My desktop setup in Debian


2018-04-28 Added more packages I use and new settings I do (reinstalled machine)

In this post I show the applications and settings I commonly use for my local development machine.

Operating System: GNU/Linux - Debian Stretch

Dektop Manager: xfce4

Frequently Used Applications

This is the list of application I frequently use and try to have them installed after I have a fresh computer. Some applications are general purpose and others are related with programming, things I investigate, my job and personal projects.

  • Gnome file roller allows the user to compress filesfile-roller
  • Font Viewer helps install fonts gnome-font-viewer
  • Google Chrome
  • Terminal music player mocp
  • Vim editor, command line text editorvim
  • Build essentials build-essential
  • SublimeText3 text editor I use for almost everything.
  • Emacs text editor I use for certain things emacs
  • Redshift helps me change my monitor temperature redshift
  • Kazam desktop recording kazam
  • Kupfer similar to Spotlight that allows me to lauch application the easy way kupfer
  • Shutter for screenshots shutter
  • Vector graphics editor inkscape
  • Gnome Hex Editor ghex
  • Meld to compare differences between two files meld
  • Armagetron, Tron based game armagetronad
  • DOSBox emulator for old DOS games dosbox
  • Missing drivers firmware-linux-free firmware-linux-nonfree
  • Ristretto Image viewer
  • Ettercap
  • Transmission torrent client transmission
  • Wireshark to see network traffic wireshark
  • Slack messaging, I personally use the web version but when I need to share my screen I’m force to use the desktop verison.
  • Pavu Controller for audio configuration pavucontrol
  • VLC Media Player vlc
  • Evince PDF viewer evince
  • xCHM .chm files viewer xchm
  • Utility to manage disks gparted
  • Hardware information hardinfo
  • Docker Community Edition
  • NodeJs

This is another list of application I use frequently in the terminal.

  • Terminal multiplexer tmux
  • htop ncurses-based process viewer htop
  • Track system calls of a process strace
  • HTTP client curl
  • DNS utils dnsutils
  • Install always sudo
  • Compress utils zip

Of course there are other packets for specific very specific things that I install when required.


I use XFCE4 with two panels both on the top section of the screen. The first one contains the applications menu with the Debian logo; a separator with transparency enabled that extends; list of opened windos; another transparent separator that extends. The second panel has these items: workspace areas four workspace area in two rows (2x2); a CPU usage viewr; notification are; plugin for PulseAudio; and the date-time plugin.

First panel has a dark background while the other uses the style that comes by default.

Look and feel

For my look and feel settings I use the next:

  • Numix Light icons that are installed with numix-icon-theme
  • Adwaita window theme
  • Default font: Sans (10) with antialiasing enabled Slight and DPI set to 101.

Extra Tweaks

I don’t like the Windows Switcher (alt + tab) that comes with XFCE4 by default, it is too big with a preview of each window. I prefer to have small icons without the name of the window or things like that. With a couple of changes I can get that by going to: Settings > Window Manager Tweaks and select the Cycling tab and unselect Cycle through windows in a list and finally in the Compositor tab unselect Show windows preview in place of icons when cylcing.


I have some hotkeys configure in XFCE4 for common tasks I do. To configure hotkeys in XFCE4 go to Settings > Keyboard > Application Shortcuts tab. My common hotkeys are:

Hotkey Comando Descripción
win_key + f thunar Open Thunar file manager
win_key + t /usr/bin/xfce4-terminal Open a new terminal
win_key + n mocp --next Next song in MOC player
win_key + b mocp --previous Previous song in MOC player
win_key + o mocp --pause Paus the actual song in MOC player
win_key + p mocp --unpause Continue playing song in MOC player

Other hotkeys: This is not an XFCE4 hotkey but I use it frequently ctrl + shift + space that launches Kupfer.



I use xfce4-terminal with the next settings in ~/.config/xfce4/terminal/terminalrc`.


By default Bash comes with a prompt similar to usuario@host:directorio-actual. In my case I use a lot of Git repositories, this default prompt is not good enough for me as I need to check the current branch, if there are conflicts or unstaged changes, etc. Of course I can run git status but the prompt can help me with that 😉. This is the script I export in .bashrc, that basically shows repository information, current directory and the time. Thanks to Mike Stewart who is the original author of that script.

I tried to use zsh and its frameworks but I didn’t feel comfortable and it was kind of hard getting used to it, so the simplest way for me was having a custom prompt light and simple. Fortunately there were so many resources available on the Internet so it wasn’t a pain.

Dot env settings

Tmux settings

I started using Tmux sing Debian Wheezy but when I upgraded to Debian Jessie I had some problems with the current working directory when creating new panels. This is the .tmux.conf I use.

MOC Player Settings

Because MOC is a CLI tool I think it fits in this section. I use two files .moc/config and another one for the theme. Both can be found here.

Final Comments

Although this configurations are more for my personal usage, I wrote this post with the purpose to read if I forget something and shared in case it is useful for a reader.