Recently Mint 18.1 was released, so I decided it might be time to try KDE with Plasma 5 again.
It didn't take long to discover that this latest Plasma workspace is still almost useless on Linux with certain hardware. It leaves mouse trails all over the screen when certain programs are open, especially the Dolphin file manager, and has a number of other annoyances. As mentioned in a previous post, I like to use different wallpapers on my workspaces and this is still absent from the latest Plasma. So while I was being frustrated I decided to visit an old friend.
XFCE has been around for a long time, and I used to use it on things like low powered computer and netbooks. Since the current multimedia computer is a Gigabyte BRiX BACE3150, I thought I might have a look at Mint 18.1 XFCE edition, just for fun.
Now the BRiX has some shortcomings, and one of them is the Intel HD Graphics on board. I'm not impressed that in some operations in one of my most frequently used programs, Libreoffice Draw, I cannot work with graphics. Almost every other program works fine. GIMP and Darktable, even Openshot for video editing. But LibreOffice cannot resize a simple 150kb PNG logo.
So now we come to the subject of this post. With XFCE I can have my different wallpaper on each desktop. But with that I am so used to simply scrolling my mouse wheel on a blank area of the desktop to switch desktops.
Now installing a pager in the panel allows mousewheel switching, but that doesn;t solve the problem.
Luckily there is something called 'Window Manager Tweaks' built into Mint 18.1 XFCE.
And under the 'Workspaces' tab, right at the top is what we are looking for.
Now something else I discovered years ago is that I hate having to change the size of an open window to give myself a spot to scroll on. That sort of defeats the purpose.
So I got into the habit of creating a little panel on the right (if you are left handed you'd probably do it on the other side) and when a window is maximized, it leaves a little strip down that side for me to scroll on.
When I am in KDE I have a few odd launchers on that panel, but this install of XFCE only has the bare panel. Here's how it looks. The small vertical grey rectangle to the right of 'bookmarks'.
Before I found the 'Tweak' settings I had a Workplace Switcher' in that little side panel, and had the panel positioned about half way down the right hands side where I could conveniently scroll on it with the mouse.
That would still work for anyone with a desktop that doesn'e allow desktop scrolling to change workspaces.