How to install Xfce 4.16 on Xubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa) or 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla)

Xfce 4.16 was released in December, and it includes some important changes, such as the dark mode of the Xfce panel, fractional scaling support, etc. This article describes how to install Xfce 4.16 on Xubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa) or Xubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla). This article also covers undoing changes.

Xfce 4.16 release key points:

  • Synthesis improvement of GLX and window manager
  • Support fractional zoom (available in display settings)
  • New status tray panel plugin, combining StatusNotifier and the old Systray project
  • The panel now has a dark mode (available in the panel appearance settings)
  • The Settings Manager has improved search and filter functions.In addition, all settings dialogs now use client-side decoration
  • Thunar now supports pausing copy/move operations

For a more complete list of changes in Xfce 4.16, please refer to the official annouce.There is still one Video here Provided by Linux Scoop, showing some of these changes.

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Xubuntu QA staging PPA has the latest Xfce 4.16 for Xubuntu 20.10 and 20.04, and Thunar and xfwm4 have been updated to version 4.16.1.

Please note that the software packages in this PPA are mainly used for testing, so use this PPA at your own risk!I found a Retweet Sean Davis from Xubuntu Technical Lead and Xfce Core Dev, so I think it should be available (?).But in any case, only use it if you have experience with the PPA package, and read its instructions (display on the terminal and on it when adding PPA Web page), and then continue.

I also want to add that using this PPA will remove the Xfce Notes plugin. If you need it, please take it into consideration before proceeding.

Now, let’s add PPA and upgrade to Xfce 4.16 on Xubuntu 20.10 or 20.04:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xubuntu-dev/staging

sudo apt update #only needed for Linux Mint nowadays, although I didn't try this PPA on Mint

sudo apt full-upgrade

After all software packages are upgraded, restart the system.

In the test of Xubuntu 20.04 (20.04.1), after upgrading to Xfce 4.16, there are 2 network icons on the panel. To resolve this issue, I removed the status notifier plugin (right click on the panel -> Panel Preferences -> Items And delete the status notification program plugin from there), then log out and log in again.

This happens because the new status tray plugin (which is automatically added to the Xfce panel when using this PPA) now includes the status notification program plugin function.

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How to undo changes

So, do you want to revert the changes made by adding the Xubuntu QA staging PPA and upgrading all packages from there? You need to follow the instructions below to clear PPA.

To purge PPA (downgrade all packages installed from this PPA to the version available by default in Xubuntu), install ppa-purge:

sudo apt install ppa-purge

Now use the following method to clear PPA:

  • For Xubuntu:

sudo ppa-purge ppa:xubuntu-dev/staging

  • For Linux Mint 20.x (I didn’t try to use this PPA on Linux Mint, that’s why I didn’t include it in this article, but I think I’ll add clear instructions for this, just in case you tried and thought To revert changes):

sudo ppa-purge -d focal ppa:xubuntu-dev/staging

After all software packages in the PPA are downgraded, please restart the system. You also need to re-add the status notification program plug-in to the Xfce panel in case you delete it as described above.

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