Which Linux desktop environment do you prefer?

With so many different choices available, there's sure to be a Linux desktop environment that meets your needs.
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Your desktop environment defines your Linux experience. It's no surprise that many people have developed strong opinions about which environment works best for them.

When we asked this question a couple of years ago, GNOME was the clear winner with KDE in a not-too-distant second. But there were still many users of alternative desktop environments among our readers.

Which desktop environment do you prefer, and why? Let us know in the poll, and tell us the reasons in the comments below.

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Jason was an Opensource.com staff member and Red Hatter from 2013 to 2022. This profile contains his work-related articles from that time. Other contributions can be found on his personal account.


At work (computer science) I use : ratpoison

ratposion (tiled WM, excellent for anything that can be operated via mouse)



Been an Enlightenment guy for a long time now. Still am. :)

My first love was KDE 3.x. After the KDE 4,x bugfest was introduced, I switched to Gnome 2.x.
After Gnome 3.x went with a smartphone/tablet interface, I switched to Cinnamon.
Cinnamon is both classic and elegant, and does not cripple functionality (Gnome) or get carried away with customization settings or rapid changes, causing bugs (KDE).

I also like XFCE as my 2nd choice, and MATE as my 3rd.

Well, might not qualify as a DE but I use dwm, http://dwm.suckless.org/. For many years I ran mostly Xfce, which I still install as a base on most systems. However, I have been trying out Gnome on my latest Fedora experiment.

This is always a difficult decision and one I usually cannot stick with for long .. :) If I don't change distro, sometimes I'll just change the desktop environment.

I tend to go between Gnome, Xfce and KDE.

In Gnome I like the Online Account (theoretically, haven't gotten it to fully work yet, but that is coming to KDE as well soon).

KDE is nice and I was surprised when KDE neon clocked in around 700MB when idling. Just some of the apps don't work how I like them compared to some GTK applications.

Unfortunately my systems are not getting any younger so Xfce is my fallback. It's lighter than even KDE (at around 500MB), uses the familiar GTK apps and is more customizable than either of the other two.

Then again, if somebody gave me a more powerful system than I currently have and it came with a distro and a desktop then I would go with THAT for a while.

Xfce: light-weight, keyboard-driven, desktop environment with enough desktop.

Xfce. It's light-weight, keyboard friendly.

I use i3 on the Manjaro i3 version

awesomewm. Very configurable.

I really love Gnome but as my system has low resources I'd rather use Awesome. Awesome is keyboard-friendly and light so I'm happy with it as well.

KDE. Lets me configure more on my system than and other DE.

LXQt and I also use LXDE for all systems.

I like Gnome but really liked Red Hat's Bluecurve https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluecurve. It was part of Red Hat 8 and 9 which predated Fedora and according to Wikipedia remained part of the earlier versions of Fedora.

Since I'm blind, I either use the Gnome Desktop or just use the command-line when I use Linux. The Gnome desktop has built-in accessibility including the Orca screen reader. For those that don't know, a screen reader is a program that reads aloud what a sighted person would normally see on a computer screen.

I voted KDE, but I frequently use Fluxbox + KDE apps. That pretty much IS Linux to me.

Plasma 5 (KDE) for me, I never liked GTK/GNOME and I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to my desktop/laptop :)

That said, I used to use Gnome 0.x/1.x with Enlightenment as a WM when I first started with Linux. I also enjoyed AfterSetp and WindoMaker, and trying other DEs and WMs.

Now I'm old and boring so I stick with what I'm familiar with :)

Openbox or on ancient devices Joe's Window Manager.

I used to love Gnome 2. It was my only choice back in the day. When they made the announcement that they were going to redo Gnome and make it "better", I was extremely excited. I waited impatiently for it to be released just like everyone else did. On the day they released the preview, I downloaded it immediately and tried it. After about 3 minutes of using it, my heart sank. I had trouble navigating it, I didn't like the vertical desktop switcher, was upset about all the changes because none of them were intuitive. I'm a mouse user. Gnome 3 was more suited for tablets in my opinion. Gnome 3 didn't flow with my work style. I am someone that opens 1000 tabs and programs, and as I complete each task, I close the program or tab. I like being able to click and switch by going down to the task bar. I tried getting used to Gnome 3, but found that I was less productive and wasted so much time flipping through programs instead of getting work done. I was never able to get used to it.
Then came Cinnamon. It was everything I thought Gnome 3 was going to be. I was so happy for Cinnamon. I still use it today, on Fedora. So now I have the best of both worlds. I have Cinnamon on an RPM system.

Deepin :)

Same here :D
Once tasted, you'll never go back.
Available with DeepinDeepin (of course) & Manjaro.
Ubuntu & other Debian basée distros port pending..

In reply to by Darjan (not verified)

Deepin here, too.

In reply to by Darjan (not verified)

It depends on the computer I work on.
A relative powered computer (my desktop) has cinnamon, My old rusty netbook (with ssd still going strong) uses xfce. My laptop ment for experiments budgie.

Trinity TDE.

Happy Trinity user here. I got on the KDE bandwagon with 0.99, kept it through 1.1 and as far as 3.5 because it worked with my workflows. KDE4 didn't, so I grabbed the TDE fork of KDE3.5 instead.

Xfce with Whisker menu (using Xubuntu as a starting point) -- the others either seem to prevent me from achieving the layout/features/look I want or to involve considerably more configuration.

I prefer i3wm with some KDE or Gnome applets. I dont know if it is a Desktop Enviroment but it works.

Cinnamon on Korora 25 (spin of Fedora) for me. Xfce for the older systems.

I prefer i3 or openbox ... xmonad and awesome are also acceptable


I am not using any desktop environment. I am using the tiling manager "awesome" and add individual programs to get a usable environment :D

The ultimate custom desktop environment on my Linux desktop:

OpenBox + Tint + ROX-Filer

It's light, fast, secure, & contains eye-candy.

Glad to see a couple of other other TDE (Trinity Desktop Environment) users here. Its a familiar KDE environment that's lightweight enough to run well on a Raspberry Pi.

Plasma 5 by KDE all the way. No other desktop comes even close to Plasma when it comes to features and configurability It also looks the best to me.

The ultimate custom desktop environment on my Linux desktop:

OpenBox + Tint + ROX-Filer

It's light, fast, secure, & contains eye-candy.

deepin desktop environment :)

Just i3 or OpenBox

KDE Plasma 5 works best for me. Very customizeable, you can make it pretty sleek and have it out of your way.

Nevertheless I am playing with the thought of trying a window manager like Way Cooler at some point.

i3wm works well for me - uncluttered, good documentation and easy to use once set up.

Was a Gnome fan and still like the design and functionality.
But i must admit that on my 6 years old laptop (i5/4GB RAM), Manjaro Linux with KDE Plasma 5 is much more responsive.

Don't know why but with my nvidia video, animation in Gnome is stuttering but smooth in KDE.
Just adjust my desktop with small top pannel and KDE fits like a glove for my needs.

I use the Trinity desktop on one system and LXDE on another.

I have used them all. I loved KDE in 3.5 and when finally stable in kde4. KDE 5.x is just a disaster. I was hardcore gnome2 fan and when gnome 3 came out i was heartbroken. So i went to MATE and cinnamon, and then XFCE. I actually prefer MATE but both MATE and XFCE has severe tearing issues that bother me. With 16.04, i ended up benchmarking gaming on all the DE and surprise: unity won with best performance with gnome3 being a close 2nd. I tolerated the interface for better gaming performance. When unity was announced that it was being put to pasture, I looked at gnome3. Now it has been greatly improved and with the extensions, and ability to run the unity indicators (classic-menu!!!), It is now what i am running with 17.04. I get about the same performance with games as unity (the others were buggy like kde: kde actually was faster but kept hardlocking on my pc).

Wish I knew, I only want to use GEM :|

Personally, I just like how easily Gnome installs on vanilla Debian, and works well out of the box. For VMs and slower boxes, I still prefer LXDE. Gnome just happens to work fine for what I use my main box for. I barely see my desktop with all the programs open anyway, and I usually hit the windows menu key and either click a shortcut or type the first few letters of the program I need. Since I can do that on most DEs, these "wars" are largely irrelevant to me.

I am still using Openbox.

Xfce is my primary desktop environment. I use IceWM when I don't need a DE.

I use i3wm.

openbox, with antergos arch based distro

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