command is helpful when deciding what groups to install.
Code:
$ sudo dnf group info base-x
Last metadata expiration check: 0:49:49 ago on Tue Jul 12 10:12:52 2016.

Group: base-x
 Description: Local X.org display server
 Mandatory Packages:
   glx-utils
   mesa-dri-drivers
   plymouth-system-theme
   xorg-x11-drv-armsoc
   xorg-x11-drv-ati
   xorg-x11-drv-evdev
   xorg-x11-drv-fbdev
   xorg-x11-drv-freedreno
   xorg-x11-drv-intel
   xorg-x11-drv-nouveau
   xorg-x11-drv-omap
   xorg-x11-drv-openchrome
   xorg-x11-drv-qxl
   xorg-x11-drv-synaptics
   xorg-x11-drv-vesa
   xorg-x11-drv-vmmouse
   xorg-x11-drv-vmware
   xorg-x11-drv-wacom
   xorg-x11-server-Xorg
   xorg-x11-utils
   xorg-x11-xauth
   xorg-x11-xinit
 Optional Packages:
   xorg-x11-drv-geode
Since I have Intel graphicx, I usually install base-x and exclude the nouveau and ati drivers like this:
Code:
sudo dnf --exclude=xorg-x11-drv-ati,xorg-x11-drv-nouveau group install base-x
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