Types of Linux desktop environment Sitemap Back
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Desktop in software terms, is the screen that you see when you log into windows. The desktop is very important because it is user-freindly with an interface that makes it very easy for the user to communicate with the computer. In short it makes life easy for the user by removing the need to type long command and having to remember the command. Linux operating system has many selection of desktops. A few popular ones are Gnome and KDE which are found in most Linux distributions. Others are LXDE, Openbox and Xfce in Fedora 15, Unity in Ubuntu 11.04, , ,
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The most important feature about desktop is the panel that you see either on top or at the bottom of the screen. This is the panel is used to put menu to show other applications, icons for launching other applications and to show what softwares are opened at the moment.

The second important feature is the icons that are displayed on the screen outside the panel. This icons are link to programs that you usually use. Users can also add icons which link to other programs that you frequently use by dragging the programs to the empty space on the desktop.

These items make it easier for the user to call, see, and search for programs that they use frequently.

Apart from ease of use, users can create their own desktop outlook to their own taste. Users can have different 'wallpapers' which is the background of the desktop. Users can also have their own 'screensaver' when it is not in use.

Users can also have a blank (black) 'screensaver' to protect the monitor from over heating. Energy saving mode can be used to reduce electricity cost and protecting the hardware system too. The length of inactive time before the monitor and system will go to sleep can be selected by users.

All these makes the desktop easily customise to suit its users and user-friendly.

The panels can be situated at different position on the screen in all the desktop environments that have panels. Users can also put icons for these environments too.

Gnome is my favourite desktop environment on Linux operating system. I have been using it since I started using Linux operating system about 10 years ago and like it very much. I find it very customable and easy to use. However, I find Gnome 3 with it new outlook released in 2011 recently a little ackward and unfriendly.
Gnome 2.30 upon log-in on Mandriva 2010S   Gnome  upon log-in on openSuse 11.4   Gnome  upon log-in on Ubuntu 11.04   
Gnome 3 desktop upon log-in on Fedora 15   Gnome 3 desktop when clicked activities button on Fedora 15   Gnome 3 desktop when clicked applications button on Fedora 15   
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KDE desktop environment, you can say is the most popular desktop on Linux operating system. Most end-users like KDE because it has many software that were built on it, from application software to system software. For those who like games, KDE has many games software in its distribution disk.
KDE desktop upon log-in on openSuse12_1   KDE desktop with a few windows opened on openSuse12_1   

LXDE desktop environment is seldom used because it has less software built on it. However, most if not all the softwares built for Gnome and KDE can be used on LXDE too. LXDE has capabilities and a look which are almost similar to Gnome (below version 3) and KDE.
LXDE desktop upon log-in on Fedora 15   LXDE desktop with a few windows opened on Fedora 15   

Openbox desktop environment is different from the rest of the desktop environments mentioned here. It is empty upon log-in except it wallpaper (background). To use it, you have to right click the mouse to open its main menu. Openbox is not user-friendly and cannot customise its outlook.
Openbox desktop upon log-in on Fedora 15   Openbox desktop with a few windows opened on Fedora 15   

Xfce desktop environment is also seldom used just like LXDE. It is also like LXDE in the sense that most if not all the softwares built for Gnome and KDE can be used on it, has capabilities and a look which are almost similar to Gnome (below version 3) and KDE. Note : I put the Take Screenshot icon on the desktop.
Xfce desktop upon log-in on Fedora 15   Xfce desktop with a few windows opened on Fedora 15   

Unity desktop environment is the latest desktop software used by Ubuntu. Unity has a panel with clock, log-in person, shutdown button and sound icon at the top left of screen. On the right top is the Ubuntu icon which show a few categories such as ... Its icon panel on the left is auto-hide when there is a window opened and over-lapped its area.
Unity desktop upon log-in on Ubuntu   Unity desktop with a few windows opened on Ubuntu   Unity desktop with a few windows opened on Ubuntu   

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