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The 10 Best Linux Desktop Environments in 2018

Linux is a family of free and open-source software operating systems built around the Linux kernel. Typically, Linux is packaged in a form known as a Linux Distribution (or distro for short) for both desktop and server use. This applies at the same time as acting a comparison of computing device environments as they incorporate of various application packages and a GUI through which the user interacts with the operating gadget.

Nobody slaps you with a copyright even if you change the supply code of a distro to fork your Linux distro and release it with a brand new name. You’ve got the choice of selecting from masses of distributions and personalize them as in keeping with your will. Only one aspect the creators might also ask you is to offer them proper credits due to the fact they’ve also invested their efforts and time. well, that’s a another matter.

Primarily based free operating systems, are many alternatives available and our listing of exceptional Linux computing device surrounding environment and their evaluation consists of the likes of KDE, Cinnamon, Xfce, GNOME, and so forth.

You do have desktop environments on windows and MacOS. the Linux distros are customizable, so, you may installation any other computing device of your preference. The Linux distros are customizable, so, you may installation any other computing device of your preference. This ensures a relatively simpler workflow and faster overall performance. They may be accessed the usage of a preferred graphical user interface (GUI) options.

However these proprietary operating systems don’t let you change the default laptop. The most you may do is alter the appearance in their GUI through making use of themes, wallpapers, icons, and so forth.


Deliver these brief Linux computing device evaluation and pick one as in keeping with your needs — It’s not a rating of 10 exceptional desktop gadgets environments.

The 10 Best Linux Desktop Environments in 2018

1. KDE Plasma

Latest Stable Release: KDE Plasma 5.11

The tools and utilities shipped with KDE Plasma are collectively called KDE application packages. It’s available for the Linux circle of relatives of operating systems. The Plasma Linux desktop environment through the KDE software program community is one of the most customizable graphical computing device environments.

It is able to perform batch file rename tasks comfortably and gives tabbed browsing support.The task manager on Plasma 5 indicates live window previews upon hovering the mouse over an lively application name.A amazing addition to the KDE applications bundle is the default file manager Dolphin which got here to Plasma desktop
environment with the release of Plasma 4. Other popular desktop environments have commenced to add this feature. you furthermore may have manipulate options, in case, you’re soaring on an audio or video player in the taskbar. It gives users the liberty to add multiple panels at the computing device.

KRunner is the launcher in this top Linux desktop which acts as form of a mini command line. Similarly to establishing and closing apps, you may additionally execute shell commands the use of the launcher.  Jump Lists are any other addition to the task manager permitting you to access fundamental options for a software through
performing a right-click on its launcher icon.

An Ubuntu version presenting the KDE desktop is referred to as Kubuntu. The Ubuntu-based totally Linux Mint is well-known for Cinnamon however it additionally has a KDE desktop version which you could try. The KDE Plasma comes as a default Linux desktop environment for the OpenSUSE Linux distro.

You may additionally access your Android and Blackberry gadgets wirelessly the usage of the KDE connect application. It permits you to fetch device notifications, check battery status, access storage. There are numerous other Linux distros like Netrunner, Fedora KDE, Slackware, etc.


Latest Stable Release: 3.26

It is designed with a intention of imparting simplicity, ease of access, and reliability to the users. These things have contributed to GNOME’s recognition and putting it along KDE for the exceptional desktop.This famous desktop environment is slightly more youthful than KDE, and it is made of only free and open source software program (FOSS).GNOME is an acronym for GNU community object model environment.

A super characteristic is the activities button on the top-left corner of the display screen. you can also press the amazing Key/windows Key to get try to access it. The activities button allows switching among workspaces and windows. GNOME 3.18 introduced Google drive integration to the desktop environment permitting file sharing
capability right out of the container.

This customizable desktop environment makes use of the X Window system display server, however the guide for Wayland has been introduced with the launch of version 3.10. The developers have used Wayland to enhance capabilities like kinetic scrolling, drag and drop, and middle-click paste.The GNOME project develops GNOME, and it
is primarily based at the GTK+ toolkit with a focal point on productivity as consistent with GNOME’s Human Interface recommendations.

Along side updates to the dconf editor, this top notch Linux desktop environment also provides the batch report rename feature to its record browser application which become a much-needed characteristic and was already present on KDE Plasma. The file manager also can access compressed files without the need of any separate
application.The trendy GNOME 3.22 Linux desktop environment launch integrates Flaptak application framework and takes advantage of its security functions.

Many incredible Linux distros include the GNOME desktop as the default desktop environment. you can set up Fedora, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu GNOME, Debian, and Arch Linux which are remarkable Linux distros providing the GNOME desktop.

3. Cinnamon

Latest Stable Release: 3.6

While the GNOME shell become brought with the GNOME 3 launch, it changed into the scenario of a dilemma for the Linux Mint team. They couldn’t go for the GNOME shell as it didn’t in shape their goals however there was no alternative opportunities. It’s one of the most famous and high-quality desktop environments which comes because
the default environment on the Linux Mint. concerning age, Cinnamon is as old as MATE (stated under) and shares comparable origin history.That’s when an progressed model of the GNOME shell was created and became referred to as Mint GNOME Shell Extensions (MGSE). however MGSE didn’t meet the expectancies of the Linux Mint team,
and they commenced the Cinnamon project to create a forked graphical shell.

Cinnamon is all approximately person enjoy, and it is full of animations and effects. earlier than moving ahead on this Linux dekstop environment comparison, let me inform you that people transitioning from windows will discover Cinnamon somewhat acquainted and simpler to use. It’s one of my personal favorites.

This top laptop environment have become strong and stable and packed with new features best while the team began the usage of the Ubuntu LTS launch for Linux Mint 17 and later.With time, Cinnamon matured into a entire laptop environment, however a few people still consider it’s a graphical shell. It also incorporates forked variations of GNOME 3 additives. In the course of preliminary years of Cinnamon getting into lifestyles, the Linux Mint group turned into adopting normal Ubuntu launch for the development of their distro. But it welcomed a plethora of bugs and shortcomings to Cinnamon.

Linux Mint is the great choice for attempting Cinnamon desktop as Linux Mint Cinnamon version is Mint project’s flagship release. however, you can also installation it on other Linux distros like Debian, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Fedora, and many others.


Latest Stable Release: 1.18

MATE Linux computer comes with many forked variations of GNOME core applications in addition to many evolved-from-scratch programs.

MATE Linux desktop environment’s largest USP is that it doesn’t consume your hardware resources. This mild Linux desktop environment can run it on price range machines having a lack of hardware like Raspberry Pi.

Famous distributions offering MATE desktop environment are Ubuntu MATE, Linux Mint MATE, Fedora, Debian, Manjaro Linux, and so on.

The forked packages had been renamed to keep away from conflict with GNOME 3. It runs at the GTK+3 toolkit and it is supported through developers like Martin Wimpress (co-founder of Ubuntu MATE project), Alan Pope (co-founder Canonical and Ubuntu), and developers from Linux Mint.MATE is initially an extension of the GNOME 2 desktop, however it doesn’t imply it uses old technologies and software program. In comparison to KDE, GNOME, and Cinnamon, MATE is a light-weight desktop environment.MATE is only a child in contrast to Plasma and GNOME, that have crossed their teenage. the brand new desktop environment, five-year-old to be specific, manages to grab a place below them.

It additionally follows the recursive acronym subculture and stands for MATE advanced traditional environment. The desktop environment become materialized through Perberos following the GNOME 3 controversy.

5. Xfce

Latest Stable Release: 4.12

This light-weight desktop environment is designed in keeping with the standards proposed through Xfce is another desktop environment aimed for machines with restricted hardware. starting in 1996, it has been in existence for almost two decades. The creators of Xfce say the xfwm4 window manager used within the desktop environment. Adhering to its cause, Xfce lacks the animations and special graphics. however it doesn’t fail to include all the essential components and capabilities one might expect from a famous desktop environment. ordinary, it’s one of the maximum famous lightweight Linux desktops.

6. Pantheon

When you have heard about the Ubuntu-based basic OS, which is frequently known as the most stunning Linux distro, you might be aware about its default desktop environment Pantheon. Its core programs – written in Vala and C – are both designed from bottom to top or find their roots within the GNOME application programs. Pantheon’s design follows a philosophy of minimizing the need for the command line. The bottom of the desktop display screen capabilities a macOS style dock wherein the users can hook their preferred applications. It is a lightweight desktop environment however doesn’t compromise on the looks. Pantheon comes with a couple of workspaces and helps hot corners which may be activated within the gadget settings.

7. LXQt

Latest Stable Release: 0.12.0

The application programs and components for this LXQt computer environment are designed using Qt and KDE Frameworks five. Sprung out as LXDE derivative in 2014, the LXQt desktop environment reveals its home at the Linux distros designed to hold the “light-weight desktop for Linux” tag. LXQT Linux desktop environment may not be
capable of please the users who find comfort in an amazing looking user interface flaunting its pix on their machines. however, it would be able to run on older machines with lower display resolution and a scarcity of hardware resources.

8. Budgie

Latest Stable Release: 10.4

Aside from Solus, Budgie has acquired friendly gestures from different distros. Within the case of Ubuntu, there may be a separate and official Ubuntu flavor called Ubuntu Budgie. also, Arch Linux has included the Budgie desktop in its repository. It’s possibly the youngest desktop environment existing nowadays after PIXEL desktop determined on Raspbian. This desktop environment is the face of the Solus family – Linux distros with the lowest booting time – maintained through the Solus project.

It permits easy get try to access to the calendar and distinct manage alternatives for extent, audio playback, strength alternatives, and many others. other than Cinnamon, Budgie is my any other personal preferred Linux distro.A USP for Budgie is Raven – a combined area for notifications, widgets, and various customization alternatives.


It is a forked version of the LXDE desktop surroundings supposed for use at the Raspberry Pi single board computer systems. It doesn’t have plenty to provide besides some soothing wallpapers and the set of packages to be used at the Raspberry Pi hardware. Released in 2016, PIXEL is the default desktop environment on the Raspbian Linux Distro. PIXEL Linux desktop comes with an emulator software for SenseHAT – an extension board for Raspberry Pi computers.

10. Unity (Scheduled to be discontinued, forked)

Latest Stable Release: 7.5 (Unity 8 in development)

The Canonical-built unity existed on the world’s most famous Linux distribution Ubuntu. Many people consider unity as a desktop environment, however it is best a graphical shell constructed on top of the GNOME desktop surroundings. It uses many unaltered GNOME equipment and software. but, Canonical has now shifted back to GNOME desktop.

The user interface in this popular desktop environment may grow to be laggy from time to time in case you’re the usage of a gadget that doesn’t provoke people at the specs chart. A remarkable feature on unity is referred to as HUD (Head-up display) which debuted with the launch of Ubuntu 12.04. Plenty of features and looks of unity were ported to Ubuntu’s GNOME implementation.The launcher on unity which facilitates app switching is placed vertically at the left side of the display screen. It become done to save screen area on smaller machines called Netbooks. for my part, I didn’t adore it during my preliminary days on Ubuntu.

Unity desktop environment offers you easy looks and the software program center wherein you can find tools and application packages for Ubuntu. Still available within the archives and as an optional session, unity is for the users who are new to Linux and don’t need to battle with the command line.

Apart from the desktop version, unity is also available on Ubuntu for other devices like smartphones, tablets, tv, and so on. But, their improvement is now based of third-party developers.

Editor’s Recommendation:

There are plenty of selections in the Linux global world and the question “what is the great Linux computing device environment” doesn’t have a particular solution. but, there are some incredible picks on this evaluation which are loved by way of all, As I’ve referred to. In case you’re seeking out a strength-packed and characteristic-rich desktop environment, go for KDE or Cinnamon. In case you’re seeking out a light Linux desktop, pick out Xfce.

Don’t forget about to give feedback and share your views with us :). So, which Linux desktop environment is in your prefer?

Noor Qureshi

Experienced Founder with a demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry. Skilled in Network Security and Information Security.

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