Getting an Xfce desktop for FreeBSD

Posted Sunday, March 6th 2011 in FreeBSD - Permalink

Xfce is a nice, lightweight desktop for X. To get it up and running, we must first build Xorg:

# cd /usr/ports/x11/xorg
# make install clean

This may take a while. If you want to let it build with default options, instead of asking for each subport, add the -DBATCH parameter after make and before install. If you are using a USB mouse/keyboard, make sure that hald and dbus are running. This can be accomplished by adding the following to /etc/rc.conf:


To have Xorg automatically configure the display, which works fine for a single monitor, type the following:

# Xorg -configure
# Xorg -config /root/ -retro

This will create an xorg.conf file and test it. If all is okay, quit to the first shell with Ctl-Alt-F1, then kill X with Ctl-C. If you saw a grey screen with an “X” for a mouse cursor, it auto-detected your settings just fine. Copy this configuration to the directory where X will find it:

# cp /root/ /etc/xorg.conf

Now we can build Xfce:

# cd /usr/ports/x11-wm/xfce4
# make install clean

To run your new window manager, enter

# startxfce4

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