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10 best Linux desktop environments

10 best Linux desktop environments

With so many different Linux desktop environments, it can be difficult to choose one, especially if you are a beginner or a user who is simply changing Windows. In case you are not familiar with the concept of desktop environment, it is reduced to a set of libraries, tool kits, modules and applications that make the desktop visible and functional on the screen, and allow the user to "communicate" with the system

A desktop environment includes components such as the window manager, icons, toolbars, panel, widgets, wallpapers and screensavers, as well as a basic set of applications (file manager, browser, media player, text editor, image viewer, etc.). It is not such a strange idea; After all, Windows also has a desktop environment. In versions 8 and 8.1 it is called Metro, while Windows 7 had Aero and XP had Luna.

A great thing about Linux is that it is not limited to any desktop environment that is poisoned with the distribution it installed. If you don't like the default DE, just install another or two, for that matter. But which? Maybe this article can help you decide.

Here is a list of the 10 best Linux desktop environments.

1. KDE

KDE is one of the oldest desktop environments; development began in 1996, and the first version was launched in 1998. It is a highly customizable DE based on the Qt framework, and many popular Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora and openSUSE., offer it as the default DE or as one of the "flavors".

While beginners often feel overwhelmed by the amount of options in KDE, it is a perfect desktop environment for people who want to modify everything, because KDE makes it possible. There are two KDE branches currently in development: the 4.x series (first launched in 2008) and KDE Plasma 5 and Frameworks 5, first launched in July last year. Plasma 5 brings many improvements, mainly focused on an optimized visual experience (better launchers, mens and notifications) and ease of use on different devices.

However, the KDE 4.x series is still compatible and used by most KDE users. Its main feature is the plasma interface, which comes in three forms: for desktop computers, netbooks and tablets. Plasma is basically the workspace you see when you start KDE, and you can add widgets and panels, have several desktops and use the function called Activities to organize your widgets and applications into groups according to your purpose. For example, you can keep all your social media tools in one activity and switch to them only when you want to use these applications.

KDE offers a lot of applications in its software compilation; It is probably the best equipped of all desktop environments. Some KDE applications are: Dolphin (file manager), Kate (text editor), Konsole (terminal), Gwenview (image viewer), Krunner (launcher), Okular (document and PDF viewer), Digikam (editor of photos and organizer), KMail (email client), Quassel (IRC client), K3b (DVD burning application) …

The best for: advanced users, those who want better control of their system, users who love stationery and infinite personalization.


Since its first launch in 1999, GNOME was always seen as the main competitor of KDE. Unlike KDE, GNOME uses the GTK toolkit, and its goal was to provide simplicity and a classic desktop experience without too many options. However, in 2011 a great redesign was introduced in GNOME 3, and the traditional desktop was replaced by GNOME Shell. Many users and developers were not happy with this, and some even went to fork GNOME 2 and created complete desktop environments based on it.

Even so, GNOME 3 prevailed, and today it is as popular as KDE. Today it offers a classic way to please the fantastic nostalgic of GNOME 2. The GNOME Shell is its most distinctive feature, and offers a practical activity summary in which you can see all your tasks, applications and notifications at a glance. Dash is the launcher with shortcuts to your applications, but you can also access them from the search box.