Best Linux Desktop Environment: Comparison

KDE? Gnome? XFCE? Or Mate? What graphic environment do I need to install? These are the questions that every Linux user faces many times. due tot their priorities. This article lists the main graphic environments available for the open source SO that we all know.


Gnome is one of the most popular graphical environments available, along with KDE. It was considered the best at Gnome 2 but with the release of the third review, it went a bit worse. This is because the revolutionary way of thinking about the graphic environment has been and how it works. It’s not the classic desktop, as we know it, in fact, there is not even a desktop. Everything is “hidden” in the launcher, there are all applications, documents, resources, etc .; however you can make it more user-friendly with some changes. As a graphic environment it is very modern and respects the current “standards”, it is full of transparencies and animations made very well.

In some respects it is also too far ahead, for example, buttons have been removed to minimize and maximize windows. However, Gnome 3 is the graphic environment with the most extensions available. Extensions are installed through browsers and allow you to add certain features to your system.

KDE Plasma

KDE is the other larger graphic environment available. It is the most like Windows interface without system theme changes and is also the heaviest and most resourceful resource environment. This is because it provides a lot of services and the interface is very complex and articulated. In fact, for each user interaction to the computer (such as reducing a window or opening an application), an animation or transaction is associated. Plasma is the latest evolution of KDE that has introduced a more flat style to the system and icons in general.


The XFCE 4 is a lightweight, yet nice, and feature- rich desktop environment. This compromise makes it particularly suitable for mid- range computers (schools, offices, etc.). How it looks like Gnome2/Mate and there are not many animations. It is the classic desktop environment, with nothing more or less. It is very intuitive because things are where and how they should be.


Unity is the default Ubuntu graphic environment from version 11.04. Initially, Ubuntu used Gnome 2, but in 2011 it moved to Unity. More in detail, it is a Gnome shell modification (the same as Gnome 3). Unlike Gnome 3 here the desktop exists and in general the environment is very user-friendly. It requires a little more power than XFCE but not KDE. Visually the graphic environment is very enjoyable with its animations and its simplicity.


The Cinnamon graphic environment is a compromise between Gnome 3 technology and the visual aspect of Gnome 2. It is based on Gnome 3 but visually recalls the old Gnome 2. It was initially designed to work only on Linux Mint but thanks to some alternative ways you can install it on other systems as well. Switching from Windows is much more intuitive than Gnome 3 or Unity. She is also very pretty with her well-done animations.


Mate is a graphical environment based on the code of old Gnome 2. During the transition from 2 to 3 many users found several shortcomings on the new version and so Mate was born. This was done to keep the Gnome 2 project alive, but also to improve its code and add more features to it.

Authored By Imran Yousaf

I am Imran Yousaf, a computer geek, founder of the site I am a die hard fond of open-source software and Linux operating system. In addition to Linux, I am interested in everything related to information technology and modern science.

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