Running XFCE 4.10 on Debian 7.4

The Debian 7 series (a.k.a. Wheezy or stable) repositories are currently serving the xfce4 package at version 4.8 and the upgrade to XFCE 4.10 series is not slated to occur until the next major version relase, known as Jessie or testing currently. But I want to use XFCE 4.10 now...

Luckly, there is a way for me to pick and choose certain packages from different Debian repositories, while still maintaining proper dependencies. So, here's how I installed it on Debian 7:

  1. First I installed the latest Debian stable with a default XFCE desktop. This is version 7.4 at the time of this writing. I got it here.
  2. I installed it with the Desktop, SSH, and Base System options checked.
  3. Next I booted the new Debian 7 system and logged in. I had a default Debian install with XFCE 4.8 desktop.
  4. Next I edited my sources.list file like so:

    sudo <editor-of-choice> /etc/apt/sources.list
  5. And inserted the following repository at the bottom of the sources.list file:

    deb testing main
  6. I also had to ensure that the default release in the Apt system remained configured to use wheezy. I created a file like so:

    sudo <editor-of-choice> /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/30default-release
  7. In that file I inserted the following directive:

    APT::Default-Release "wheezy";
  8. I saved and closed the files above and then ran the following:

    sudo apt-get update
  9. Then I was able to install XFCE 4.10 by issuing the following command:

    sudo apt-get -t testing install xfce4 xfce4-terminal


This is what I have done so far: I installed Debian 7 with the default XFCE 4.8 desktop. I edited the sources.list file to add a reference to the Debian testing repository. I made sure that the default Apt repository remained the stable one. Then I updated the Apt system and installed XFCE 4.10 from testing. Note that with the -t option, apt will track the package in the given release until the package version or newer is available in default release.

Let's Make it Look Better

At this point, I logged out and then back in and I had the new XFCE 4.10 desktop available. But that's not quite enough. I wanted to make it look better by installing a good looking theme. My personal favorite theme for XFCE is Greybird.

Let's dispense with the fluff and get down to just the stuff:

sudo apt-get install gtk-engine-murrine
mkdir ~/.themes
cd ~/Downloads/
git clone
cp -R Greybird ~/.themes

Then I used XFCE Settings Manager to set the Appearance and the Window Manager settings to use the new Greybird theme.

I also installed the Faenza icon theme:

mkdir ~/Downloads/faenza
cd ~/Downloads/faenza
sudo ./INSTALL

Running as sudo will install the theme globally in /usr/share/icons. Also ensure that the permissions on the Faenza folders under /usr/share/icons is properly set to drwxr-xr-x.

That's it... Enjoy!


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