XFCE4 Screen Flicker Switching Desktops [SOLVED]
By Roger Keays, 5 March 2016
I just finished install Debian 8.3 on my new laptop. I'm using the XFCE4 desktop environment because I don't want any of that fancy 3D crap that is all the rage nowadays. All I need is a dozen workspaces, and shortcut keys to switch between them.
XFCE4 does the job perfectly. It's light and fast, and doesn't get in your way. One problem I found with the new installation, is a screen flicker when switching between desktops. Many users wouldn't notice it, but because nearly all my applications run in a black text terminal, that flash of white as the screen redraws is really disturbing.
The problem is reported on the GTK mailing list with no solution. I did figure out a workaround though. The flicker is caused by the window manager redrawing the window background. To do this, it uses the theme colours. All you need to do is select a black theme, and the redraw becomes barely noticable.
XFCE4 comes with one dark theme, called 'xfce4-dusk' (select it in Applications > Settings > Appearance). It doesn't have a black window background, but it is close. I edited the theme to make it a pure black background, which reduces the problem as much as possible. Also, the dark theme is easier on the eyes when using Gnome-GTK applications.
To change the background colour, edit /usr/share/themes/Xfce-dusk/gtk-2.0/gtkrc as root, and look for the following block:
bg[ACTIVE] = "#151515" bg[INSENSITIVE] = "#303030" #bg[NORMAL] = "#232323" bg[NORMAL] = "#000000" bg[PRELIGHT] = "#003263" bg[SELECTED] = "#002849"
You can see the change I made above.
This trick really makes a difference on my eyes. I spend about 9 hours a day looking at this screen. The last thing I need is things flashing at me.
I hope this helps you solve whatever problem bought you here.XFCE4 Screen Flicker Switching Desktops [SOLVED]
Roger Keays is an artist, an engineer, and a student of life. Since he left Australia in 2009, he has been living as a digital nomad in over 40 different countries around the world. Roger is addicted to surfing. His other interests are music, psychology, languages, and finding good food.
Please visit https://rogerkeays.com/xfce4-screen-flicker-switching-desktops-solved to add your comments.
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