Open Ballot: Desktop Wars


It's a really simple open ballot this fortnight: What's your favorite desktop environment for Linux? Are you using the latest Gnome 3 or a kustomised KDE? Do you like desktop bling or a black and white CLI? Do you use a mainstream choice or an esoteric option? Let us know your thoughts and we'll read them out in our upcoming podcast.

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Came with my Crunchbang Linux. Works well and doesn't get in the way. I used to use Gnome before it turned 3 — tried to keep using it but back then I found it annoying. I tend to favour the slimmer, minimal DE nowadays so I think it unlikely for me to ever get back to Gnome or use KDE (shudder).

Gnome 3 over Unity

Gnome 3 is my choice for my main PC, despite that stupid design of needing to press 'alt' for a shutdown option.
It's Xfce for me on older hardware.

KDE on Arch Linux

KDE with `Natural Scrolling' and no annoying menus and no silly minimize/maximize/close window buttons, everything else just plain KDE defaults. I like KDE because of its sane defaults, I don't have to waste my time setting things.
When I don't need a GUI, cwm or dwm with lots of terminals or just a beautiful framebuffer with tmux ;)

BTW and no bottom bar, just krunner for launching everything!

KDE for now

I've really enjoyed the customization KDE allows me, but it is a bit bulky for my liking. I've noticed my initial DE Unity affected my layout because I'm always moving buttons and panels to the upper right, but it makes workflow smooth.

I may switch to XFCE once I get familiar enough to configure it to my liking. It feels a lot lighter than KDE and is not of the 'experimental' sort like E17 (I like stability).

Mate on Mint

Works on old and new equipment. I like to keep it simple, the same environment for all my following. Easy for those that have used XP, or haven't used a PC before.

Elementary OS Pantheon Desktop.

It's still not released as stable, but works for my needs. I don't plan on distro hopping anymore.

Mint Fan

Cinnamon on Mint. Elegant, customizable, fast, and gets out of my way so I can just work. :)

The cool clean Linux Mint

The cool clean Linux Mint Cinnamon. Just lets you get on with what you want without fuss or annoyance of KDE and GNOME3.

Mint LMDE with Cinnamon

Linux Mint Debian Edition with Cinnamon & gnome-terminal allways started and at use ...

KDE of course

I try the others from time to time but I always end up back on KDE, despite its limited configuration options - and Konsole is awesome!


Ratpoison (specially on laptops) is very functional and saves a lot of screen room for the actual applications. Its power lies on its simplicity and keyboard shortcut oriented design. It just provides the fastest way to switch between applications windows and do any action you want by pressing a couple of keys...

Very much KDE

I've been using one version or another of KDE for about 6 years. As some said earlier on, you only need to change configuration settings if you want to and generally leave the rest to the system defaults. This also applies to the desktop appearance. I've tried a few other desktop environments, but fairly soon returned to KDE.

I'm still on version 4.3. Note to self:" must upgrade (urgently)!! BTW, I'm planning to try out qt-razor DE with kdm window manager at some stage.

I must say that Gnome 2 appearance with 2 system panels definitely didn't work for me, although the Mint approach with a single one was OK, but still not my favourite...

GNOME 3 wins the key

Even though people have criticised GNOME 3 for a lot of times, however, this time, GNOME have been better for a long time. GNOME is now one of the best desktop environments for now. I also appreciate on GNOME 3 since version 3.4 and now I think KDE is much worse than GNOME because of the crappy settings and neverending "search and launch"menu.


Linux Mint with mate makes for a good everyday OS. Cinnamon gave me lots of trouble with 3D hardware acceleration, and appears buggy and somewhat slow. Mate is great if you use your computer as a tool to get stuff done.

Openbox FTW I gave up on

Openbox FTW

I gave up on both KDE and Gnome when they became too bloated and got in the way of what I was doing. For me a desktop manager should let me do what needs to be done then get out of the way. Openbox's minimalist suits me just fine.


Awesome is ... awesome. A Dynamic window manager that allows me to tile when I'm in super hacking mode, and use it as a floating window manager when I'm in browsing/gaming mode. I would not recommend it to my grandma, though.

In a word,


Unity is #1

I would have to say that Unity is the best desktop environment. If one were to view review videos for linux distros you would see majority are using unity. Although other environments are great but Unity has a solid ground alongside modernity.

Mate 1.4

Only quibble with Mate 1.4 is that if I want to switch to Compiz (so that I can burn my windows and all that stuff) I can't for the life of me get the minimize and maximise buttons to appear.

KDE just flies

KDE, preferably 4.10

Since turning 4.10 KDE got faster, and to
show off got really easy (and with two monitors
even more so) and and and....


Because Fluxbox is lightweight, easy to use, highly customizable, easy to do window tiles, easy transferable to other systems including windows, and works with VNC.


fast, light, stable, ultra customizable - even programmable!


KDE can be made to act/look like all the other desktop environments. Why use anything else?


No need for anything else.

Whatever's good for the job

As someone else has already pointed out, it really does depend on the hardware.

On one of my higher spec machines I like Gnome 3. I like the thinking behind it - which is taking anti-clutter as far as it will go.

I used KDE years ago and it was fine, but to be honest, when Gnome came along, the time and effort needed to configure KDE the way I wanted it just got too much for me. However, I'm glad it's there as legitimate competition to Gnome pushing both to new heights, and, hopefully, cooperating where it's mutually beneficial.

When it comes to my lower spec machines KDE and Gnome are equally next to useless. This is where LXDE comes in. It's perfect for a rich desktop experience on older hardware - hard to criticise.

I've dabbled with Enlightenment which is nice and fun to play with but ultimately lacking in real oomph.

To go a little left-field, whatever desktop I'm using my main productivity tool is Emacs. Now, in know Emacs is a real mindbender to learn but for me, once I'm in Emacs it becomes my environment, especially when Org-Mode is deployed. In Org-Mode I can manage projects create documents to export as HTML, ODT, DOCX, PDF, plain text and a few other, generate static websties al la Jekyll and a few more things I'm yet to discover. In Emacs I can also read and post to Twitter, check in with Facebook and read and send emails with Gnus.

If the point of a desktop environment is to enable me to do things, as someone who does things with text, then I rarely venture much outside Emacs.

Cereal Brands

Choice is a beautiful thing, of course. But I have come back to KDE 4 for my more powerful machines. For my lightweight laptops, I like OpenBox with no desktop environment at all.

Both of these let me do a lot of customization, so my computer is really MY computer. :-)


I don’t always use a desktop environment, but when I do, I prefer Cinnamon. Stay free my friends.


GNOME 3. Simple, powerful, attractive, extensible!

KDE Rocks

I gave up on Gnome many years ago, when they started eliminating customizations and dumbing it down. I went to KDE and never looked back.

KDE Rocks! Even on my basic laptop, KDE rocks!

KDE and Unity, on two

KDE and Unity, on two machines.

Mood Dependent

Right now, I'm using XFCE on Manjaro. But mostly because I opted for the pre-built version at the top of the list. I also like LXDE. It's plenty customization, and saves the upstream for the apps. After much coaxing, I recently fell in love with Gnome 3. I finally got all of the plugins I wanted, had it working like a Hebrew slave, when all of the sudden Gnome did an update to the shell, and just like that; most of my plugins were incompatible. So, here I am with XFCE. I will give them my vote because they don't try to mess up a good thing. But then again, neither does LXDE. KDE and Unity are really cool toys, but when you need the damn thing to boot up, so you can watch a video, or whatever else you are doing, the romance wears off.

Kink Cinnamon

Cinnamon 1.8

What's your favorite desktop environment for Linux?


For the win!

Every desktop is awesome! Although I myself prefer xfce.

Not Windows 95

Even though I work for a company that still users it to run its cnc milling machines. All Linux desktops are basically the same so everyone should just get behind gnome 3.


After months on Cinnamon.

Still think Nemo is the best file browser at the moment though (well, out of Thunar, Nemo and Nautilus at least...)


Has to be KDE3.5; 4x is just too slow and there is far too much excess baggage. The implementation of plasmoids is rubbish and the cashew sucks. As it's too hard to get KDE3.5 running on the new releases, I use KDE4 apps but with IceWM.


I've been using XFCE for about 2 years, and just switched my wife's account to it from Gnome. (Wheezy's version of Gnome 3 takes the name too literally: rather than run nice and fast it just sits there and wheezes.)

XFCE4 seems to me to be a lot like Gnome was when I first met it in 2001: Reasonably fast, with a wide choice of themes and a fairly logical, modular construction - so it doesn't mind me disabling the few bad bits (*cough*sound daemon*cough*) or replacing Xfwm with Fluxbox.

xfce and unity

xfce and unity


I prefer Unity generally, though when resources are scarce I use XFCE or LXDE.

KDE - only one that can keep the hdmi sound card as the default?

I use KDE, fed up with gnome and unity not allowing me to set the hdmi as my default sound card choice!

Plus so configurable and now very stable.

Love it!


I like its smell. I also like Plasma and configurability. However, I'm acquiring a violent hatred of Akonadi and wish KDE would put that thing somewhere it would never again see daylight.

And I like its smell.


I've got to admit Unity over the last couple of years has grown on me. I use it all the time now. I find it really easy to use. If I want to find a program a simple tap of one or two letters brings it to within a mouse click, no working out if it is in system or in preferences or some other part of the menu.
I'm a long time Linux user, using it since 1995 and over the years I've just got lazier and less inclined to spend hours customizing my desktop, so something that just works and keeps out of my way is good for me.

Goodbye KDE

On my Toshiba Netbook, Lubuntu has been great - stable, snappy, simple. It's what I used most of the time. Why netbooks are dying off is beyond me; they're the perfect compromise. I'm not a touch UI person!

On my 6 year old Dell Desktop, I've been running Kubuntu since 8.10. I love the way KDE looks and works, but I've had SO much trouble I've just given up. My wife laughs at me for persisting with it. Some of the earlier updates were disasters. I installed Mint Cinnamon the other day and quite like it. I miss the eye candy and functionality (though I'm sure in time I can get Mint to do everything). Bonus, volume control on MS keyboard worked out of the box and my older Canon multifunction printer installed automatically! Oddly, couldn't get it to work under Mint KDE no matter how hard I tried.

As I get older, I have less patience for figuring out why stuff doesn't work. I have wasted - no exaggeration - multiple dozens of hours trying to sort out Kubuntu, and am glad to see the back of it.

Zorin-64, so it has Gnome3

Zorin-64, so it has Gnome3 with AWN, and heavy modifications.
Hate AWN, but like the easy Win7-like friendliness elsewhere in the op system.

Still distro-hopping. Perhaps XFCE with Compiz...

DE Hopping

Gnome 3 and unity have a major merit: They creating the DE Hopping.

To be quiet honest I do not know exactly what to use: I like xfce, love the look of Gnome 3 but not so much the fell. Also tried (and liked) Cinnamon. KDE is fantastic but not exactly my cup of tea.

HELP ME !!! I'm DE Hopping and cannot stop. Should I joint a DE Anonymous group ?

Resource friendly

Openbox with Synapse is all i need..never find the urge to click on little pics to get where i want to be.

i have no issues with Lxde,Xfce,Fluxbox or razor qt....E17 is too much config and eyecandy..though light and fast.

tiling desktops require to much typing

gnome2 was a great desktop for most..then the developers got their heads up their asses and went stupid....and KDE is a ghastly bloated lump

Too many choices.....but thats a good thing

I love Enlightenment (Bodhi rocks)... Then its XFCE. If its good enough for Linus.....
I miss Mint-Fluxbox Ed :(

KDE with enlightenmnet 2nd

KDE with enlightenmnet 2nd

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