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What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ...

Postby Khalid on Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:16 am

LXDE? Gnome?

May I know, what the heck are those?
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby gqpolo on Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:19 am

Debian is it's own very stable distro.
Flux is a window manager
XFCE, Gnome, & LXDE are desktop environments
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby richyrich on Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:37 am

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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby jesica on Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:45 pm

what are you using
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby Robin on Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:40 pm

That is a very broad question (But I understand a newbie wouldn't know how so), so let me try to whittle it down a bit. If you're coming to Linux for the first time from Windows or Mac, you're not familiar with the very concept of having different desktops to choose from! The only thing I ever really changed on my Windows desktop was wallpaper and themes. But in Linux, you can choose different window managers and desktop environments.

The two are different things. The window manager controls how the desktop windows are "drawn" by your computer. When we refer to windows in Linux, we don't mean that other operating system by Microsoft, we mean the little boxes that contain the graphics for whatever application you launch. Microsoft did a smart thing by calling their OS "Windows." It sort of suggests that they invented the little things. But in fact, long before there was the Windows operating system, there were windows with borders to separate running applications. Unix and DOS both had windows.

In Linux you can choose between window managers like Icewm, Openbox, Fluxbox, and Xfwm. Openbox is a big favorite because it has a nice "right-click anywhere on the desktop" feature that brings up a whole menu from which you can launch applications, open a terminal, etc. You can even have wallpaper. Many folks with older low-powered machines use only a window manager and no desktop environment at all. Without the extra visual "eye candy" and decorations, computers running only a window manager run very fast! Fluxbox is considered a little less "newbie friendly" than Openbox, but "Mintified," I'm sure that isn't the case with our Fluxbox edition. Google the term "Linux window managers screenshots" to see what can be done with just a bare-bones window manager!

A desktop environment on the other hand includes a window manager but also includes stuff like panels, applets, and applications that are designed to work best in that particular desktop environment. Among desktop environments are KDE, Gnome, Xfce, Enlightenment, and LXDE. Each has it's own special features and applications. The "heavyweight" desktop environments (KDE and Gnome) have all sorts of wonderful features like "plasmoids" and the famous "spinning cube." They're more demanding on resources, but on computers 2 years old or newer, they run plenty fast. Xfce is kinda sorta like "Gnome Lite," if you will. It "feels like" Gnome but offers fewer of the extra fancy features and is designed to work better on modest hardware. LXDE is a very "lightweight" desktop environment - so light in fact that it has been "accused" of being a window manager instead of a full-fledged desktop environment. The look of LXDE reminds alot of people of what "Windows 98" looked like.

Each of the desktop environments has it's own set of applications that work best in their "native" environment. That is called "integration." Xfce applications, for example, are integrated into the Xfce desktop environment, so the experience of applications in their "native" desktop environment will tend to be snappier and more responsive. Most people mix-and-match applications anyway. You can use any application in any desktop environment! But if you have limited space on your hard drive, it's better not to do that, since installing a single KDE application onto a Gnome desktop, for example, may also "pull in" large libraries from the other desktop environment. Here's are some of the applications listed according to the desktop environment they are native to:

CD Burners:
K3B - KDE
Brasero - Gnome
Xfburn - Xfce

File managers:
Konqueror - KDE
Nautilus - Gnome
Thunar - Xfce
PCManFM - LXDE

Music Players:
Amarok - KDE
Rhythmbox - Gnome
Exaile - Xfce
LXMusic - LXDE

These are just a few examples. The KDE file manager also doubles as a nice web browser! Some find it complicated, others love it. Brasero always just makes coasters out of my blank CDs, but both Xfburn and K3B work flawlessly. Other people find that Brasero works best for them. The only way to be sure is to "use what you have," and if it doesn't work or you don't like it, try one of the others. So much choice! It's wonderful, but a bit overwhelming to a newbie. So much of it is a matter of taste and what works on your own machine. It took me a year of trying them all to finally choose a favorite (I'm an Xfce fanboy now - but that could change too)! I chose what works fastest on my hardware yet still offers most of the features I want in a desktop.

Now you see why it's a bigger question than it seems like at first! Sooooo many choices! But don't hurry! Try a few, one every month or two when you feel like exploring, and if you're delighted with what you've got, just keep it! But it's fun to see what the others are like. Many a nicely "pimped out" desktop with wicked special effects has won a few people over from Windows and Mac. And many an aging heap has been saved from a landfill and converted into a screamin' fast machine by a sweet-and-simple, bare-bones window manager! A number of families from the studio where I take dance class have been won over by the mind-bending speed and elegance of a lightweight Xfce mixture on an ancient old dinosaur that was donated for the kids to use.

How to choose?

1. - Look at screenshots from the different DEs and WMs and pick a pretty one!

2. - Consider a "lightweight" if you have an older, low-resource computer that you want to run fast!

3. - Experiment with the different applications from the different DEs and see what works best for you and fits your needs and tastes.

4. - Don't forget to ask your family if you share the computer with them!

Enjoy the ride. It's fun to try them all.

Hope this wasn't too long...

-Robin
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby Khalid on Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:54 am

Robin wrote:That is a very broad question (But I understand a newbie wouldn't know how so), so let me try to whittle it down a bit. If you're coming to Linux for the first time from Windows or Mac, you're not familiar with the very concept of having different desktops to choose from! The only thing I ever really changed on my Windows desktop was wallpaper and themes. But in Linux, you can choose different window managers and desktop environments.

The two are different things. The window manager controls how the desktop windows are "drawn" by your computer. When we refer to windows in Linux, we don't mean that other operating system by Microsoft, we mean the little boxes that contain the graphics for whatever application you launch. Microsoft did a smart thing by calling their OS "Windows." It sort of suggests that they invented the little things. But in fact, long before there was the Windows operating system, there were windows with borders to separate running applications. Unix and DOS both had windows.

In Linux you can choose between window managers like Icewm, Openbox, Fluxbox, and Xfwm. Openbox is a big favorite because it has a nice "right-click anywhere on the desktop" feature that brings up a whole menu from which you can launch applications, open a terminal, etc. You can even have wallpaper. Many folks with older low-powered machines use only a window manager and no desktop environment at all. Without the extra visual "eye candy" and decorations, computers running only a window manager run very fast! Fluxbox is considered a little less "newbie friendly" than Openbox, but "Mintified," I'm sure that isn't the case with our Fluxbox edition. Google the term "Linux window managers screenshots" to see what can be done with just a bare-bones window manager!

A desktop environment on the other hand includes a window manager but also includes stuff like panels, applets, and applications that are designed to work best in that particular desktop environment. Among desktop environments are KDE, Gnome, Xfce, Enlightenment, and LXDE. Each has it's own special features and applications. The "heavyweight" desktop environments (KDE and Gnome) have all sorts of wonderful features like "plasmoids" and the famous "spinning cube." They're more demanding on resources, but on computers 2 years old or newer, they run plenty fast. Xfce is kinda sorta like "Gnome Lite," if you will. It "feels like" Gnome but offers fewer of the extra fancy features and is designed to work better on modest hardware. LXDE is a very "lightweight" desktop environment - so light in fact that it has been "accused" of being a window manager instead of a full-fledged desktop environment. The look of LXDE reminds alot of people of what "Windows 98" looked like.

Each of the desktop environments has it's own set of applications that work best in their "native" environment. That is called "integration." Xfce applications, for example, are integrated into the Xfce desktop environment, so the experience of applications in their "native" desktop environment will tend to be snappier and more responsive. Most people mix-and-match applications anyway. You can use any application in any desktop environment! But if you have limited space on your hard drive, it's better not to do that, since installing a single KDE application onto a Gnome desktop, for example, may also "pull in" large libraries from the other desktop environment. Here's are some of the applications listed according to the desktop environment they are native to:

CD Burners:
K3B - KDE
Brasero - Gnome
Xfburn - Xfce

File managers:
Konqueror - KDE
Nautilus - Gnome
Thunar - Xfce
PCManFM - LXDE

Music Players:
Amarok - KDE
Rhythmbox - Gnome
Exaile - Xfce
LXMusic - LXDE

These are just a few examples. The KDE file manager also doubles as a nice web browser! Some find it complicated, others love it. Brasero always just makes coasters out of my blank CDs, but both Xfburn and K3B work flawlessly. Other people find that Brasero works best for them. The only way to be sure is to "use what you have," and if it doesn't work or you don't like it, try one of the others. So much choice! It's wonderful, but a bit overwhelming to a newbie. So much of it is a matter of taste and what works on your own machine. It took me a year of trying them all to finally choose a favorite (I'm an Xfce fanboy now - but that could change too)! I chose what works fastest on my hardware yet still offers most of the features I want in a desktop.

Now you see why it's a bigger question than it seems like at first! Sooooo many choices! But don't hurry! Try a few, one every month or two when you feel like exploring, and if you're delighted with what you've got, just keep it! But it's fun to see what the others are like. Many a nicely "pimped out" desktop with wicked special effects has won a few people over from Windows and Mac. And many an aging heap has been saved from a landfill and converted into a screamin' fast machine by a sweet-and-simple, bare-bones window manager! A number of families from the studio where I take dance class have been won over by the mind-bending speed and elegance of a lightweight Xfce mixture on an ancient old dinosaur that was donated for the kids to use.

How to choose?

1. - Look at screenshots from the different DEs and WMs and pick a pretty one!

2. - Consider a "lightweight" if you have an older, low-resource computer that you want to run fast!

3. - Experiment with the different applications from the different DEs and see what works best for you and fits your needs and tastes.

4. - Don't forget to ask your family if you share the computer with them!

Enjoy the ride. It's fun to try them all.

Hope this wasn't too long...

-Robin

Wow! Robin, that was beyond amazing and seriously, very helpful! I've read it all and now I understand everything about this, thank you a whole lot! I really appreciate you taking your time typing all that, unlike the other 3 posters that left me lost, lol, once again.. thank you so much!

So I guess I will fall for LXDE or XFCE, since I like it lighter.

Well, 3rd time.. thank you. Oh and yes, I replaced Windows with Linux since I was very pissed with Windows a few days back, and I'm happy I did that, but I regret the files I have lost, lol, I guess I'll move on.
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby Mereyub on Sun Mar 27, 2011 1:54 am

I'm New and this was the 1st thing i saw - All i can say is WOW if this is the kind of answers you get here i am Super Happy i joined Please Keep it Up!!
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby craig10x on Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:25 am

As a newbie...i'd recommend you try Mint 10 main edition (gnome) first...It's the most commonly used Mint system...You may like KDE because it will remind you a bit of windows and a bit more "eye candyish" (lol)...but Gnome is actually a bit simpler to use...and Clem does up Mint gnome very nicely, it is pretty attractive in it's own right...

For the more experienced, LMDE is becoming very popular and it's what i use now...but i was on Mint main for quite a long time...
LMDE is directly based on debian rather the ubuntu as the other mint editions are (although the smaller ones like XFCE are going debian now)...
LMDE is a "rolling distro" which never has to be re-installed...but it gets constant updates...and is still a bit more "rough around the edges" then the main edition...and better for those who have been on linux and using mint for awhile...

That is why i recommend you start with mint main edition...either 32 or 64 bit depending on your computer's processor... :)
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby grey1960envoy on Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:30 pm

I tend to agree with craig10x however go to distrowatch and try a few distros as you may also be happy with something else such as Zorin or Puppy ... Just a thought. remember there are many distros to choose from so don't be afraid to do some experimenting on your own :D :wink: :D
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby ibm450 on Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:00 pm

great thread, and great post robin - it has thought me afew things as im a 2 yr veteran of the linux world as i started of with the good old, at the time, fast mint 7 gloria.

when i did discover mint / linux, i did start off with lm9 kde and was really amazed how functional it was but i was over whelmed by all the extra buttons and levers offered in kde and reverted back to mint 7 gnome.

im currently using 2 flavours of mint on this laptop (lm10 gnome and lm10 kde) but have just recently discovered mint xfce deb edition and was totally blown away with its performance on this laptop.

i currently boot into the xfce iso using unetbootin and other flavours of linux. but in short, i have tried many different linux distros and have found that gnome in general works better for me.
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby odo5435 on Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:13 am

Robin wrote:That is a very broad question (But I understand a newbie wouldn't know how so), so let me try to whittle it down a bit.

"Edited Info... info... info...info... end Edit"

Enjoy the ride. It's fun to try them all.

Hope this wasn't too long...

-Robin


What an amazingly concise reply. I've been using Linux for about a year now (starting with Ubuntu 9.10) and have been searching for the same thing as the OP without finding a satisfactory answer in all that time. Mostly I've found terse, one word sarcasm or far too much technical information to be useful to a beginner.

Thank you @Robin for providing this thoughtful answer which gives enough information to encourage further exploration but without condescension or sarcasm.

Your reply should be made into a 'sticky' or be prominently placed on the Community page.
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby Oscar799 on Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:15 am

Stickied - info provided by Robin will be very useful for new/prospective users
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby lmintnewb on Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:46 am

*All the answers you seek may be provided by a wondrous and miraculous set of tools ! *

1. The mint forum search bar, located yon ! ***

2. **Google*, this fantastic portal which opens up worlds of knowledge and information to the unwashed masses. ( like me )*

*
* *
*
*

I'm just being silly. :D
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby garfield411 on Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:19 am

I posted a similiar question I had searched but didnt find this thread. Thanks. now i know the difference.
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby gms9810 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:30 pm

So does this mean I can witch from say, Compiz to KDE? And if I can will i have to re-install everything?
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby DarkTower87 on Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:59 am

Robin wrote:That is a very broad question (But I understand a newbie wouldn't know how so), so let me try to whittle it down a bit. If you're coming to Linux for the first time from Windows or Mac, you're not familiar with the very concept of having different desktops to choose from! The only thing I ever really changed on my Windows desktop was wallpaper and themes. But in Linux, you can choose different window managers and #

The two are different things. The [color=#0000FF]window manager
controls how the desktop windows are "drawn" by your computer. When we refer to windows in Linux, we don't mean that other operating system by Microsoft, we mean the little boxes that contain the graphics for whatever application you launch. Microsoft did a smart thing by calling their OS "Windows." It sort of suggests that they invented the little things. But in fact, long before there was the Windows operating system, there were windows with borders to separate running applications. Unix and DOS both had windows.

In Linux you can choose between window managers like Icewm, Openbox, Fluxbox, and Xfwm. Openbox is a big favorite because it has a nice "right-click anywhere on the desktop" feature that brings up a whole menu from which you can launch applications, open a terminal, etc. You can even have wallpaper. Many folks with older low-powered machines use only a window manager and no desktop environment at all. Without the extra visual "eye candy" and decorations, computers running only a window manager run very fast! Fluxbox is considered a little less "newbie friendly" than Openbox, but "Mintified," I'm sure that isn't the case with our Fluxbox edition. Google the term "Linux window managers screenshots" to see what can be done with just a bare-bones window manager!

A desktop environment on the other hand includes a window manager but also includes stuff like panels, applets, and applications that are designed to work best in that particular desktop environment. Among desktop environments are KDE, Gnome, Xfce, Enlightenment, and LXDE. Each has it's own special features and applications. The "heavyweight" desktop environments (KDE and Gnome) have all sorts of wonderful features like "plasmoids" and the famous "spinning cube." They're more demanding on resources, but on computers 2 years old or newer, they run plenty fast. Xfce is kinda sorta like "Gnome Lite," if you will. It "feels like" Gnome but offers fewer of the extra fancy features and is designed to work better on modest hardware. LXDE is a very "lightweight" desktop environment - so light in fact that it has been "accused" of being a window manager instead of a full-fledged desktop environment. The look of LXDE reminds alot of people of what "Windows 98" looked like.

Each of the desktop environments has it's own set of applications that work best in their "native" environment. That is called "integration." Xfce applications, for example, are integrated into the Xfce desktop environment, so the experience of applications in their "native" desktop environment will tend to be snappier and more responsive. Most people mix-and-match applications anyway. You can use any application in any desktop environment! But if you have limited space on your hard drive, it's better not to do that, since installing a single KDE application onto a Gnome desktop, for example, may also "pull in" large libraries from the other desktop environment. Here's are some of the applications listed according to the desktop environment they are native to:

CD Burners:
K3B - KDE
Brasero - Gnome
Xfburn - Xfce

File managers:
Konqueror - KDE
Nautilus - Gnome
Thunar - Xfce
PCManFM - LXDE

Music Players:
Amarok - KDE
Rhythmbox - Gnome
Exaile - Xfce
LXMusic - LXDE

These are just a few examples. The KDE file manager also doubles as a nice web browser! Some find it complicated, others love it. Brasero always just makes coasters out of my blank CDs, but both Xfburn and K3B work flawlessly. Other people find that Brasero works best for them. The only way to be sure is to "use what you have," and if it doesn't work or you don't like it, try one of the others. So much choice! It's wonderful, but a bit overwhelming to a newbie. So much of it is a matter of taste and what works on your own machine. It took me a year of trying them all to finally choose a favorite (I'm an Xfce fanboy now - but that could change too)! I chose what works fastest on my hardware yet still offers most of the features I want in a desktop.

Now you see why it's a bigger question than it seems like at first! Sooooo many choices! But don't hurry! Try a few, one every month or two when you feel like exploring, and if you're delighted with what you've got, just keep it! But it's fun to see what the others are like. Many a nicely "pimped out" desktop with wicked special effects has won a few people over from Windows and Mac. And many an aging heap has been saved from a landfill and converted into a screamin' fast machine by a sweet-and-simple, bare-bones window manager! A number of families from the studio where I take dance class have been won over by the mind-bending speed and elegance of a lightweight Xfce mixture on an ancient old dinosaur that was donated for the kids to use.

How to choose?

1. - Look at screenshots from the different DEs and WMs and pick a pretty one!

2. - Consider a "lightweight" if you have an older, low-resource computer that you want to run fast!

3. - Experiment with the different applications from the different DEs and see what works best for you and fits your needs and tastes.

4. - Don't forget to ask your family if you share the computer with them!

Enjoy the ride. It's fun to try them all.

Hope this wasn't too long...

-Robin

Well that was very informative. Thanks!
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby Baddcog on Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:12 pm

Dare I say that Robin's post should be stickied?

Seriously this is probably the most informative post for someone who wants to try Linux. I've tried a few versions (kbuntu and Mint) and found i prefer Mint, but then there are 4-5 distros, etc...

It can be hard enough to find which version of linux you want, then you have more choices that aren't very clear from the front Mint page... This spells it out pretty clearly.
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby Oscar799 on Mon May 02, 2011 3:25 am

Baddcog wrote:Dare I say that Robin's post should be stickied?

Seriously this is probably the most informative post for someone who wants to try Linux. I've tried a few versions (kbuntu and Mint) and found i prefer Mint, but then there are 4-5 distros, etc...

It can be hard enough to find which version of linux you want, then you have more choices that aren't very clear from the front Mint page... This spells it out pretty clearly.


It is - I stickied it on 12th April 2011
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby dwasifar on Tue May 10, 2011 5:51 pm

gms9810 wrote:So does this mean I can witch from say, Compiz to KDE? And if I can will i have to re-install everything?

That is exactly what it means, and no, you don't have to reinstall things. Compiz is not a desktop environment, but I understand what you mean; you're asking if you can switch from one desktop environment (say, Gnome) to another (say, KDE). And the answer is yes.

Furthermore, it is not a destructive choice. If you start with Gnome and later install KDE, for example, then you have both; and each time you log in to the machine you can choose which one to use.

Recently I added the XFCE desktop environment to a machine already using Gnome. The process was simple: I just opened a terminal window and typed sudo apt-get install xfce4. This downloaded and installed the complete XFCE desktop, including all its associated applications; and from then on, both XFCE and Gnome were available choices each time I logged in. Even better, all the applications from both environments were available no matter which one was currently running.
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby mike4ca on Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:18 am

dwasifar wrote:Recently I added the XFCE desktop environment to a machine already using Gnome. The process was simple: I just opened a terminal window and typed sudo apt-get install xfce4. This downloaded and installed the complete XFCE desktop, including all its associated applications; and from then on, both XFCE and Gnome were available choices each time I logged in. Even better, all the applications from both environments were available no matter which one was currently running.


The XFCE4 meta-package is also available under the Software Manager, just search for XFCE.

If you have not seen where to choose the desktop environment: when you are at the login screen pick your username and you will notice some additional boxes show up at the bottom center of the screen. These boxes have various options including the desktop environment.
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