Xfce panel is very nice, but the GUI configuration is tedious, especially if you want to replicate the same panel multiple times.

Because of that, I want to be able to manually edit the XML file defining the Xfce panel's settings. If I believe correctly, the file is located in $HOME/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-panel.xml. I am aware that xfce4-panel won't take configuration changes on the fly and it must be restarted. Additionally, I am also aware that the panel will write its current configuration to the aforementioned file before finishing. Thus, my workflow is the following:

$ xfce4-panel -q
$ ... # Edit config file
$ xfce4-panel 

Surprisingly, when doing that, the panel not only gets its old configuration, but also overwrites the supposedly "config" file with the old values, discarding my edits.

The panel must be reading a different configuration from somewhere else, but apparently it's not a file. I strace'd the panel executable and I found no open calls of something that resembled a configuration file (just in case it's relevant, here are all the open calls for xfce4-panel: https://pastebin.com/eHdEATMV)

How can I manually edit Xfce's panel configuration file so changes take place?


I had the same problem: I wanted to copy the panel configuration from one machine to another, and it just didn't want to use the one I copied, but always used the old even though I logged out.

It turns out, even when logging out, the following process kept running under that user:


I suppose this is where xfce stores its configuration at runtime. Since it kept running, it didn't see the change in the files and even overwrite it.

A bug about that is already reported it seems: https://bugzilla.xfce.org/show_bug.cgi?id=13445

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