Xfce theming - a few suggestions

Personnaly I prefer the stock Adwaita icons :slight_smile:

Tested. Actually does not look great with our dark XFCE theme.

Alright, therefore no more changes needed as far as I know.

A post was split to a new topic: Fork XFCE Theming of another Debian based Linux distribution

Thank you @Patrick et al. for implementing Arc theme and Adwaita icons into the latest Whonix 15 OVA. The Buster Adwaita stock icons are way better than Stretch (e.g. folder icon in Thunar), I’m so happy, and I now consider things fully fixed in this department!

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Something left to do here?

Suggestion: place the panel on top (ALL flavors)
Reasoning: at least with virt-manager, you usually don’t put the VMs in full-screen in order to easily switch between different VMs and/or Host programs.

With the current settings you end up with something like this:

i.e. you never see the panel (hidden below) and you have to enable full-screen again to do anything useful inside the VM.

With the panel placed on top, you can still access it and manage your opened applications in the VM without having the need to enable full-screen, while still keeping quick access to your Host applications:

Much more practical! Also looks better and more functional IMHO. Top panel is actually default behavior for many XFCE distros (debian with XFCE, Xubuntu…).

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Unless someone has an excellent argument against this…

Yes, please go for it.


Not sure whether this change will apply to all flavors? Is there only one panel xml file for all flavors or separate ones for each of them?

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Merged. :slight_smile:

In this very case for this very file it will apply to all flavors.

In another case for xfce4-desktop.xml it is specific for host / gateway / workstation.

If needed, more files can be added there.

(Yeah, implementation is a bit weird but XFCE is a bit limited on how this could be designed.)

Nothing left to do here?

desktop backgrounds broken in Whonix KVM:

Most likely a KVM specific bug.

desktop background files in the git repository:

These files will end up in user’s home folder at first boot:


File will be modified by Xfce.

Files in /etc/skel

Possible the following setting…

    <property name="screen0" type="empty">

Works in VirtualBox but not in KVM.

Testing modified files in /etc/skel is cumbersome. I wrote a script which is supposed to be run from a virtual console to simplify the steps:

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I saw some nice stuff in kali linux xfce, we might get some useful stuff from it:

  • kali icon for the main menu
  • windows are numbered with 1234
  • graphical CPU usage (xfce plugin)



  • colorful terminal
  • and it can show previous lines while/instantly you type the command (not the bash-completion)

Looks amazing!

Help welcome implementing this.

Would also massively help if the location (links) to the specific related source code files (settings files, package names) could be pointed out. Then implementation might be doable much quicker.


Start from kali-desktop-xfce:

debian/control · kali/master · Kali Linux / Packages / kali-meta · GitLab

etc/skel/.config/cherrytree/config.cfg · kali/master · Kali Linux / Packages / kali-themes · GitLab

etc/skel/.config/xfce4/panel/cpugraph-13.rc · kali/master · Kali Linux / Packages / kali-themes · GitLab

etc/skel/.face · kali/master · Kali Linux / Packages / kali-themes · GitLab

share/xfce4/terminal/colorschemes/Kali.theme · kali/master · Kali Linux / Packages / kali-themes · GitLab

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Do not know how easy it is to customise XFCE themes but perhaps some functionality to change window border colors (for example) could potentially seen as useful for differentiating between multiple Workstation VM.

Thank you

Xfce4 has some basic customization via settings, more advanced things can only be done via editing files.

About per Workstation customization, the Workstation does not know others VMS exist hopefully, and it can’t know which color is being used by other worskstation to not use the same color. So per vm customization is still a user task.

About changing border colors, try xfce4-appearance-settings. It will let you change to some themes.

If we are looking at the same thing xfce4-appearance-settings is a little bare in the customisations it can do. Guess someone needs to investigate how to easily patch themes to alter window-borders and other properties if desired.

Was not implying virtual machines should be aware of the state of others just a suggestion for users who understand compartmentalisation and consciously want to reduce user-error.

Thank you

@onion_knight can we have something newer/better than this package?

This package rely on gtk2 (and we have gtk4 now), and it uses gnome packages in xfce (better if possible to have clean xfce without mixed DEs inside)