Xfce 4.16 Released. This is What’s New

The lightweight desktop environment Xfce releases its latest installment Xfce 4.16 with many exciting features. Here in this post, we summarize the Xfce 4.16 release covering the brand new features, updates, and download details.

Xfce 4.16 coming after more than a year of work by the developers, testers all around the world and brings you the latest stable release. Xfce is the main lightweight desktop environment choice of many Linux distributions. So from that context, it is an important release that paves the way for many upcoming Linux distributions.

This release brings some of the major changes across libraries, packages, and user interface updates as well. Here we summarize what’s new in Xfce 4.16 release.

Xfce 4.16 pre2 in openSUSE Tumbleweed

Xfce 4.16 release – What’s New

  • From the last release of Xfce 4.14, the team started dropping support for the older version GTK2 to make way for GTK3. This release completes the dropping of the GTK2 code. So all the dependencies are not GTK version >= 3.22 in this release.
  • The settings dialog is changed to Client-Side Decoration (CSD). There are many debates around this. Many argue that the CSD changes making Xfce more “GNOME” – losing its classic look.
Xfce CSD for Settings Window
  • A brand new Default Application dialog is designed, eliminating two separate dialogs (Mime settings, and preferred applications).
Default Application Dialog
  • The Xfce desktop icon set is completely changed in Xfce 4.16 to overhaul the vial aspect of the Xfce desktop environment.
Xfce 4.16 icon set
  • Xfce 4.16 finally introduces fractional scaling for your high-resolution displays with the support of XRandR (resize and rotate). The display dialog has the 1x, 2x, 1.5x, and custom scaling options available.
Xfce Fractional Scaling
  • Xfce Panel which is the heart of Xfce desktop sees a new plugin “Status Tray” merging the statusnotifier and systray plugins. You can now change the icon size in the panel using this plugin.
New Status Tray Plugin
  • The Xfce Panel’s application context menu now has an additional option called “Launch New Instance“. Launching another instance of the running application is much easier now instead of opening from the application menu.
New Option to launch new instances
  • The panel now supports dark mode if your current theme allows it.
  • Thunar File manager sees a bunch of updates. A pause button was introduced for copy/move dialog. And finally, Thunar can remember directory view settings per directory.
Pause option in Copy Dialog
  • Improved Xfce Window manager (Xfwm4) now shows the Alt+Tab in the primary monitor for a multi-display setup.
  • Xfce Power manager sees now tiny yet powerful usability updates. A visual indicator in the panel when presentation mode is enabled and low-power notification automatically turns off when a power source is connected.
  • The About Xfce dialog shows more information about your system such as CPU name, OS info, etc.
Xfce 4.16 About with Additional Info
  • The Workspace labels can have workspace numbers beside them for easy identification. Super useful feature.
Workspaces can have numbers
  • You have configurable shortcuts as a keymap for Windows Tiling. Use Super+ Up arrow, Down Arrow, Left, and Right – to tile the windows.
  • The top Panel can have nice little animation when set to autohide.

So, these are the major changes in the Xfce 4.16 release. There are many other minor tweaks and updates as well which we will cover as a deep dive in the following days.

Having said that, how do you get the latest Xfce?


For Ubuntu (that is XUbuntu) currently have 4.14 with its release Xubutu 20.04 LTS. So, it will remain that way for its long term lifespan. However, the Xubuntu 21.04 (due on April 2021) would feature this latest Xfce desktop environment.

Linux Mint 20.1 Xfce edition features the Xfce 4.14 right now. So, wait until the packages are updated in the Mint repo.

If you use Fedora 33, then you can install the Xfce desktop environment additionally when the Fedora repositories are updated.

For Arch Linux, the pre2 release is already there in AUR. So, within a week probably the Xfce 4.16 packages will be landing in AUR. Then you can install it on top of Arch Linux as well.

The source code is available here.

Xfce 4.16 release Change log

Official announcement