The desktop environment on a computer is the program that emulates the concept of real-life desktop and is made up of a set of applications that facilitate access to user files while hiding the darkest parts of the kernel and the operating system.
These desktop environments typically have icons, windows, toolbars, folders, wallpapers, and even widgets. In addition, many of them provide a drag & drop interface * to make the user experience more like reality. Below we show you 5 lighter alternatives to the popular GNOME and KDE of all time.
Xfce is one of the lightest yet most comprehensive desktop environments. It is based on GTK + 2 and its objective is to be fast and consume few resources but still be pleasing to the eye and user friendly; without a doubt a great commitment. Another of its commitments is to adhere strongly to standards, especially those defined by [freedesktop.org] (http://freedesktop.org]
Xfce has a good stack of its own applications, including window and desktop manager, panel, session manager, file manager, application finder and preference manager. It also has additional applications and plugins that allow you to extend the functionality of the desktop if you wish. It is not in vain one of the preferred options when installing a Linux distribution on hardware with limited resources.
Cinnamon is a GTK + 3 based environment that seeks to deliver innovative features but without neglecting the classic desktop format. It was born, in large part, thanks to the general discontent that there was as a result of the singular and not very welcome changes introduced by GNOME 3 at its launch. It started out as a fork of GNOME Shell but has already reached maturity and has grown into a solid and stable environment.
Among its most outstanding features we have: animations and transition effects, the movable panel with the main menu, application launchers, window manager, system tray, file manager and hundreds of applets and extensions to customize the desktop. It’s not that light compared to Xfce, but it’s still a lot lighter than the more popular ones. Cinnamon started out being developed for the Linux Mint distribution but is now available for any distribution.
Being a relatively young project, LXQt is positioned as a strong candidate in the fight of the lightest desks. It is the result of the merger between LXDE’s port to Qt and some Razor-qt modules. Its goal is to provide a fast and modular desktop environment, that does not get in your way, that does not slow down your computer and that also has a modern appearance.
It is very minimal and only has a Qt port of PCManFM as a file manager and uses Openbox as the default window manager, however, it is compatible with other window managers. LXQt will be the replacement for the next version of LXDE and is a strong choice to consider if you like lightweight Qt-based desktops.
Deepin is the product of the development of a Linux distribution that bears the same name and its mission is to provide an elegant and friendly interface so that the use of the computer becomes a pleasant experience.
Deepin or DDE ( Deeping Desktop Environment ) is based on HTML5 technologies and focuses its attention on intuitive design. It has its own applications, among which we can find the Deepin Software Center, DMusic and DPlayer. Considering its ease of use, it is considered a good alternative to Windows, both for the home and the office.
Hawaii is a light, consistent and fast desktop that aims to be the first specifically created for Wayland. It is the product of the Maui OS development team and according to its creations, it has been designed to be easy to use and built with the idea of taking full advantage of the benefits of new technologies such as Qt 5, QtQuick and Wayland.
Its purpose is to offer the best user experience regardless of the device it is running on, that’s why it has been designed using adaptive design. The interface adjusts to the needs of the platform, this means that on a desktop computer it takes advantage of the space to have more elements and the distribution is optimized for keyboard use, while on mobile devices the number of elements is reduced but take advantage of touch capabilities.