Adventures In Computing

December 17, 2008

The Diversity Of Linux Window Managers

Filed under: EeePC, GNU/Linux, KDE, Kubuntu, Linux, opensuse, Samba, Thunar, Ubuntu — Normand Bissonnette @ 2:59 pm

A misconception among most Windows and Mac users is that an Operating System and a desktop environment are the same. Linux users have the opportunity to know better. Linux users have the advantage of using several desktop environments/windowmanagers  like Gnome, KDE, Fluxbox, XFCE and Openbox to name only a few. Alot of new converts to Linux will start with Ubuntu as their Linux distribution of choice therefore they will start with Gnome for a desktop environment. A few years back when I switched over from the dark side, Windows, to Linux I started with OpenSuse and the KDE desktop environment. I did enjoy my time with KDE and OpenSuse until I decided to try Ubuntu with Gnome. I also install the KDE desktop environment as a safety net.

At first I did not like Gnome as much as KDE, but I have to say that I only used it 30% of the time. When I decided to give Gnome a full hearing I got rid of KDE completely and go with Gnome. I have been using Gnome ever since. I had Kubuntu on a computer that I rarely use.  Well I decided to get reacquainted with KDE. I installed Kubuntu 8.10 with KDE 4.1.3 on my number two computer, I use this computer everyday. What I have seen so far of KDE 4.1.3, I like. KDE looks a lot more polished than Gnome. I can’t wait to see the improvements the KDE developers have instore for us when KDE 4.2 comes out in January.

I have also installed CrunchBang on my eeePC. CrunchBang have OpenBox as a desktop environment. I wanted something lite on resources on my eeePC 701, CrunchBang fits the bill perfectly… well almost perfectly, Thunar does not play well with SMB network shared files. I found a post on how to set up fuseSMB, it worked until I restarted the eeePc and I could not get it working again. I tried PyNeighborhood that also worked until I restarted the computer now I can see the files on the other computers but I cannot access them.  Before you say anything I set up the correct user and password. I finally decided to install Nautilus along with all the necessary packages for network shared files. Now it works fine. CrunchBang is based in Ubuntu and it is perfect for a netbook being a lightweight OS.

There is a Linux window manager for all types of users. I recommend everybody to try something new once in a while. Open up your mind a give it a go, you may find something better for your specific needs.



  1. You should replace Linux with Unix. The ability to use multiple desktop environments isn’t just in Linux, but is also in Solaris and BSD. What’s even better is that in most version of Unix you can use KDE, Gnome, and other desktop environments. They aren’t restricted to one flavor of *nix.

    Comment by Maxo — December 17, 2008 @ 4:10 pm

  2. My bad, I should have mentioned that Unix, BSD and Solaris along with Linux can use different desktop environments.

    Comment by spurius — December 17, 2008 @ 8:09 pm

  3. Maybe just me, but the post could use some clarification between a DE and a window manager. I know I was very confused about the difference when I first started to use Linux and look around and I’m not sure this article would have helped me. Why? Because it at time sounded like you would need to replace the entire DE if you’re not happy about the window manager. After all, it’s quite feasable (and easy) to just replace metacity or kwin but stick with the rest of Gnome and KDE respectively. That’s not to say it will always work perfectly, but it’s at least possible and is in effect what people running compiz are doing.

    Comment by Jonas — December 17, 2008 @ 10:47 pm

  4. […] Bissonnette: The Diversity Of Linux Window Managers. In Windows you have a choice, 95, XP or Vista, for how your desktop looks and behaves. OSX users […]

    Pingback by Peng’s links for Monday, 22 December « I’m Just an Avatar — December 22, 2008 @ 8:04 pm

  5. Thanks for the recommendation!!! And also for clarify the subject. as a recent ex windows user, is always nice to know a little more about Linux!

    Comment by Network Marketing Sales — February 10, 2009 @ 8:15 am

  6. Im a gnome guy running it on Arch Linux

    Comment by TechThisOut — July 2, 2009 @ 11:21 pm

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