Our article “Best Linux Desktop Environments: Strong and Stable” surveyed 9 strong and stable Linux desktop environments (DEs). Due to popular demand, this article extends that survey with 3 other desktops: Pantheon, Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE), and LXDE. We examine their features, user experience, resources footprint, extensibility, and documentation, and compare them to the 9 desktops covered in the original article.
Let’s start with considering the features of Pantheon, LXDE, and TDE.
The three DEs provide the core functionality we’d expect from this type of software. They are stable environments that have been in development for years.
Pantheon applications are designed and developed by elementary – some of them are forks of Gnome-based apps, others are designed from the ground up. There’s a good variety of ready-to-use apps included. We’re particularly fond of Wingpanel, a top panel similar to GNOME Shell, and Files, a well-designed file manager. And its email client, Mail (how do they come up with these names?), is fairly capable but it’s no Thunderbird. The apps are written in the Vala programming language.
TDE includes a wide selection of applications that allow you to surf the internet, send and receive email messages, chat with friends, family and colleagues, view images, compose text and create/edit documents, as well as other useful desktop utilities. Some of the choices are rather dated. And we haven’t recommended using Konqueror to surf the net or manage files for many, many years.
LXDE offers a sterling range of core desktop components. PCManFM provides a flexible and fast way to manage your files with drag & drop support, tabbed browsing, and built-in file searching. LXPanel is a good implementation of a desktop panel, and LXLauncher is a competent application launcher for small screens. The project does not develop their own window manager. Instead, they integrate a lightweight window manager: Openbox.
While you can mix-and-match software from different DEs, remember that many applications rely a lot upon their underlying libraries. So if you do mix-and-match, you can pull in lots of dependencies. This is particularly relevant for TDE and LXDE which don’t use libraries shared with popular software (GTK +2 for LXDE and TQt, a fork of Qt3, in the case of TDE). This may be an important factor if disk space or memory is at a premium.
Learn more about the features offered by each desktop environment. We’ve compiled a dedicated page for each desktop environment explaining, in detail, the features each offers together with screenshots.
|Pantheon||Showcasing the elementary OS|
|LXDE||Desktop environment with low resource requirement|
|Trinity Desktop||Qt3-based KDE 3.x form traditional computer desktop that is responsive|