GUI for Linux desktop

One of the advantages of distributions is written on the Linux kernel, is considered the variety of desktop environments. Various companies have developed a number of graphical shells, sharpened by each group of users and to perform certain tasks. In most of the platforms already installed one of these shells, but many are willing to try something new or get lost when choosing the build environment desktop. Today we’d like to talk about the most popular shells, affecting their basic features.


First talk is about GNOME, one of the most popular standard solutions for many distributions such as Debian or Ubuntu. Perhaps the main feature of this shell today — optimized control for touch devices. However, this does not negate the fact that the main interface is also performed at a high level, is considered quite attractive and comfortable. Now the standard file Manager Nautilus stands, allowing the preview of text files, audio, video and images.

Among the default applications in GNOME there is a terminal emulator, gedit text editor, browser Web (Epiphany). In addition, there is a program on email management, media player, the tool for viewing images and a set of graphical tools for administration. On the down side of this desktop environment, among them we can mention the need for extra item Tweak Tool to customize the appearance, and also consumed a lot of RAM.


KDE is not just a desktop environment, but a set of many programs, where is the shell called Plasma. KDE is considered the most customizable and flexible solution that will benefit the users from completely different categories. Take for example, the same GNOME, which we already told earlier, — he, like a couple of other shells for customizing the appearance of an extra tool. In this solution all you need is already there in the menu “system Settings”. There’s also available the download and installation of widgets, Wallpapers and themes directly from Windows, without first running a web browser.

With KDE you get a core set of software, and some of them only applies to this shell and not in others, for example, the torrent client KTorrent or video editor Kdenlive. Such features often play a major role in the selection. Users wishing to obtain all the necessary and fully operational immediately after installation, we strongly recommend you read it with this option. However, it is not without its drawbacks. For example, appropriate global graphical great consumption of system resources and complexity in the management of defined parameters for novice users. Platforms OpenSUSE and Kubuntu KDE is installed by default and is immediately ready for full operation.


The two previous solutions consume a lot of RAM and high CPU load, since there exists a variety of effects and animations. The LXDE desktop environment is focused just on a small consumption of system resources and is installed as standard in the popular easy Assembly Lubuntu. Running a shell in a modular fashion where each component is independent from each other and may operate separately. This simplifies the procedure of porting to different platforms. Speaking of operating systems: LXDE supported by virtually all existing distributions.

Included with the shell is a set of standard apps — terminal emulator, window and file Manager, archiver, text editor, program for image viewer, multimedia player and various tools for configuring the system. As for the controls, even a novice user can easily deal with him, but some appearance LXDE seems unattractive. However, it is understood that the decision was made towards the provision of maximum performance.


Starting a theme of light skin, not to mention Xfce. The owners of Manjaro Linux based on Arch Linux, by default, receive this decision. Like the previous desktop environment, Xfce is focused on high speed and ease of use. However, in this case the appearance is made more attractive way, and like most users. In addition, Xfce no problems with compatibility on older processors that will allow you to use a shell on any device.

All functional components, e.g., system settings, rendered as a separate application, that is, there is implemented a modular system. This approach allows the flexibility to configure the shell by itself, having to edit each instrument separately. As in other solutions, Xfce has gathered a number of standard software and utilities, such as the session Manager, the settings Manager, Search application, power Manager. Among the additional software includes a calendar, a video and audio player, editor and recorder drives. Perhaps the only significant disadvantage of this environment is just a small number of standard components compared to other solutions.


The time, MATE was a fork of GNOME 2 which is now not supported and whose code has been reworked considerably. Added a lot of new functions and changed appearance. Developers shell have focused on new users, trying to simplify the management within the desktop environment. Therefore, MATE can be considered one of the lightest shells. By default, this environment is installed only in special versions of Ubuntu MATE, but also sometimes found in other editions of the operating systems. Considering also refers to a number of light shells, not consuming many system resources.

A set of applications — standard, and based on the kit from the same GNOME 2. However, some tools are implemented in the form of forks is they took the codebase of the open provision and slightly modified the creators of the desktop environment. So, known to many editor gedit is called Pluma in MATE and contains some differences. This environment is still under development, updates are released quite often, errors are immediately corrected, and the functionality is expanding.


Users who choose Linux to replace Windows often find advice on the choice of not only the first platform for consultation, but the best graphical shell. Most often Cinnamon is mentioned because its implementation is similar to the desktop environment of Windows and quite easy to learn for new users. Originally, this environment only applies to Linux Mint, but then it became public and now compatible with many Linux distributions. In Cinnamon contains a number of configurable elements, the same Windows, panels, appearance Manager, and additional parameters.

The main part of the standard applications migrated from GNOME 3 because Cinnamon was based on the code base of this shell. However, the creators of Linux Mint added a number of proprietary software to extend the functionality of the environment. Significant disadvantages of the Cinnamon, except that some users are experiencing with the emergence of small failures that may be associated with the use of certain parts or problems in the functioning of the operating system itself.


There is a known distribution Solus. A development company in parallel with the platform engaged in the creation and support of GUI Budgie. Accordingly, this desktop environment installed in it by default. The emphasis is primarily made on the beautiful appearance and ease of use for new users. The basis of Budgie was taken from GNOME technology, which allows integration with the stack of the shell. Separately want to note the side panel Raven. Through it made the transition to all menus, applications and settings, and from this we can conclude that the Raven is one of the most detailed panels.

In 2019 still new versions of Budgie, where refined various aspects and correct errors. For example, in early versions often had an abnormal shutdown of the operating system, but now this problem is successfully disposed of. Of the minuses can be noted a small number of virtual desktops and a limited number of formal distributions with this cover: now there are only Gecko Linux, Manjaro Linux, Ubuntu and Solus Budgie.


The project is positioned as the Enlightenment window Manager. At the moment there are three relevant parts of this sheath: DR16 — slightly old-fashioned option, DR17 — the latest stable build and the EFL (Enlightenment Foundation Libraries) is a separate library to support the work of the above assemblies. The Manager does not occupy much space on your hard drive and is focused on high performance. Is standard in MoonOS, Bodhi Linux and OpenGEU.

I want to note a well-developed system of registration of the edited animation of all design elements, enhanced support for virtual desktops and view of options processing in a single binary code for ease of reading and displaying. Unfortunately, to start the window Manager Enlightenment is not so many apps, so most of them will have to install yourself.


When you create the IceWM developers have focused on the minimal consumption of system resources and flexible customization of the shell. This Manager will be the best option for those users who want to set all parameters via environment configuration files. One of the features of IceWM is a full comfortable control without the use of a computer mouse.

IceWM is not suitable for novice users and those who want to immediately ready to work GUI. Here you’ll have to configure everything manually, creating special files in the directory ~/.icewm. All user configuration looks like that:

  • menu — items and menu structure;
  • toolbar — add buttons start on the task bar;
  • preferences — configure the General parameters window Manager;
  • keys — extra shortcuts;
  • winoptions rules management applications.
  • startup — executable file that will run when the computer is turned on.

Today we had examined only nine desktop environments for Linux distributions based on Linux. Of course, this is not a complete list, because now there are lots of different branches and Assembly environments. We tried to tell about the best and most popular of them. For installation in the first place, it is recommended to pick up the finished version of the OS installed the necessary shell. If this is not possible, all the necessary information on the installation environment is in the official documentation or the platform used.


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