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Linux desktop, what to choose

Linux comes with many deskop environments and window managers. Some of the big names are Gnome 3, KDE, Mate, XFCE, Gnome classic and LXDE.

There are many window managers too (you can use Linux without desktop), like i3wm, window maker, blackbox and others.

So between all of these what should you use?

Low memory use

For me, I need to have one that uses few memory, so only a few left:

  • LXDE
  • LXQt
  • XFCE
  • Window managers (i3wm, wm, bbox)


Of these, LXDE doesn't have a good search menu. Both LXQt and XFCE have a search option. So does i3wm. But neither wm and bbox come with an out of the box search solution.

Yes, it's possible to install some app search like Cerebro, Synapse, Gnome Pie, ULauncher and all the others.

Thing is, I want the desktop or wm to come with this functionality out of the box. Not install another app on top of it.

That leaves:

  • LXQt
  • XFCE
  • i3wm


i3wm is really nice, but I haven't found a good desktop recording software that works well on it (Kazam does not).


LXQT uses the Qt framework, which makes all the desktop apps look kind of the same (if you use the Qt apps). From a desktop perspective, that's really good.


Very fast, but based on X. Overall nice desktop environment.


Should switch to Wayland instead of X. Why is Wayland necessary?

Wayland allows better isolation between processes: one window cannot access resources from, or inject keystrokes into, another window.

But to use Wayland, have to switch to one of these desktops

  • GNOME 3.20+
  • KDE (Plasma 5.4)
  • Enlightenment
  • Hawaii

Not a big fan of Enlightenment, maybe go for Hawaii. What do you use?

Top comments (9)

shakib609 profile image
Shakib Hossain

KDE and XFCE has almost same memory usage in my manjaro system.

ghost profile image

yea, when I heard that LXQt with Qt, clearly. Seems lighter than LXDE my jaw dropped, I'm used to a heavier and bloated Qt and a huge and slow KDE, what is happening here!? this is madness!. The other day I realized that with more than 10 open terminals XFCE4-terminal consumes less RAM than st terminal lightly patched!?, I need to lay down a bit...

amigosmaker profile image

Thanks! Ill look into KDE

epsi profile image
E.R. Nurwijayadi

Introduction to Desktop Customization in Linux/BSD.

Openbox Custom Theme

fultonbrowne profile image
Fulton Browne

I really like gnome, it was a bunch of features and customization options.

exadra37 profile image
Paulo Renato

Just out of curiosity, why the requirement in low memory footprint?

amigosmaker profile image

using an older laptop

roh_mish profile image
Rohan Mishra

I have gnome but it’s really customised to my needs. I tried KDE for a while and while it has some nice stuff it didn’t really stick for me

patarapolw profile image
Pacharapol Withayasakpunt