Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

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Which Desktop Environment Would You Recommend To Linux Newbies?

Poll ended at Tue May 22, 2012 4:31 am

1. KDE
5
11%
2.LXDE
4
9%
3.Gnome Shell
2
4%
4. Unity
4
9%
5. Xfce
12
26%
6. MATE
7
15%
7. Cinnamon
12
26%
8. Gnome Fallback
0
No votes
9. Other
1
2%
 
Total votes : 47

Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby KBD47 on Mon May 07, 2012 4:31 am

I've given a lot of thought to Clem's recent poll regarding favorite desktops, and I thought perhaps a similar poll of recommendations to Linux newbies might be enlightening. For instance, for myself in Clem's poll I listed: MATE, Xfce, and Gnome Fallback. But in this poll I recommended KDE and MATE. I think for newbies those are good, Window's-like choices to get them started in Linux.
So what do you think?
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby altair4 on Mon May 07, 2012 7:20 am

I think this is coming down to the age of the user and what his/her experiences are when coming to Linux. I for one don't know the correct spelling of "pair-a-dime" so I opt for a more traditional desktop which leads me to XFCE. The argument against XFCE in the past has been that it wasn't anywhere near as functional or configurable as Gnome and although it was faster is wasn't that much faster. But today neither is Gnome3 or any of it's derivatives / forks.

The exception is Cinnamon which would be my second choice.
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby SallyK on Mon May 07, 2012 1:33 pm

I agree, XFCE. I'm a huge Cinnamon fan, but until there's a way of adding applets that doesn't involve adding a PPA or copying them into hidden folders manually, I'm not sure it's the best for a new user.
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby kurok on Mon May 07, 2012 3:41 pm

mate because its familiar cinnamon because it can help them learn some aspects of gnome 3 with a familiar looking desktop
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby cwwgateway on Mon May 07, 2012 6:27 pm

Cinnamon because it basically looks a fair amount like windows (I'm not in any way saying that it's a windows copy) and it is pretty good by default (I can also service it if necessary). I'd also give them a pre-configured mint Xfce because it's fast and usable and windows like-ish if you use the mint version. Between Cinnamon and Xfce, I'd go with Xfce because it works a lot better on older hardware as well as newer stuff (not nearly as many driver issues). I'd say KDE except it has too many options and settings IMHO.
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby baptiste on Thu May 10, 2012 9:05 am

I'm a big fan of LXDE, though it lacks a menu editor and you have to install lxmed separately. newbie user can't even create a shortcut.

barring that it's fast, stable, windows-like and you can hardly get more simple than it.

MATE is great, but the way it's set up in mint (at least in LMDE), it looks like a xfce/lxde clone. this is confusing when expecting classic gnome2 with two panels and classic menu. so that's the little issue I have. with the other desktops, user can learn them and still use them even on another distro
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby baptiste on Thu May 10, 2012 9:11 am

SallyK wrote:I agree, XFCE. I'm a huge Cinnamon fan, but until there's a way of adding applets that doesn't involve adding a PPA or copying them into hidden folders manually, I'm not sure it's the best for a new user.


that's unavoidable, unless maybe you rewrite it to use an extension system similar to the one in Firefox, where users are expected to add extensions as user. you'd need an execution engine to run sandboxed code, and all the UI would depend on it. I guess a huge rewrite of gnome3 would be needed and it could get even slower.

I hope a large selection of applets will be included. applets are dearly missing from MATE as well, I miss xeyes and the fish :)
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby RobC on Thu May 10, 2012 10:57 am

I think KDE is relatively user friendly, however the plethora of customization options it offers can be quite daunting - for this reason my vote has gone to Gnome2/MATE.
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby SallyK on Thu May 10, 2012 12:18 pm

that's unavoidable, unless maybe you rewrite it to use an extension system similar to the one in Firefox, where users are expected to add extensions as user. you'd need an execution engine to run sandboxed code, and all the UI would depend on it. I guess a huge rewrite of gnome3 would be needed and it could get even slower.


But Gnome Shell itself has a method of installing extensions that simply involves visiting a website and activating and de-activating them. I'm no programmer, but it does make me wonder why installing applets would necessarily be that much more difficult.

Under Gnome 2, a lot of applets were included in the repositories - a dedicated applet repository might be one solution. Or a similar system to Gnome Shell, using the shiny new website that already exists for Cinnamon.
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby KBD47 on Thu May 10, 2012 1:34 pm

baptiste wrote:I'm a big fan of LXDE, though it lacks a menu editor and you have to install lxmed separately. newbie user can't even create a shortcut.

barring that it's fast, stable, windows-like and you can hardly get more simple than it.

MATE is great, but the way it's set up in mint (at least in LMDE), it looks like a xfce/lxde clone. this is confusing when expecting classic gnome2 with two panels and classic menu. so that's the little issue I have. with the other desktops, user can learn them and still use them even on another distro


I like LXDE as well, my concern for newbies is that it's fairly easy to bork if you start trying to add/remove things from the panel without really knowing how ahead of time. I think the first thing I did when I tried LXDE for the first time was delete the menu icon and couldn't get it back.
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby KBD47 on Thu May 10, 2012 1:36 pm

RobC wrote:I think KDE is relatively user friendly, however the plethora of customization options it offers can be quite daunting - for this reason my vote has gone to Gnome2/MATE.


KDE does have a lot of bloat, my thought was that it "feels" much like Windows XP, which also has plenty of bloat. But KDE also seems fairly intuitive for being such a huge desktop.
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby monkeyboy on Thu May 10, 2012 2:01 pm

KBD47 wrote:I've given a lot of thought to Clem's recent poll regarding favorite desktops, and I thought perhaps a similar poll of recommendations to Linux newbies might be enlightening. For instance, for myself in Clem's poll I listed: MATE, Xfce, and Gnome Fallback. But in this poll I recommended KDE and MATE. I think for newbies those are good, Window's-like choices to get them started in Linux.
So what do you think?
KBD47


+1 on that. Best is really dependent on individual experience and expectations. What Linux desktop I could suggest to someone coming from XP would be different then what I could suggest to a person coming from Vista or OSX. I don't think there is one universal choice. Enjoy
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby hellfire695 on Thu May 10, 2012 2:09 pm

For new users i say gnome2/mate, its generally harder to break. however some may feel more at home with kde since aero is basically a kde wonna be
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby animaguy on Thu May 10, 2012 2:40 pm

I say xfce.

Here are my reasons.

It installed easily although I had to learn linux-swap and QPart.

The wifi worked easily.

Bracero makes it easy to burn other isos to a DVD/RW. Once you have a base OS, you can experiment with other Linux distros.

And it is an easy evironment to practice installing and removing packages via command line.



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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby 3fRI on Fri May 11, 2012 9:48 am

The "best" desktop for newbies depends on the PC, whether desktop, laptop, or notebook, they use. If they're using a newer powerful desktop or laptop, LM 12 main edition with cinnamon is straight forward and is easy to install and set up. My only complaint with it (as well as with LXDE) is that the gui printer config app in system settings doesn't allow the user to set up a printer manually, if necessary, as KDE does.

Speaking of KDE, the desktop is gorgeous, but I don't like the way the distro is organized, and I think it would be confusing for many newbies because it isn't as intuitive as I expected. It also seems somewhat bloated with all the bells and whistles, and it doesn't run as fast as LXDE or XFCE. After trying it out via CD live, I decided to see how it ran on my MacBook hard drive. The install was quick and smooth. It recognized wlan immediately and both my wireless and wired printers worked as soon as I added them. I initially had sound, but the headphones didn't work. I tried several workarounds and now the sound doesn't work at all, which is the deal breaker for me. LXDE is the best choice for my older MacBook. XFCE is fine, too, but LXDE seems faster. In sum, each person will needs to find the desktop that works best for him or her.

FWIW, I wouldn't recommend LMDE for a newbie because it doesn't seem especially stable and, personally, I've found it's time consuming to set up and tweak after installing. :roll:
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby baptiste on Fri May 11, 2012 4:25 pm

also with ubuntu based versions, newbies can troubleshoot their problems on ubuntu forums! but you have to tell them about that (i.e. mint 12 is ubuntu 11.10, mint 13 is ubuntu 12.04 etc.)
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby 3fRI on Fri May 11, 2012 5:05 pm

FWIW: I finally managed to fix the sound problem that I had with LM 12 KDE. As usual, I installed gnome-alsa mixer and unclicked the !@#$%^&*)(! speakers, but I had neglected to fix the kmix settings. They need to be analog digital stereo and not digital stereo. Speakers and headphone now work great.

Although I love the desktop, I prefer one a lot leaner, but I'll stick with KDE for a bit longer before I decide to switch back to LXDE. 8)
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby KBD47 on Fri May 11, 2012 6:14 pm

baptiste wrote:also with ubuntu based versions, newbies can troubleshoot their problems on ubuntu forums! but you have to tell them about that (i.e. mint 12 is ubuntu 11.10, mint 13 is ubuntu 12.04 etc.)


To me the number one selling point for Ubuntu is that so many people use it that any problem you run into, it's likely someone else has dealt with it. Google can help you keep your machine running, that and Ubuntu forum.
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby KBD47 on Fri May 11, 2012 6:20 pm

3fRI wrote:FWIW: I finally managed to fix the sound problem that I had with LM 12 KDE. As usual, I installed gnome-alsa mixer and unclicked the !@#$%^&*)(! speakers, but I had neglected to fix the kmix settings. They need to be analog digital stereo and not digital stereo. Speakers and headphone now work great.

Although I love the desktop, I prefer one a lot leaner, but I'll stick with KDE for a bit longer before I decide to switch back to LXDE. 8)


Turn off KDE desktop effects, the animations on oxygen-settings, and graphical effects to low display and low resolution, and you would be surprised how well KDE will run. I'm using it right now on a 2x processor with 756 mb ram.
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Re: Best Desktop For Linux Newbies?

Postby 3fRI on Fri May 11, 2012 8:01 pm

KBD47 wrote:
3fRI wrote:FWIW: I finally managed to fix the sound problem that I had with LM 12 KDE. As usual, I installed gnome-alsa mixer and unclicked the !@#$%^&*)(! speakers, but I had neglected to fix the kmix settings. They need to be analog digital stereo and not digital stereo. Speakers and headphone now work great.

Although I love the desktop, I prefer one a lot leaner, but I'll stick with KDE for a bit longer before I decide to switch back to LXDE. 8)


Turn off KDE desktop effects, the animations on oxygen-settings, and graphical effects to low display and low resolution, and you would be surprised how well KDE will run. I'm using it right now on a 2x processor with 756 mb ram.


Thanks for the tip. I've done that and it does seem quicker, but I'll see how it goes for a few days. :D
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