My Xubuntu Customization Guide

Show Your Desktop Friday used to be pretty popular in open source groups, but it’s popularity has declined in recent months. Let’s fix that.

My Xubuntu Customization Guide



  • Distribution: Xubuntu 17.04
  • Desktop Environment: Xfce
  • Window Manager: Xfwm4
  • Dock: Plank



  • Default: Fira Sans Book 10 (GitHub, PPA)
  • Window Manager: Fira Sans SemiBold 10
  • Monospace: Ubuntu Mono (Launchpad)


Convict Lake. Autumn View (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, Clint Sharp)

Panel Plugins

  • Whisker Menu (Homepage)
  • AppMenu Plugin (See WebUpd8 for details and PPA)
  • Notification Area
  • Power Manager Plugin
  • Indicator Plugin
  • Clock
  • Weather Update
  • System Load Monitor
  • Show Desktop


# Papirus Icon Theme PPA
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:papirus/papirus

# Fira Fonts PPA
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bluesabre/fonts

# WebUpd8 MATE PPA (Contains AppMenu plugin)
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/mate

# Update Your Repositories...
sudo apt update

# ... And Install!
sudo apt install breeze-cursor-theme greybird-gtk-theme papirus-icon-theme fonts-fira-sans xfce4-vala-appmenu-plugin unity-gtk3-module unity-gtk2-module appmenu-qt appmenu-qt5

# Enable the AppMenu plugin
xfconf-query -c xsettings -p /Gtk/ShellShowsMenubar -n -t bool -s true
xfconf-query -c xsettings -p /Gtk/ShellShowsAppmenu -n -t bool -s true

# Restart, configure your panel, and tweak your settings in the settings manager

Tips & Tricks

  • Adwaita uses a white panel by default in Xfce. Use gtk-theme-config to make the panel dark again
  • With GTK+ 3, you can force applications to load with a dark theme by setting the GTK_THEME environment variable, for example: GTK_THEME=Adwaita:dark
  • You can take this one step further and use the CSD titlebars by setting the GTK_CSD environment variable, for example: GTK_CSD=1
  • If you want to use these variables in a launcher, fire up MenuLibre and prepend env GTK_CSD=1 GTK_THEME=Adwaita:dark to the executable line

Additional Screenshots