6 of the Best Lean Linux Desktop Environments
Mainstream Linux distributions typically default to one of two
desktop environments, KDE or GNOME. Both of these environments provide
users with an intuitive and attractive desktop, as well as
offering a large raft of multimedia software, games, administration
programs, network tools, educational applications,
utilities, artwork, web development tools and more. However, these two
desktops focus more on providing users with a modern computing
environment with all the bells and whistles featured in Windows Vista,
rather than minimising the amount of system resources they need.
For users and developers who want to run an attractive Linux
desktop on older hardware, netbooks, or mobile internet devices,
neither KDE or GNOME may be a viable option,
as they run too slowly on low spec machines (such as less than 256MB
RAM and a 1 GHz processor). This article seeks to identify the best
for Linux, for users that have old or even ancient hardware.
First, let's clear up one area of frequent confusion; the
difference between a desktop environment and a window manager. A
desktop environment typically consists of icons, windows, toolbars,
folders, wallpapers, and desktop widgets. They provide a collection of
libraries and applications made to operate cohesively together. A
desktop environment contains its own window manager, which is
responsible for the placement and appearance of windows.
We have selected 6 of the best desktop environments that are
good candidates for older hardware. These typically run well on a
with a Pentium II 266MHz CPU and 128MB of RAM. All of the
desktops are released under freely distributable licenses. If your
Linux box is constantly swapping
or feels sluggish in general use, try out one of the desktops featured
below. It may just save you from discarding a perfectly good machine.
Now, let's explore the 6 desktops at hand. For each title we
have compiled its own portal page, providing a screenshot of the
software in action, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its
features, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.
|Lean Desktop Environments
||Fast and lightweight, yet visually appealing and easy
to use environment. It uses the same toolkit as GNOME, and is sometimes
described as a 'scaled-down version of GNOME'.
Xfce is the default environment in a number of popular Linux
distributions, including Xubuntu, dyne:bolic, Gentoo, and Mythbuntu.
on the FOX-Filer file manager, it also uses the GTK+ toolkit, like
GNOME and Xfce.
It is inspired by the user interface of RISC OS, a system developed by
Acorn Computers Ltd, which was first released in 1988.
||Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment where each
component can be used independently from other components of LXDE.
Popular distros that provide packages for LXDE are Fedora, Mandriva,
Zenwalk, and Ubuntulite.
to use, eye-candy but also powerful desktop based on the FVWM window
It offers good performance,powerful menu system with extensive
configurability, as well as strong integration with various
||A small desktop environment that is meant to be simple
and fast. EDE's window manager uses less memory than a standard xterm.
It is based on a modified version of FLTK called eFLTK.
GNUstep based user environment.
It is currently in an early stage of development.
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Last Updated Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 02:33 AM EDT