Cannot install XFCE

When following the instructions to install XFCE alongside an already installed desktop (in this case gnome) I get the following error:

error: target not found: xfce4-gtk3
error: target not found: xfce4-notifyd-gtk3
error: target not found: xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin-gtk3

There is this from some years ago but I can’t find more info

The wiki is old - the names of the packages have changed in the meantime.
Lose the -gtk3 endings of these package names.

gtk4 is what is used by xfce today


was probably the name of the whole package group, pulling in everything needed for xfce4 - but it does not exist anymore

As almost always: the Arch wiki is likely to be the better (and up to date) resource.

means: that filename does not exist (not anymore, in this case) or you spelled the name wrong

Not correct.

The regular XFCE packages now use gtk3.

The reason there was -gtk3 version of XFCE packages, was that it was a test of gtk3 support from when the main packages where still using gtk2.

My bad!
I should have checked - a look into the pacman cache would have been enough to notice the error in my assumption.

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Leave out the -gtk3 endings from the packages, and you should be fine.
Opening pamac (install/delete software) from menu, on the left side you

  • groups - (scroll down to xfce4 and xfce4-goodies)

make your choice.

Thanks for the answers, I did install all the packages

sudo pacman -S xfce4 xfce4-goodies xfce4-terminal network-manager-applet xfce4-notifyd xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin tumbler engrampa

But now when I try to log into an XFCE session it shows nothing, only a black screen. There may be another more updated source for this procedure?

Try creating a new user and log in it in XFCE only. There are commonly reported issues to share multiple desktops with a single user, so at least here we’ll see if a XFCE default session is correctly initialized.

Maybe this:

GDM - ArchWiki

I don’t use Gnome but would check for this.

Isn’t Wayland the default mode? - which will not work for Xfce

Same behaviour, I created another user and as I tried to log in for the first time (directly with xfce) the screen went black.

Did you check whether it might be enough to just change from the default Wayland to the Xorg backend?
Xfce will not work in Wayland session.

Sorry, I forgot to answer it too. Yes, I desabled Wayland as it is explaind in your link, it didn’t work either


… I was going to ask for the result of that command - it is x11 and that’s o.k.

I just installed Manjaro Gnome in a VM,
updated it,
rebooted afterwards

and then installed exactly what you did:

sudo pacman -Syu xfce4 xfce4-goodies xfce4-terminal network-manager-applet xfce4-notifyd xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin tumbler engrampa

I logged out.
In the login screen that follows
bottom right,
there is a gear like icon - it appears once you pick a user name, to get asked for the password …

… it appears only after you choose (click on) the username

there you choose the session you want to login to.

I chose Xfce - and was promptly logged in to a default (pretty ugly) Xfce desktop.
(but that appearance can be easily changed)

I assume you did the same?

… of course you have to pick the session you want, now that you have the choice between two …

I think you did that, reading back through the thread.

Gnome session still works?
but Xfce session doesn’t?

Exactly, I did those steps but I never get to see the xfce desktop, it just stalls in a black screen. Gnome session still works.

I’m sorry - I will not and can not debug this remotely.

It obviously just works for me.
as is to be expected

There are all kinds of log files that you could find clues in
why the xfce session will not start

Go through them.

Ok thanks, could you point to me some of those log files?

there is ~/.xsession-errors
there is journalctl
there is dmesg

you can go to a TTY and there run:

sudo dmesg -w
journalctl -f

to see live what messages are coming in

Gnome even has a GUI log viewer preinstalled, as far as I know …

I’d rather make a choice - do I want Gnome or do I want Xfce?

If not satisfied (and even annoyed, as I was) with Gnome - Xfce it is then.
I have not regretted it in several years.

I would not try to convert Gnome to Xfce - especially not when faced with even more problems than I already had.
I’d clean install …

You could try to disable GDM
and install lightdm instead

You decide if it is worth the time and effort.

It’s not that much, actually - but only if you already know what you are doing.
Which is unlikely. No offense intended. :wink: