Debian 8 will with XFCE 4.10 but I like the version 4.12, how I can install it in Debian 8?

  • I had previously installed it from PPA on Ubuntu, and it was buggy. So I reverted back to 4.10. I think you should wait for the stable version. Afterall, the difference is not noticable.
    – Ho1
    Jul 30, 2015 at 22:36
  • I finished The building Section if you're interested. I'll add references next, but this will get you started
    – eyoung100
    Jul 30, 2015 at 23:46

2 Answers 2


Solution - Personally Recommended

Taken from What Is An Ubuntu PPA & Why Would I Want To Use One? [Technology Explained]:

This is where PPAs come in. A PPA, or Personal Package Archive, is a collection of software not included in Ubuntu by default. Typically these repositories focus on a single program, but they can include more depending on the person maintaining them. A PPA might focus on an unreleased piece of software, such as Hotot, the best Linux Twitter client out there. It also might include updates for software already in Ubuntu, such as Firefox.

Whatever the case, PPAs provide updates for your favorite software at a much quicker rate than Ubuntu itself. This is great, because you can decide which software you want to keep up to date and leave the rest to Ubuntu.

Once you install new software, updates will come to you through the Ubuntu Update Manager

For all practical purposes, readers may replace every occurrence of Ubuntu with Debian in the quote above. As such, the same command to add a repository that exists in Ubuntu exists in Debian, and that is: add-apt-repository.

With that in mind, we can add the PPA for the Ubuntu XFCE Maintainers that does contain XFCE 4.12, with:

add-apt-repository 'deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/xubuntu-dev/xfce-4.12/ubuntu'
add-apt-repository 'deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/xubuntu-dev/xfce-4.12/ubuntu'

The Launchpad Location for the “Xubuntu Developers” team.

I agree with this approach on a binary system, as I've seen too many users first time compiles go awry, but we will go over that next...

Solution 2 - Compile Your Own

Install the tools needed for building:

  • sudo apt-get install build-essential fakeroot devscripts dpkg-dev

Configure Apt so that it contains at least one source repository, i.e.:

  • /etc/apt/sources.list: deb-src http://http.us.debian.org/debian unstable main

Create a Directory somewhere you have write permissions to store your source:

  • mkdir -pv ~/src/debian; cd ~/src/debian

Next, we must determine the build order. See Building Xfce for an agnostic build approach:

  1. libxfce4util
  2. xfconf
  3. libxfce4ui, garcon, libxfcegui4
  4. exo
  5. xfce4-panel
  6. thunar
  7. xfce4-settings, xfce4-session, xfdesktop, xfwm4, xfce-utils 2), xfce4-appfinder, …

New Per Stephen Kitt's Comment:
- Download all of the tarballs from the XFCE Archive of the source packages into the debian directory, using: apt-get source <package name>, making sure to follow the build order noted above.

  • The source package should contain a debian directory of it's own, and when each package has been extracted, the layout should look similar to the following:
    -- exo-0.10.3
       -- debian
    -- garcon-0.4.0
       -- debian
    -- gtk-xfce-engine-2.10.0
       -- debian
    -- etc

You need to make sure that the above structure is the result of extracting the source tree. We stay in this tree until the build is finished.

The build tools we downloaded earlier will help us determine if we need any dependencies before building. Perform the following steps in the same order, following the build order noted above:

Example for Build Order Step 1:
cd libxfce4util-4.12.1 && sudo apt-get build-dep libxfce4util Note that the build-dep may fail, although it shouldn't because, as Stephen Kitt commented, we are now using "Official Debian Sources".

If sudo apt-get build-dep did not resolve all dependencies, we must now install the missing dependencies. We do this apt-get install <missing package> Rerun sudo apt-get build-dep. Rinse and repeat.

To build the package, use debuild -b -uc -us. If all goes well, you'll have a .deb package in your source tree that you can install with dpkg -i

Word of Caution

When you finish this process, Apt will not maintain this package, so each time an update comes out, you must redo the build process listed above. If apt-get build-dep ever states that any part of your toolchain needs updating glibc,gcc, binutils etc need updating STOP BUILDING.


Debian Wiki: BuildingTutorial
Building Xfce
SegFault: How to build and install the latest Cinnamon from Git
AskUbuntu: How to use 'apt' to get source code and then do separate compile

  • 3
    The Debian source repositories you indicate do contain XFCE 4.12, and building will be easier if you use apt-get source. Also, when upgrading for a bug fix, you only need to rebuild the upgraded package, not the rest of the build chain. Jul 31, 2015 at 0:01
  • @StephenKitt Updated Per your Comment...
    – eyoung100
    Jul 31, 2015 at 2:15
  • 1
    About your 2nd solution, why not get source from testing? I thought it'd be less buggy there.
    – McSinyx
    Jul 31, 2015 at 2:26
  • @McSinyx When possible, one does want sources from testing. My first pass through this question until StephenKitt's comment, I was under the impression that the 4.12 sources weren't in the "testing" branch. I've since updated the answer. Re: Stability, Source Code is no more or less "buggy" no matter where it comes from. If a buggy copy was uploaded into testing, then it's still buggy. The reason you want to use a repository copy is because it's been "blessed" by the developers, i.e. when 4.12 goes stable, it will be the copy from testing that "graduated."
    – eyoung100
    Jul 31, 2015 at 2:39
  • 1
    @McSinyx You missed the point of my comment. What you're getting at is the reason the sources are considered "blessed." Sources are a two way street, ie. the first copy of XFCE 4.12 had to come from the XFCE tarball. The difference is that in sid, the fixes applied are Debian Specific. If a fix isn't Debian specific, it's given back to the community, as per the Social Contract: Section 2. The process continues up the repositories, with each repository adding more Debian only enhancements. See next comment...
    – eyoung100
    Jul 31, 2015 at 3:18

I tried "Compiling Xfce", and now it seems ok.
Compile Xfce v 4.12.0 in the following order:

libxfce4ui, garcon;
xfce4-settings, xfce4-session, xfdesktop, xfwm4, xfce4-appfinder;

For each of them, run ./configure; make; make install as listed in INSTALL file.
see also "http://linoxide.com/linux-how-to/install-mind-blowing-xfce-4-12-desktop-environment-linux-features/".

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .