An updated Xfce desktop with Twister UI

Spruced Up

© Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

© Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Article from Issue 259/2022

Twister UI modernizes the Xfce desktop, making it ideal for both new users and old hardware.

At 25 years of age, the Xfce desktop is a veritable dinosaur among Linux work environments. While this lean and fast desktop is still great when it comes to saving resources, visually, the Xfce interface is starting to show it age despite a couple of overhauls. In addition, Xfce has fallen behind KDE Plasma and Gnome in terms of configuration options. Twister UI [1] changes all that. Specially designed for Xfce, Twister UI visually enhances the Xfce desktop while showcasing the potential of this old-timer interface.


Twister UI is available for download from the Pi Labs project page [2]. The developers offer three binary packages: one for 32-bit hardware (Xubuntu/Linux Mint), and two for 64-bit environments (Xubuntu/Linux Mint and Manjaro Linux).

After downloading a package, you first need make sure that the operating system is up to date by calling the respective update manager. Then change to the Twister UI download directory and grant the downloaded file execute permission by typing:

chmod +x TwisterUI<Version>

Then begin setup with:


Because the routine downloads some elements off the web, you will need Internet access during installation. After confirming a security prompt and authenticating to escalate to admin privileges, the setup configures the software, adding new themes, fonts, and additional programs. The system then prompts you to reboot, which you do by pressing OK. The result of this prep work is a visually impressive, bright, and colorful desktop (Figure 1) with a dock at the bottom of the screen and a horizontal panel bar at the top.

Figure 1: With Twister UI's bright visuals, the Xfce desktop is virtually unrecognizable.


When you first look at the menus, which you can access by pressing the Menu button top left, you will notice a significantly larger number of applications than offered by Xfce. In particular, the Accessories, Settings, and System submenus show how Twister UI has grown the number of new applications. These new applications are not limited to Xfce programs. Gnome programs and applications developed independently of a desktop environment have also found their way into Twister UI.

In the Multimedia submenu, you can call up the fully preconfigured Kodi to turn your workstation into a media center at the push of a button. The Games submenu has also seen some additions in the form of the Lutris game browser and the Steam client. Other programs such as the internationally usable Hypnotix IPTV streaming application (Figure 2) developed for Linux Mint and the Discord client round off the entertainment segment.

Figure 2: Linux Mint comes with the Hypnotix free IPTV streaming app preinstalled.

By adding Wine, Twister UI additionally integrates a runtime environment for Windows programs. The corresponding configuration tools can be found in the System submenu. Under the Accessories submenu, you will find the Winetricks tool for customizing Wine. Under the Settings submenu, maintenance programs, such as the Restore Twister Theme Config and Restore Twister UI Splash Screen routines, will help you reconstruct your system if necessary.


In addition to the Firefox web browser already available on Ubuntu or Linux Mint, Twister UI also installs the Google Chrome browser, which comes with Google Docs Offline as an add-on. This add-on lets users edit various document formats in the browser.

Privacy-conscious users may want to remove Google's web browser because it sends data to Google without notice and without giving the user complete control. Because the LibreOffice suite is usually already available on the system and Firefox is far more friendly in terms of user data use than Chrome, the Google browser offers no additional benefits.

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