When I attempt to start the compositing manager from withing the settings manager, the visual appearances changes in that the desktop is rendered in parts as gray, where the color will "tear" when the windows are moved around on it. Compositing manager or no, the desktop will also fail to render, and does not respond when clicked on. The attempt to start the compositing manager takes many seconds, and the startup time of XFCE is significantly slower than 4.4.0, too--perhaps due to this error.
This is on Ubuntu 8.04, running on a ThinkPad X60T, which has Intel 950 integrated graphics. XFCE 4.4.0 would run compositing fine, as does Gnome.
That's at a high probability that xfdesktop isn't running. Start it and you will have a background + a right/middle click menu.
I invite you close this bug (which was more a question for the xfce user mailing list btw).
It's unclear where responsibility lies in this behaviour. Mike suggests there was an issue in how the session was set up and it's virtually impossible to triage bugs that occurred in 2008. I suggest this report be closed.
If you experience similar issues on the latest Xfce version on a vanilla Linux, please open a new bug. If you are using distributions with significant amounts of patches (e.g., Ubuntu, Debian), please report the bug to your distribution first so they can ensure your session is set up as expected and verify their patches.
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