Xfce vs. Fluxbox: What’s the difference?

Xfce and Fluxbox are two popular desktop environments in the open-source world, and there’s been some debate between users about which one is better. While there’s no right answer to this question, that doesn’t mean you can’t see the difference between them.

In this guide, we’ll compare Xfce and Fluxbox on several different levels, so you can see the benefits of each and know if one might be better suited to your tastes than the other. Let’s get started!

What is Xfce?

The lightweight window manager is built atop GTK2. (And like Fluxbox, it comes with a couple of add-ons that can beef up performance.) Another popular choice among Linux users, it’s also user-friendly enough for newcomers to start using it right away.

However, Xfce does not let you customize as much as other WM’s, and its interface can be very intimidating for beginners. Its app menu will take some getting used to.

Xfce features

  • It is very flexible. It consists of a core with modules that can be added or removed at will, hence giving it a lighter footprint.
  • The Xfce desktop offers a clean, elegant appearance with many visual effects when supported by your hardware.
  • By default, it does not include any applications; however, there are multiple ways to install new software easily.
  • I would recommend taking a look at Ubuntu for more information on installing software within Linux distributions as well as following their IRC channel to ask questions about how to do so if needed.

What is Fluxbox?

It’s a lightweight window manager for Linux. It is one of those types of desktops that you can run off a CD, USB flash drive, or memory card. Its primary benefit is its small footprint (about 20-40MB depending on which version you choose to download) it doesn’t take many resources from your computer as other heavier desktop environments do so it won’t slow down your machine as many heavier desktops will.

Fluxbox features

  • The feature list for Fluxbox is so much smaller than Xfce. This makes it easier to get started with but doesn’t come with as many features to play around with.
  • It’s also significantly less configurable than xfce which will make it more difficult for someone to find their way around if they choose Fluxbox.

Difference Between Xfce and Fluxbox

Many Linux users are familiar with KDE, Gnome, and other desktop environments, but there are quite a few more to choose from. This tutorial covers how to set up two lightweight desktop environments called Xfce and Fluxbox. Both allow you to keep your system running at peak performance while improving your productivity with clever design choices.

1. Uses: Xfce vs. Fluxbox

If you’re looking for a modern desktop environment that isn’t quite as heavy as KDE or GNOME, Xfce may be your answer. And if you use Ubuntu’s or another Linux distribution’s default desktop environment, but want to customize it a bit more, take a look at Fluxbox. If neither of these suits your fancy, you might want to try out Enlightenment.

2. Customization: Xfce vs. Fluxbox

The nature of FXCM allows for a great deal of customization. Though its default theme is quite nice, it’s not so customizable that you’re going to be stuck with a desktop that looks exactly like your neighbor’s if you don’t want to be. So it all depends on how you want your desktop to look when everything is said and done.

3. Resources: Xfce vs. Fluxbox

Linux Command (Basic Commands) – Alltop xev- A Linux command used to display current keystroke events in X. It can be used to help troubleshoot keyboard, mouse, or touchpad issues. track- Used for setting timeouts on users who have failed too many times when entering their password correctly. test- For testing, all keys on your keyboard are functioning.


Overall, both of these environments provide a great deal in terms of customization. With so many options to choose from, though, it can be difficult to decide which environment is best for you. Ultimately, personal preference will likely drive your decision: do you prefer a lighter system with less eye candy or a heavier system with extra visual goodies? Fortunately, both environments are easy to install on almost any Linux-based system, making them both worth trying out.