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Discussion on: Which desktop environment, and why?

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stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee • Edited

KDE Plasma, hands down, for its infinite configurability, low RAM consumption, and beautiful appearance with little effort (none, actually, it looks great out of the box even if copying the Windows paradigm way too much). Also, no stupid CSD titlebars. And the ability to "Add new [stuff]" to pretty much every aspect of the desktop is unparalleled on any other DE on any OS.

GNOME 3/40 takes the macOS approach of "you're to stupid to decide for yourself," then tries to make up for it with perhaps the hackiest extension ecosystem ever created (they're like bandaids, if bandaids performed life-threatening surgery every time you put them on; surgery all but guaranteed to kill you if you aren't the right age, blood type, and eye color). Deepin is gorgeous, but good luck if it's not exactly the way you want it already.

Cinnamon, Budgie, Pantheon, and every other Mutter-based/GNOME 3 fork DE are pretty much do the same, just with different desktop paradigms, because GNOME 3 made it such a hacky pain to extend.

Mate and XFCE are lightweight, performant, and fairly customizable, but both still have quite a few bugs and/or lots of ugly little paper cuts, especially with panels and widgets (and XFCE's Orage "calendar" widget is a crime against humanity).

I may not be as "leet" as the "haxors" using one of the trendy tiling managers (though there are about 27 different KWin scripts for tiling windows if I want that sort of thing in Plasma), and may not be consuming as little RAM as those using LXDE/LXQT, [WHATEVER]Box, etc, but at least my desktop doesn't require hacking a config file for simple settings changes and doesn't look reminiscent of Windows 98 or older.

With that said, if Mate ever got the old GNOME 2 (formerly the most configurable desktop, from which Mate was forked) style up to date with desktop computing in this decade AND squashed bugs which have persisted since GNOME 2 AND made it easy to select KWin as the window manager, I'd be on board. For all the ridicule it received, Ubuntu's (still GNOME 2 based) pre-Unity Netbook Edition is probably the best DE that ever existed (at the very least, its full-screen menu was the best of the sort that ever existed - please stop trying to imitate macOS's Launchpad, it's really not that good).

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patarapolw profile image
Pacharapol Withayasakpunt Author

Clean install of desktop environment (on Arch linux) seems to be best at the get go for KDE / Plasma, and not that good for Xfce.

However, both Xubuntu and Manjaro Xfce (and perhaps Mint Xfce, IIRC) had Xfce well done at the very start.

I find GNOME 3 less customizable; however, Ubuntu MATE and my memories of old Ubuntu GNOME 2 are fairly customizable.

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