The Beginner's Guide to Linux, Part 3: Choosing Your Window Manager and Desktop Environment

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grayscare0

Fluxbox all the way.  I haven't bothered with KDE4 at all, and GNOME is okay but doesn't have enough customization options.

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Keith E. Whisman

I prefer whatever the Distro uses as it's main desktop. Usually that desktop will have all the tweaks and good looks and support and just plain look the best. I've experimented with different desktops in different distros and pretty much the only distro that I know of that gave full support did it's best to make it look cool for both KDE and Gnome was Fedora Core. I like Mandriva, Open Suse, Fedora Core and Ubuntu as my favorite. 

For me at least I can look at a Distro's default desktop and decide if I like it and if not I'll move on. Remember the Default Desktop environment is always going to look the best and be the easiest to use.

That's why there is a seperate KDE version of Ubuntu instead of just using KDE one day and Gnome the next it's best with Ubuntu to either install KDE Ubuntu or Kbuntu or standard Gnome Ubuntu. 

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praetor_alpha

Almost forgot... Where's Compiz?

 Although this is great for an introduction to desktop environments and window managers, this artice should include at least a mention of Compiz.  Sure it requires a desktop environment to run on top of, but it's one of the coolest things ever on Linux.

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Keith E. Whisman

I believe they covered Compiz in their last article or was that number 1. Oh well it's just an application that gives you some nifty 3D desktop effects and turns your desktop into a giant cube that allows you to use all the side of the cube as different desktops. Very excellent virtual desktop.

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AntiHero

Compiz isn't really a desktop environment, it's more just an application like RocketDock is to Windows. It's just special effects to lure someone to finding linux cooler and more aesthetically pleasing, or making linux a little simpler to use (the cube function is what makes it a tad simpler to use multiple workspaces) however the thing is, like you said, it needs a desktop environment to run on, since it isn't one of its own.

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MAXPCreader07

Isnt Compiz itself a window manager?

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cfmwarren

 From what people are saying, Compiz sounds like Deskspace for windows. Rocketdock is not nearly as good as ObjectDock BTW.

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AntiHero

Yes and no to it being deskspace. Linux has integrated desk space. adding extra "Workspaces" which by default are transferrable, by a click on the bar, where there can be as many as you'd like. There is the option in Compiz to make it a cube, (or pentagon, or hexatuplemegagon or whatever you want depending on the variable of sides (workspaces) you have.) you can also have compiz display every window as a 3d object when you go into the cube mode, and you can pick ones behind other ones, and bring them up (mainly an aesthetic thing, not very efficient) and you can also instead of a cube, bring all workspaces into the monitor as a grid (think multiplayer on one tv with consoles..) The cube works with 3 or more (if you have 2, it flips like a piece of paper), so not really a cube, but it's cube because most of the time people have 4 workspaces, like myself. The rest of compiz, is visual effects like burining windows, fire writing on the screen, raindrops while you're working, with wipers to remove rain ripples, water effect like dropping the windows into a puddle, folding windows when you minimize/close (same for the fire really) and a whole slew of visuals, like making the cube see through, so you can watch a movie (a little backwards mind you) on the opposite side of the cube, or having an aquarium in the cube when you go to rotate it. It's all for making it flashy, you need to have special effects enabled through the display settings.

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Tagge

I personally pefer Xfce. I ended up having it forced on me when I installed MythDora back in the day, and slowly it grew on me. It became that odd flavoured bevage that you slowly start to love over time. Finally about a year ago, I switched to using it on my main Desktop machine, and also my Netbook. Now? Well it's all I use. Simple, fast, and very little overhead. Lets me run Linux in all its glory w/out the large footprint Gnome and KDE leave... though comparative to Windows? They're pretty small too.

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praetor_alpha

Once I discovered a serious security flaw with the (hidden) emergency partition on my notebook, I began to look for distros the could fit in about 4 gigs.  I eventually settled with Xubuntu, and I love it.  Can't wait for 9.04, with EXT4 and Xfce 4.6!

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MAXPCreader07

I like my Openbox. Its blazing fast compared to Gnome and KDE.

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justinmc

Xfce has a different file manager, different system apps, and a whole hell of a lot less resource usage. Just because it uses GTK doesn't mean it's the same thing!

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