Linux – Desktop Environments

So you’ve made the switch to Linux. Whoopee. Now you get a plethora of choices! In this 2-part series, I’ll give get you right into customizing Linux – at least using default choices. Next post on this will be about OSes, but this one will be about desktop environments.

What are desktop environments?

Well thank you for asking ! According to Wikipedia, “In computing, a desktop environment is an implementation of the desktop metaphor made of a bundle of programs running on top of a computer operating system, which share a common graphical user interface, sometimes described as a graphical shell.” Now you are probably asking, “Well what the f*** does that mean???” Well I’m glad you asked again! Basically, it is the way your desktop looks and how programs interact with it. Its pretty simple really 😛

Which ones are they and which should I use?

I will be using this and my own personal experience as my sources.

Well, the most I will be covering are…


Gnome is wildly popular, as it is powerful, free, simple, and open source. It is popular among new users, and is wildly supported. Plasma

The KDE desktop is well known, and stunning in it’s own right. What I like about it is how it is widget enabled, like Windows 7, making it very easy to get key information.


The Cinnamon desktop is a fork of GNOME 3, and is great to ease a Windows user into Linux. While originally for Linux Mint, it now works with any distro.


MATE is an extension of GNOME 2 and is easy and intuitive to use. It is also the default for Linux Mint alongside Cinnamon.


Unity is a desktop shell made for the popular distro Ubuntu. It is very “pleasing to the eye,” but is not an actual desktop environment. It is more of an interface for GNOME 3.

Unity Desktop


This desktop environment is easy to use, very lightweight, modern, fast, and open source. It is also seen in Mac OS X, *BSD, Solaris, and many other UNIX based systems.


This desktop environment is great, but even more lightweight. This makes it popular with many cloud services and servers.


Pantheon is a simple and beautiful desktop environment, made for the Elementary OS distro. It is great for easing Mac OS X users into Linux.


One of my 2 personal favorites, Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE) is simple and elegant, increasing productivity. If you like style, go with this one.


The default desktop environment of Solus, this desktop environment is simple and modern. It is minimal, and is also the second of my personal favorites!


Enlightenment was originally a windows manager, but grew into a full blown desktop environment. Also, the developers made some useful libraries for making programs… so yeah.

What’s next?

Well, part two will be the distribution to use 🙂