Different DEs

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JusTertii
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Different DEs

Postby JusTertii » Fri Jul 03, 2015 3:36 am

Hey folks,

I've been using Cinnmon ever since I got into LM. But, I feel it's time for a change. So, I'm throwing it out there -- what are some cool DE's to try? I'm particularly interested in ones that are reasonably lightweight and functional. I believe some people just use a window manager like fluxbox? I'd also be interested in hearing their experiences.

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Pjotr
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Re: Different DEs

Postby Pjotr » Fri Jul 03, 2015 4:06 am

Xfce. Lightweight yet polished. :)
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MartyMint
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Re: Different DEs

Postby MartyMint » Fri Jul 03, 2015 6:01 am

Pjotr wrote:Lightweight yet polished. :)


If wish the Xfce developers would "polish" it a little more often...

It's been feeling like a neglected DE for a while...

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Pjotr
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Re: Different DEs

Postby Pjotr » Fri Jul 03, 2015 6:06 am

MartyMint wrote:
Pjotr wrote:Lightweight yet polished. :)


If wish the Xfce developers would "polish" it a little more often...

It's been feeling like a neglected DE for a while...

Well, recently it's had a major new release:
http://www.xfce.org/about/news/?post=1425081600
Last edited by Pjotr on Fri Jul 03, 2015 6:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Different DEs

Postby daveinuk » Fri Jul 03, 2015 6:11 am

MATE and XFCE are the obvious suggestions to me, LXLE is very light if not touch less 'user friendly' IMO, but very fast, I used to be a bit of a fan of XFCE when I first started using Linux, now though, I find MATE an excellent replacement for it, it's become very nice and polished, and as a Cinnamon user normally, I can see why it's become such a firm favourite already and gained a large fan base, definitely worth looking into ..........

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Re: Different DEs

Postby Cosmo. » Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:57 am

Luckily Mint offers only 4 (respectively with LMDE 5) editions, otherwise such a question would easily lead to the result of a multiple-pages-thread, where no one is wrong in principle, because everybody has own wishes and the hardware-prerequisites are different also.

There is only one lastly important answer: Yours! Download the editions and launch the live systems. When you have played with them it is only you who decides, if you are more happy with the one or with the other.

BTW: Anywhere in the forum there exists a statistic about the usage of the several DE's. I don't say, that I would take this as a basis for a decision, but it has the advantage, that there are more users represent with their votes.

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Re: Different DEs

Postby JusTertii » Sat Jul 04, 2015 2:53 am

Hey guys,

Thanks for the replies! I've been meaning to try out KDE and XFCE, so I'll give them a whirl next time I feel like tinkering.

I've read a bit about (as I understand it) not having a DE and using a program like fluxbox instead. Does that sound right? Has anyone tried this out, or have any comments regarding such a setup?

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Re: Different DEs

Postby Pjotr » Sat Jul 04, 2015 3:22 am

JusTertii wrote:I've read a bit about (as I understand it) not having a DE and using a program like fluxbox instead. Does that sound right? Has anyone tried this out, or have any comments regarding such a setup?

Fluxbox is a very, very minimal window manager, without any polish at all.... I've tried it myself, but no thanks. LXDE is the lowest I want to go, if I want minimal system requirements.
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Re: Different DEs

Postby fraxinus_63 » Sat Jul 04, 2015 7:14 am

Depends partly on what kind of project you'd like. You can have fun with Fluxbox, although I haven't played with it for some years now.

"Out of the box", Mint's spin on XFCE is quite superb, IMHO. I am now using it on an elderly netbook and finding it both stylish and lightweight. As a regular MATE user I had expected it to be a bit of a compromise or a step down - but it is scarcely so.

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Re: Different DEs

Postby JusTertii » Mon Jul 13, 2015 8:18 am

Alright! Thanks for the replies, guys. I'm looking forward to when XFCE comes out on the new 17.2, and I'll give it a whirl!

Any MATE fans out there?

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Re: Different DEs

Postby MALsPa » Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:48 am

I spend a lot of time using various environments. Don't really have a favorite. Across my different computers and installations, I currently have KDE, Xfce, GNOME Shell, Unity, LXDE, Cinnamon, and then also Openbox and Fluxbox.

One thing I really like about Xfce is that I can set the panel up just the way I like it. xfce4-panel is probably my favorite panel.

I like to add Openbox or Fluxbox to an installation that came with KDE, and then when I'm in the mood I'll log into the Fluxbox or Openbox session and still have all of the KDE apps available to me. For example, my "primary" computer has Debian Jessie, KDE with Openbox added.

Something like Openbox can be kinda difficult at first because when you install it yourself it comes with no panel. You have to add a panel of your choice -- I use tint2 these days, but I've used others with Openbox in the past, like pypanel, fbpanel, even xfce4-panel. And then you'll want to set up your menu, which is kinda trivial once you've added Obmenu, the Openbox menu editor.

Here's the thing about Openbox (and Fluxbox): Once you've gotten things set up, if you save your config files, then the next time you add Openbox (or Fluxbox) you can just copy over your old config files and have things set up to your tastes within minutes, just a few minor tweaks here and there. Or for example, if you have something like CrunchBang around, live session or installed, you can add Openbox to Debian or whatever, copy over the config files from CrunchBang, tweak 'em a bit, and you're done. It isn't that simple when you're trying Openbox for the first time, but once you're read up on it and learned how everything goes, it can actually be quite simple and easy to set up.

I also like LXDE, which I'm using at the moment, typing this from Lubuntu. With LXDE you've also got Openbox there to play with if you want (Openbox is the window manager for LXDE), so you can log into the Openbox session instead of LXDE. In the past I was never quite satisfied with LXDE so whenever I installed it I'd end up setting up Openbox and using that instead. But LXDE has matured a bit and so I'm okay with using it in Lubuntu 14.04.

I personally don't use MATE because I'm one of those who likes using GNOME Shell; I don't miss using the old GNOME 2 one bit. I'd much rather use Xfce instead of MATE, but that's just me.

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Re: Different DEs

Postby RacerBG » Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:07 pm

Everything is already very well explained above but I will add: if you are newbie avoid WM only spins. You will be scared at first but if you like challenges and have patience - go for it! ;) Openbox, Fluxbox and FVWM are good choices though the last is very ugly. :D
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Re: Different DEs

Postby scryan » Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:58 pm

JusTertii wrote:Hey guys,

Thanks for the replies! I've been meaning to try out KDE and XFCE, so I'll give them a whirl next time I feel like tinkering.

I've read a bit about (as I understand it) not having a DE and using a program like fluxbox instead. Does that sound right? Has anyone tried this out, or have any comments regarding such a setup?

Yes. Everyone should do this, its smart.

OK, OK, not everyone... but if you like a more customized or more minimal setup it is very much worth a try.
There will likely be growing pains, but you will realize a "desktop environment" is just a collection of utilities. When you first start with only a window manager you will quickly realize you have NONE of these utilities, and you need to add them back. Depending on what you want and need this does not take too much.

The important thing is to stick with one while trying it. Not forever, but if you want to give it an honest try, then use one for long enough that it is reasonable, and is something you can use. At first it may seem like everything is harder, try to get to the point where you can do everything you need to just fine. At that point you wont move on because you can't use it... You will move on because it doesn't fit you.

You desktop environment (and well, lets include your display manager) is basically a bundle and it provides you with a good few things. You probably don't need them all.
It likely provides you with
-A background (yup, by default X will just be black. Through its configs you can set colors... But your DE actually is using come kind of utility to display an image in the background. You can do this on your own with the program feh, and some file managers will do this manage your desktop and set backgrounds
-A desktop (yeah, there is some utility putting files and folders on your desktop. Some file managers will do this for you without a DE... I just don't have anything on my desktop. Launching everything through key combos is so much easier.)
-Panel and System tray (Most will give you the system tray though)
-Applets for Panel and System tray (nm_applet is important to know if you have wifi, its what is usually used to give you a system tray button to connect to wifi.)
-System config option (just kinda in general. Windows Managers literally manage windows, nothing else. You can use some of the config tools from either gnome or xfce... both can be very modular which makes them handy to borrow parts from to fill in the gaps. I do most settings through config files so no real advice from me...)

You need to pick all these on your own, and you likely need to either bind them to keys, or setup some kind of launcher for it. You will also likely need to add lines to the window managers config file to launch necessary apps at startup. This is usually as easy as copy and pasting an example and changing the application name... For instance you need to start nm_applet from the window managers config so that you have your wifi applet (you can actually start it when ever, but you probably want to do so when you start you session)

Sounds like a lot, and it can be... I'll tell you my general setup in a bit and if you want... just copy that.

Best thing you can do is start a separate install, on a flash drive if need be. You can install multiple DEs and WM, I have never had any trouble with it... But seen more then a few posts from people here who ran into problems... If you going to be trying a bunch of stuff you barely understand maybe do it somewhere safe :P

Try both tiling and floating. BUT TRY TILING. Its maybe the main reason I use linux now?

Tiling window managers will make any window take up the full screen... until you launch another app. then it splits. You lay your windows out like tiles, using different virtual desktops instead of minimizing or putting windows on top of each other.
Two ways of doing this, auto and manual.
For Auto, try awesome... people seem to like it. Basically you choose a layout (i,e, one bit window on the left, a few smaller windows on the right, split evenly, a spiral of windows getting smaller and smaller...) The point is you just work and it figures out windows and placement.
I prefer manual. Auto always places my windows wrong, but most automatic things seem to work against me :P With manual, I choose vertical or horizontal. When I open a new window, the old one is split in half. So I can open two windows side by side, chose the right window and split it vertically, the resize so the top window takes up 80% of the height of the screen and the bottom 20.)
For floating, its the normal setup, resize overlap and minimize windows. I like openbox, simple.

Here is how I use my computer:
I have no display manager, computer either boots to command prompt where I login and startx (laptop), or auto logs in and starts X.
I use i3, which starts nm_applet to give me wifi applet, and feh to give me a background.
I have keys for chrome, a terminal and a file manager. Anything else, I launch from dmenu. I press a keycombo that executes dmenu, which opens a small menu a the top of your screen. As you type the name of the application you want it shows matches, you can select from all possible matches with your arrows and launch with enter. Nice because it searches your path for executables, instead of just checking desktop files like most DEs
I never really shut down my computers, but when I do I use the reboot or shutdown command in the terminal.
I use urxvt for a terminal
Thunar for file manager
vim for plain text, before that scite... you probably want scite
smplayer for media
pavucontrol for volume control (or keys)
What more do you need? i3 is 3mbs vs 200+ for xfce....


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