The GNOME project provides two things: The GNOME desktop environment, an intuitive and attractive desktop for users, and the GNOME development platform, an extensive framework for building applications that integrate into the rest of the desktop. Read more hot
KDE Desktop Environment
KDE (K Desktop Environment) is a free software project which aims to be a powerful system for an easy-to-use desktop environment. The aim of the KDE project is to connect the power of the UNIX operating systems (such as Linux) with the comfort of a modern user interface. Read more hot
The ROX Desktop is a desktop environment, a lightweight alternative to GNOME or KDE based on the ROX-Filer file manager. It is inspired by the user interface of RISC OS. Read more hot
Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for unix-like operating systems. It aims to be fast and lightweight, while still being visually appealing and easy to use. Xfce 4.2 embodies the traditional UNIX philosophy of modularity and re-usability. It consists of a number of components that together provide the full functionality of the desktop environment. They are packaged separately and you can pick and choose from the available packages to create the best personal working environment. Read more hot
a GNOME OpenGL program that allows you to switch desktops (viewports) in a 3-dimensional way. The default "visualization" maps your screen onto an N-sided polygon which you turn to select the next screen
Three-Dimensional Workspace Manager, a Chalmers Medialab project, released as Free Software under the LGPL license and focusing on the development of a general-purpose platform for 3D user interfaces (3D GUIs). 3Dwm is NOT an X11 window manager and cannot work as such. It is a full 3D user environment, i.e. the 3D equivalent of X11
acidlaunch is a small, light-weight app launcher with a simple XML-based configuration syntax. It's written in C++ using gtk, gdk-pixbuf and libxml2.
AllTray lets you dock any application into the system tray/notification area. A high-light feature is that a click on the "close" button will minimize to system tray. It is written in C using GTK and Xlib. It works well with Gnome, KDE and XFCE.
AntiRight Desktop Environment
a lightweight desktop environment that uses the motif API. AntiRight was developed with lesstif and works on openmotif. AntiRight tries to maintain low hardware requirements and low user experience requirements while still catering to advanced users
Aurora Project consists of the Aurora Desktop Environment which, unlike most other Linux-based desktop environments, don't attempts to accomplish everything but to remove the focus from system configuration and desktop customizing by creating an easy-to-use out-of-the-box intuitive and beutiful desktop experience.
Avant Window Navigator
Avant Window Navigator (Awn) is a MacOS X like panel for the GNOME Desktop written in C. Besides launchers that can be dragged onto the bar, it features a task bar that behaves similar to the MacOS X dock. The window navigator uses the composite extension for transparency and other effects. Read more
a collection of complementing
themes for Enlightenment 16, GTK, Galeon, gkrellm,
BasKet is a desktop organization tool inspired by DropDrawers. It uses baskets and drawers for organizing various objects, such as text, URLs, images, sounds, or other documents.
a small "menubar" that works as the "belt " normally found in MacOS. It has a lot of configuration options and can use multiple configuration files if you want several belts.
a perl program that randomly chooses an image from a directory to display to the background of your screen. It chooses a new image every so often
Blackhome provides a way to use blackbox themes with associated default resource files for customisation of applications; each theme has its own specific application resources, extending the theme concept to allow individual applications to be 'themed'.
a simple application for the X Window System that sits in the corner of the screen, waiting for you to click on one of the buttons it provides. When you do, it launches the program
Cairo-Dock is an attractive, lightweight eye-candy dock to launch your applications. It has a family-likeness with the OS X dock, but with more options. Read more
ChBg changes the desktop background in a given period. It can render images with 5 modes, e.g. tiled image, tiled mirrored image, maximized image, centered image with selected
background color, centered scaled image.
Cinnamon is a fork of the GNOME 3 shell that is deisnged to offer a transitional option between GNOME 2 and GNOME 3.
ClassicMenu Indicator is a notification area applet (application indicator) for the top panel of Ubuntu's Unity desktop environment.
Compa is a Gnome Panel Applet that can display the output of any system command on the panel. In addition it can display the output of a different command in its tooltip, and launch a different command when clicked.
Consort is a fort of GNOME Classic. The aim is to restore the GNOME 2 experience and build on it.
a graphical desktop allowing to view files, launch applications , copy move or create files, and also managing removable devices , all this with click on icons and drag 'n drop
aims to be an "ActiveDesktop that doesn't suck" and will eventually support these features: Displays images and HTML on your root window. Downloads images and HTML from other computers/internet. Configurable via XML file
DesktopFolders is a FolderView-like application for GTK+-based desktops (GNOME, XFCE, LXDE, etc.).
(commercial) DeXtop is a complete, easy-to-use desktop interface, based on the Open Group's CDE. It is an environment that's familiar to the computer industry, yet easy enough to use for those new to the Linux operating system.
DockBar is a task bar with grouping and group manipulation.
a docking application (WindowMaker dock app) which acts as a system tray for KDE and GNOME2. It can be used to replace the panel in either environment, allowing you to have a system tray without running the KDE/GNOME panel or environment
E-buttons is an Enlightenment epplet to launch an application from a button box.
Equinox Desktop Environment
Equinox Desktop Environment comprises a Desktop Panel, a Window Manager, an Info Panel, Equinox PPP and an Image Viewer. Read more
Etoile intends to be an innovative GNUstep based desktop environment built from the ground up on highly modular and light components with project and document orientation in mind. Read more
a lightweight X11 desktop panel. It requires only GTK-1.2 and X11 to compile and works with any ICCCM / NETWM compliant window manager (eg sawfish, enlightment, kvm)
Foopanel is a desktop panel that is themable and extensible through plugins.
FOX Control Center
FOX Control Center lets the user change all the options for colors, fonts, mime types, etc. for all FOX applications.
FOX Desktop is a lightweight desktop environment based on the FOX Toolkit. It includes various tools and programs to make life easier. It includes a desktop and taskbar.
foXdesktop's control center. It is based on components and can be easily extended this way. Components are written using libfoXcontrol
contains foXcontrol components you can change common settings for all FOX applications with
fpcbol is a desktop user interface written for children and people who want simplicity and speed. It is designed to be as beautiful and simple as possible. It has no menus, just icons to click. It features parental control for children. It has been tested successfully on Debian, Mandriva, and Gentoo. It works well on computers with low system resources (such as a 500Mhz Pentium).
Freerock GNOME is a complete GNOME Desktop distribution designed and packaged specifically for Slackware Linux. Freerock GNOME installs cleanly and non-intrusively by utilizing the standard Slackware software package format (".tgz"). Freerock GNOME integrates seamlessly and easily into Slackware Linux version 10.2.
Frugal Windowing Environment
Frugal Windowing Environment is a user-space client-server windowing environment that uses the framebuffer. It is the next logical development of FBUI.
a panel for Linux that lists all your windows, but the difference is that it's tiny. The binary is about 11k and it takes barely any memory
FVWM-Crystal aims to create an easy to use, eye-candy but also powerful desktop environment for Linux or other Unix-like operating systems. It uses following programs: FVWM as a window manager and "main core", ROX-Filer as file manager (manages icons on the desktop), xterm, aterm, mrxvt or urxvt as terminal emulators, MPD or XMMS as music players (there's built-in support for controlling these programs), and several other tools for different functions, like setting a wallpaper or making screen shots. Read more
FvwmKb is a module for Fvwm window manager that makes it more comfortable to work with several Xkb keyboard layouts.
a bleeding edge GNOME distribution for testers and tweakers everywhere
a Gnome Panel applet designed to change the background on your desktop
gchbkgrd is a program used for automatic and periodic change of the desktop's background.
GEM is a GUI desktop environment produced by Digital Research released under the GPL.
Genmenu is a script for generating menus for the Blackbox and/or Window Maker window managers.
gExec is a very small GUI app written using the Gimp Toolkit, or GTK in C. Its purpose is just to sit in the corner of the screen, and execute apps when you need to run something.
6 of the Best Lean Linux Desktop Environments seeks to identify the best lean desktops for Linux, for users that have old or even ancient hardware.