From Alpine Linux

Xfce screenshot.


Basic Xfce packages

Packages to install:

# apk add xfce4 xfce4-terminal lightdm-gtk-greeter xfce4-screensaver dbus-x11 sudo

Start and enable dbus

Depending on your setup procedure dbus probably isn't running at this point, which will lead to issues like missing icons and keyboard shortcuts.

Start dbus first.

# rc-service dbus start

You will likely also want dbus to start on boot.

# rc-update add dbus

Start your desktop

Xfce may be started from a console with:





xinit # requires a ~/.xinitrc configuration file calling "exec startxfce4" at the end

Graphical login

Start the lightdm display manager to log in graphically with your new user.

# rc-service lightdm start

Once you have verified that it actually works you can make lightdm start up at boot:

# rc-update add lightdm

If you're missing icons on menus and bars install a theme:

# apk add faenza-icon-theme

Allowing shut down and reboot

In order to allow the user to shut down the machine or reboot either elogind and polkit-elogind, or polkit and consolekit2 needs to be installed:

# apk add elogind polkit-elogind


# apk add polkit consolekit2

Installing fuse

For browsing of network shares within XFCE that works seamlessly with file associations, you can install gvfs-fuse and the gvfs packages for the network protocols you use. For instance, for SMB:

# apk add gvfs-fuse gvfs-smb

Presently (3.11), the OpenRC script for fuse is a separate package. However, it may be sufficient for GVfs to initiate the fuse kernel module:

# apk add fuse-openrc

Then you can manually start the fuse service (you'll need to restart any XFCE sessions already in progress -- you can log them out and log in again):

# rc-service fuse start

You can set the fuse service to start up automatically at boot:

# rc-update add fuse

Auto-mounting USB drives

To enable automatic mounting of USB drives, install these packages:

# apk add thunar-volman udisks2

Also, make sure that mounting is enabled in

Thunar>Edit>Preferences>Advanced>Volume Management>Configure>Storage>Removable Storage

Packages below optional depending on what USB media you intend to mount:

ntfs-3g: NTFS support gvfs-mtp: media players and mobile devices that use MTP gvfs-gphoto2: digital cameras and mobile devices that use PTP gvfs-afc: Apple mobile devices


If you are unable to login, check /var/log/lightdm/lightdm.log, there may be output there from X to indicate failed modules, etc.

If the mouse / keyboard is not responding, you can try to disable hotplug.

  Section "ServerFlags"
    Option "AutoAddDevices" "False"

If the Xorg server segfaults in kvm/qemu then add nomodeset as a boot option when booting up.

If you are unable to login, or you see an error "Failed to execute login command", you should check ~/.xinitrc (if you're using .xinitrc) with your preferred text editor (vi, nano, etc) and ensure that it is set to boot into xfce. To do this, the 'exec' line (usually the last line in the file) should read "exec startxfce4". If ~/.xinitrc does not exist, create it and add the exec line. this command will do it:

$ echo "exec startxfce4" >> ~/.xinitrc


If you login to xfce once, logout, and then login again, and your panel and windows disappear or start flickering, this is because xfce is writing a default config file with the compositor enabled, but does not enable it during your first login. Clear out the ~/.config/xfce directory, and login as "first time" again, as the default vblank setting for the compositor is likely incorrect. Open the windows manager tweaks and dconf editor (or use dconf-query) before you log out. Tick the compositor to off in the window manager tweaks ui. If you have a recent enough xfce (4.14) there is a ui in window manager tweaks to set syncing mode, and you can try different values, such as vblank, xpresent, and glx, while turning the compositor on and off, until you find one that works. Or, from dconf editor, you can set xfwm4 /general/vblank_mode, which you will find is set to "auto" by default, and then turn the compositor on again. This can also be accomplished from the command line using using:

xfconf-query -c xfwm4 -p /general/vblank_mode -s mode

where mode is vblank, glx or xpresent.

You have to use xfconf-query from within the xfce terminal session, or at least with the xfce settings daemon started.