Pantheon Desktop Environment – showcasing the elementary OS

Last Updated on July 12, 2021

Pantheon is the desktop environment originally created for the elementary OS distribution. It’s written from scratch in Vala, using GTK3 and Granite. With regards to usability and appearance, the desktop has some similarities with GNOME Shell and macOS.

Pantheon is rarely seen outside of Elementary OS although it can be installed on other distributions.

Pantheon offers a transparent panel, with three core areas, across the top of the screen. You can launch applications by clicking Applications in the top left. In the center, there’s the date and time. Clicking here pulls up a calendar. System indicators sit in the top right.

A dock sits at the bottom of the screen, similar to seen on a MacBook. The dock’s name is Plank.

The Pantheon desktop environment is built on top of the GNOME software base, i.e. GTK+, GDK, Cairo, GLib (including GObject and GIO), GVfs and Tracker.

Features include:

  • Pantheon applications:
    • Pantheon Greeter – session manager based on LightDM but is more visually appealing.
    • Gala – a window and compositing manager based on libmutter.
    • Wingpanel – extensible top panel, like GNOME Shell’s top panel. This stylish panel holds indicators and spawns Slingshot.
    • Slingshot – a lightweight and stylish application launcher located in Wingpanel.
    • Plank – a dock. The goal is to provide just what a dock needs and absolutely nothing more.
    • Switchboard – settings application. Switchboard is just the container application for Switchboard Plugs, which provide the actual settings for various hardware and software.
    • Mail – email client written in Vala. It uses Evolution Data Server and Camel to display emails.
    • Calendar – a desktop calendar app.
    • Music – audio player.
    • Code – code-focused text editor.
    • Terminal – a terminal emulator.
    • Files – a file manager with plugin support.

Support: GitHub code repository, Support
Developer: elementary LLC
License: GNU GPL, LGPL


Return to Desktop Environments Home Page

Popular series
Free and Open Source SoftwareThe largest compilation of the best free and open source software in the universe. Each article is supplied with a legendary ratings chart helping you to make informed decisions.
ReviewsHundreds of in-depth reviews offering our unbiased and expert opinion on software. We offer helpful and impartial information.
Alternatives to Proprietary SoftwareReplace proprietary software with open source alternatives: Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Autodesk, Oracle, Atlassian, Corel, Cisco, Intuit, and SAS.
GamesAwesome Free Linux Games Tools showcases a series of tools that making gaming on Linux a more pleasurable experience. This is a new series.
Artificial intelligence iconMachine Learning explores practical applications of machine learning and deep learning from a Linux perspective. We've written reviews of more than 40 self-hosted apps. All are free and open source.
Guide to LinuxNew to Linux? Read our Linux for Starters series. We start right at the basics and teach you everything you need to know to get started with Linux.
Alternatives to popular CLI tools showcases essential tools that are modern replacements for core Linux utilities.
System ToolsEssential Linux system tools focuses on small, indispensable utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users.
ProductivityLinux utilities to maximise your productivity. Small, indispensable tools, useful for anyone running a Linux machine.
AudioSurveys popular streaming services from a Linux perspective: Amazon Music Unlimited, Myuzi, Spotify, Deezer, Tidal.
Saving Money with LinuxSaving Money with Linux looks at how you can reduce your energy bills running Linux.
Home ComputersHome computers became commonplace in the 1980s. Emulate home computers including the Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, ZX81, Amstrad CPC, and ZX Spectrum.
Now and ThenNow and Then examines how promising open source software fared over the years. It can be a bumpy ride.
Linux at HomeLinux at Home looks at a range of home activities where Linux can play its part, making the most of our time at home, keeping active and engaged.
Linux CandyLinux Candy reveals the lighter side of Linux. Have some fun and escape from the daily drudgery.
DockerGetting Started with Docker helps you master Docker, a set of platform as a service products that delivers software in packages called containers.
Android AppsBest Free Android Apps. We showcase free Android apps that are definitely worth downloading. There's a strict eligibility criteria for inclusion in this series.
Programming BooksThese best free books accelerate your learning of every programming language. Learn a new language today!
Programming TutorialsThese free tutorials offer the perfect tonic to our free programming books series.
Linux Around The WorldLinux Around The World showcases usergroups that are relevant to Linux enthusiasts. Great ways to meet up with fellow enthusiasts.
Stars and StripesStars and Stripes is an occasional series looking at the impact of Linux in the USA.
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments