Orage and XFCE4.16

Continuing to use Orage calendar after its discontinuation, also without XFCE at all.

As always, I can only help with two distros, PCLinuxOS and MX-Linux, though the principles are much the same for many distros, you will have to adapt the part about getting Orage installed. This method will also work for non-XFCE desktops and I have used it in the past to install Orage on other desktops.

Why would I want to do this? Well, if you look at my previous article, on Linking Orage to your Google Calendar, you can see what a powerful application it is. Sadly, it is compiled to depend on the XFCE panel, with GTK-2 support, and is not being developed further. With other panels, and with XFCE’s “upgrade” to GTK-3, it will not run in the panel. What I found is, if you remove the XFCE panel dependencies, it will run on any Linux desktop using GTK-2 libraries.


MX-Linux (v19) is still using XFCE4.14, but when I posted to their page about the future of Orage in the next release (v20), it seems that they are thinking along the same lines as I am, and will remove the XFCE panel dependencies. So that will do the trick! This will allow it to run only as a standalone application. You’ll need to ensure that xfce4-genmon-plugin is installed if you’re using XFCE and want to install it to the panel.


PCLinuxOS upgraded to XFCE4.16, and Orage disappeared from their repositories. I had already saved the rpm from the previous version. I have uploaded it here for sharing. In order to install it, you need to download it to a folder on your drive. Open a terminal as root and cd to that folder.

Run synaptic and ensure the following packages are installed:
 lib64icalss2, lib64wnck3_0, libwnck3 and (if you are using XFCE and want to attach it to the panel) xfce4-genmon-plugin
Close synaptic before continuing.

In your root terminal run the following lines:

rpm -ivh --nodeps orage-4.12.1-14pclos2019.x86_64.rpm
rpm -e --justdb orage

The first line installs orage without complaining about missing dependencies. This breaks synaptic, so the second line removes orage from its database but leaves the actual files in place.

Running Without XFCE

You can run Orage as an application, but read on if you want to attach it to the XFCE panel. If your other desktop allows you to attach any program file to the Time/Date function on its panel, you just need to create the script orage-flip in the next section, and use that as the program.

Adding Orage to the XFCE4.16 panel

For this, you’ll need to write a couple of scripts. Put them in the folder /usr/local/bin — you’ll need to be root.

First script should be called orage-flip

pidof orage >/dev/null && orage -t || orage

The second script should be called orage-cal

echo "<txt><b>`date +%H:%M:%S`</b>"
echo "<span size='x-small'>  `date +%d/%m/%Y`</span></txt><txtclick>orage-flip</txtclick>"
echo "<tool>Weekday: `date +%A`"
echo "Week №: `date +%U`"
echo "Day of Year: `date +%j`</tool>"

You may wish to change the Time and Date layouts to match your locale.

On the second echo line, you can see that there are a couple of spaces. This is because text alignment doesn’t work in GenMon, and it’s left-aligned by default. I raised this issue on the XFCE web site, and they said that a future update will center-align multi-line texts in GenMon, so you may need to delete these spaces at some stage. Note also that the second line continues as far as </txtclick>”.

Install a “Generic Monitor” on your panel, it will be in the “Add New Apps” list for your XFCE panel. Right click on the installed panel item, and complete it as follows:

Command: orage-cal
Label: leave unchecked
Period(s): 1.00

Set the font according to taste. I have my Panel height set to 36 points, and the font Bitstream Vera Sans 12 fits just perfectly.

Whenever you click on your new GenMon in the panel, orage will run if not already running, or close if it is.

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