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

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

Postby vrkalak » Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:38 pm

I, also, have LMDX (LinuxMint-Debian-Xfce) set to stable ... as 'stability' is an important factor on my main PC.

As well as, an install of Mint-9 Fluxbox LTS (long-term support)
For being that, the LTS of Mint was released a year ago and is still supported until May 2013;
I am surprised, at the few number of updates it had when installing it, recently.

Because, it is the current LTS release, Mint-9 is very stable and easy to use.
The time span since Mint-9 LTS was released, only gives the Devs and Maintainers more time to squash/fix all the bugs.

Mint-9 while being an older release, do not make it old -- I have upgraded everything in it.
From the Kernel to the Apps. Kernel is now 2.6.39-generic and the browser is Firefox-5.0
And the Fluxbox Window Manager itself.
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby jonnycross » Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:02 am

Big THANK YOU to Robin
Your answer to a very hard question was one of the most useful pieces of info I have found.
So much so that I now have a copy for future reference ( Being 67 and forgetful I do that LOL)
regards JC

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

Postby Tannn3r » Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:35 am

Robin's post really helped explain a lot and break everything down into something that can be understood by everybody. Thanks!

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

Postby Robin » Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:13 pm

Wow, I'm really glad I wrote that! And delighted that people have found it so helpful. Proof that even a stunted little autistic kid (me) can do something really good sometimes! I hope I get to do alot more of that kind of good as I learn more.

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

Postby aes2011 » Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:15 am

dwasifar wrote:
gms9810 wrote:... 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.


I have both as well, but when I'm in a session using Gnome [no effects] I'd like to have the old fashioned analog clock that I use when in an Xfce session. How do I do that? I don't see it available when I try to add a "new item" to the panel.

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

Postby owend » Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:21 pm

Interesting and informative thread. For general consideration: I've been exclusively Linux for about 6 years now, and I've tried most desktops and window managers (KDE, Openbox, LXDE, XFCE etc), and I keep coming back to Gnome as a good compromise between plenty of features and relative simplicity.

That's Gnome 2 (Gnome 2.32.1 with LM11 Katya) - I tried Gnome 3 and Unity and I really didn't like them. There, that's opened it up!

BTW, I'm a compulsive distro-hopper, but I keep Mint (from 7 on) as my working distro, it just works!

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

Postby Halkovaja » Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:43 pm

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

Postby sunewbie » Sun Sep 04, 2011 1:43 pm

Just registered to add to @robins fantastic info about WM and DE. I am an enduser and newbie to Linux World. Searched a lot and visited DE's websites, but did not knew that WM and DE are different. Now I understand when I installed XFCE or LXDE in Ubuntu 10.04 (Gnome), the login screen has openbox option, even though I have not installed openbox.

Coming back to the point.

You can try more than one DE on one distro. Most of them are available in Software center and I choose meta packages, to install full DE and do not bother about other option, which are needed for developers or advanced users.

I use Gnome main DE (on Ubuntu 10.04) and have installed KDE 4.5

They can be removed if you don't need them.

There are advantages and disadvantages of multiple DEs.

You get both the DEs and some of their native applications.

So some settings / options are repeated.

e.g. In Ubuntu 10.04, Gnome, Under Application --> Universal access,

I have options: Kmag, Kmousetool and Kvkbd (KDE has endless list of apps starting from letter K :) )

These can be convenience to some and in-convenience / irritation to others.

I have found a post titled Power & Memory Usage Of GNOME, KDE, LXDE & Xfce

from RAM memory usage (resource intensive):

KDE > Gnome > XFCE > LXDE

If my memory is not failing LXDE can be also run on 128 MB RAM and there is one more WM Enlightenment E17 (under Heavy Development) which can also be used at 128 MB RAM. Website says that it requires 16 MB RAM. (please correct if I am wrong)

Best is to first try live CD / DVD to check if drivers and wifi / wlan / lan are working correctly. Broadband connection, some time and will to learn and patience are needed to get used to Linux.

Then Install Linux Mint or any other distro under virtualbox and then play with it, in this case install more DEs. After you are satisfied, and more importantly comfortable with Linux, go for Dual Boot.

I hope I am not off-topic :)
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby sagirfahmid3 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:16 pm

HI! I'm a Linux noob too!
When I found out I could have multiple Desktop Environments I was happy because I was very used to the idea of Windows OS and the really lame windows and themes that are not customizable so the idea of having this many options to spice up the way my desktop looked was a new idea to me and I was like "Whoa! That is so cool!".

I thought I has to multi-boot many different versions of Mint with different Window Managers and Desktop Environments(for example Mint KDE, Mint Xfce, Mint Fluxbox, etc) and I was a bit sad...but then I found this post and I was like "Ahh! THATS how you get so many Desktop Environments!", so it really helped me because I was about to multi-boot all of them, lol.

Nice topic! Like it :D

Enjoying using Linux Mint everyday now!

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

Postby podagee » Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:25 am

i think mint 10 has the best desktop(gnome) its easy to navigate.mint 11 lxde wasnt too catchy it was too much like winblows and fedora was nice.ubuntu10.10 is what i found to be a starters best friend.im still a newbie at this linux but i just love their os's.start off with ubuntu10.10 then work your way around others till u find one that suites u.im currently running mint 10 and i love it.
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby richardford1976 » Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:04 pm

Wow that is a fantasic explanation Robin. I'm a complete newbie but willing to learn, I am from a technical background as work for a ISP but Linux is a completly new ballgame for me. Cheers.

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

Postby Timmi » Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:15 am

hi Robin, on behalf of all, thanks!
It was very well written and explained.

Soooo... XFCE for the netbook and Gnome for the brand-spanking-new dual core laptop it is! :D

One thing you didn't talk much about, is that KDE has been accused of being a bit less stable - I get the perception that it's more for the geeks/experts/well-entrenched enthusiasts. I've tried it and really don't get what the fuss is all bout - in fact it is almost as though it has the worst of both worlds: slower and less stable. I'll probably get chastised for saying this, but why bother when you have Gnome - it's heavier too, but more stable, with just as much apps. And I definitely wouldn't want something that looks like windoze95 either, referring to some others...

Having choice is a wonderful thing. But when people want to explore it, because by now the masses have all heard of it, having too much choice can be detrimental; intimidating, confusing, daunting, discouraging. Look at Android: only one flavor, they got it onto the smartphones, and now the tablets... what do you think is next? Yes, the desktop! That is where it is heading, and it is the single most serious threat to Windoze and Mac. And Android will have accomplished for Linux what all the distros combined haven't gotten in ten times the time: a significant market share and becoming a significant threat. All this by narrowing it down to one flavor, making some decisions for others. I'm thinking there are too many DEs and WMs. I'm not saying obliviate everything - I'm just trying to make a point here. Consolidation would greatly benefit the community.

And a note to you all, who want the fastest, nimblest, most efficient: when you have relatively machine (P4 or newer), you're really talking milliseconds you're shaving off in most cases, nothing that would either annoy you, or be of a relief by switching.

Looking at the ISO size, Linux no longer is the tiny compact thing with a DOS-like shell we used to think of it as being. The better editions are pretty big! Yes, some may come to Linux to revive old hardware with an XFCE or LXDE flavour, but for most cases, it's the software that it's all about. You literally get (almost) everything you need, for free. OK, I can't get AutoCAD or Inventor or Solidworks for Linux, and that's why I have a dual-boot, but for the rest of you, you can use Linux alone, in place of Windoze or Mac, and save hundreds or thousands on software.

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

Postby sunewbie » Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:44 am

I think this link might be of any interest to you

viewtopic.php?f=61&t=47437
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby MasterPassion » Tue Oct 18, 2011 11:41 am

Too hard to choose something.
GNOME 3 is orienting on pads. It doesn't look like a good desktop DE (what the heck am I writing) for me, classic GNOME 2 was better.
KDE - well, it sticks with classic DE principles much more than GNOME. But - too "heavy", I like more minimalistic environments.
Xfce - not bad, but something isn't right with it for me. It looks like GNOME 2 but it's not a GNOME 2.
LXDE - I like it a lot more. It seems when GNOME 3 will completely replace GNOME 2 in LMDE, I'll switch to LXDE. Or pure OpenBox with GTK apps, like in Crunchbang.
Awesome WM is a nice thing also.
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby Anthrogue » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:05 pm

Robin, that was a cool post. Love to see more of that, as one of the biggest barriers to getting into Linux is the sheer welter of arcane subjects that long-time Linux peoples just take for granted - but of course fly over n00b heads. New people want conceptual level information, and that post did a great job.

Coming up on 2 years now since Mint 7. I have Mint 8 KDE on a box..... and just of yesterday, to test a replacement, LMDE xfce on a laptop. So far it's smooth, stable and kicking a55. Lol, the only real hang up in the "more complicated" installation was me trying to run a script in terminal to remove something called gstreamer while I had the update manager open. Instructions assumed, apparently, that "everybody knows" you can't have two things accessing APT at once... or something to that effect. It'd be great if there was a commonly understood resource that explains to Windows conditioned peoples all the most important conceptual differences involved in Linux.

Though I've been in Mint 8 forever, it ran so well I hardly ever had to mess with stuff "under the hood" or really master Bash/Terminal stuff. It's been great for the most part - but I'm still a basically a n00b. And I think many more will come to Linux once they get it that the hurdles are really not so great (and not as annoying as constantly worrying with Windows susceptibility to infections or the horror of fixing them). Once a neighbor geek explained that I could run Windows XP in a "hypervisor" like VirtualBox insofar as that was occasionally necessary, I took the plunge. If more pros could write like Robin did (clarifying a confusing landscape), there'd be a lot more like me.

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

Postby vrkalak » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:09 pm

Anthrogue wrote:Robin, that was a cool post. Love to see more of that . . .

I know that you were not aware of this, but "Robin" passed away last month, after a long illness. He was 19 years old.

Robin was an 'avid' Linux and Xfce user ... he never gave up his faith in Linux or on life. We will miss him. :cry:

viewtopic.php?f=58&t=84053
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby sunewbie » Fri Nov 11, 2011 9:37 am

vrkalak wrote:I know that you were not aware of this, but "Robin" passed away last month, after a long illness. He was 19 years old.

Robin was an 'avid' Linux and Xfce user ... he never gave up his faith in Linux or on life. We will miss him. :cry:

viewtopic.php?f=58&t=84053


That's very sad news :(

I got his reply on the topic Regarding Mint 9 LTS Isadora on 22nd Sept 2011. He must be very ill, when he replied during his illness.

It is his and Vincent's suggestion changed my perspective about LTS version and on Linux as a whole.

I saw an announcement on Mint Blog, but to know he was just 19, it is unbelievable.

Here is the excerpt:

News and summary:
The death of Robin was the most tragic and important event for many in our community this month. He was very active within Linux Mint and appreciated by a lot of people. I would like to add my personal condolences to all who miss him, his friends and family and the people within my team who were shaken by this tragedy.


I offer my condolences from the bottom of my heart. I will miss him.
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby Anthrogue » Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:48 pm

That's so stunning, there just aren't words.

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

Postby Lumikki » Sun Feb 12, 2012 6:12 am

I still have some confusions and a lot of questions. As six week old Linux newbie.

I think, I understand, KDE, Gnome, Xfce as they are like bigger products where is window manager + desktop enviroment?

Are software someway related more to Window manager or desktop types?
I'm wondering, because if I install KDE software into Gnome it seem to load more stuff.
Doesn't the X-windows provide necassary libraries for the Graphical interface for softwares?

How is LXDE related or connected to Linux Mint?

Now, Gnome 3 has desktop enviroments, like Unity and Cinnamon.
How ever, MGSE isn't same as Gnome 3 desktop enviroment?
Does Gnome 3 has it's own desktop what can be installed or is it allways under the other Desktops in Gnome 3?
Example if I would somehow remove MGSE from Mint 12, what would happen?
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Re: What is the difference between Debian, Fluxbox, XFCE, ..

Postby sunewbie » Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:38 am

I will try to answer one by one

Lumikki wrote:I still have some confusions and a lot of questions. As six week old Linux newbie.

I think, I understand, KDE, Gnome, Xfce as they are like bigger products where is window manager + desktop enviroment?

Are software someway related more to Window manager or desktop types?


I don’t know, weather you read robin’s post on page one. Most questions are already covered in his post. It is the best explanation I have seen in layman’s language.

KDE, Gnome, XFCE and LXDE are windows manager (wm) + Desktop environment.

KDE uses QT – a toolkit (libraries) used to make the GUI, whereas, Gnome2, XFCE, LXDE are using GTK2+. Gnome3 is now using Gtk3+ to build GUI.

Each DE is made with some purpose in mind. e.g. LXDE and XFCE focuses on older hardware, whereas KDE is for modern machines, is full blown desktop which offers a lot of tweaks and windows like interface. Gnome is also targeted at modern desktops, but has unique look nad is less bloated then KDE.

Are software someway related more to Window manager or desktop types?

I'm wondering, because if I install KDE software into Gnome it seem to load more stuff.
Doesn't the X-windows provide necessary libraries for the Graphical interface for softwares?


Software are related to Desktop Environment. They suit, load faster, and integrate well on DE which share same libraries. E.g. XFburn is a DVD burner using Gtk2+ toolkit and so it can integrate with the theme of OS using XFCE as DE, which uses GTK2+. On the other hand if you use K3B, DVD burner using QT in XFCE DE, then it will depend upon QT libraries, which are not installed by default. So when you install K3b on any DE which is not using Qt, it will download those Qt libraries, during download cum instalation on which K3b is dependent. These Qt dependencies are downloaded and installed along with K3b.

So if you run K3b in XFCE or Gnome than it also loads QT libraries. XFCE, Gnome also has it’s own default set of libraries installed and loaded on startup (when you login). So technically, QT based app like K3b will use more RAM. There is also the problem of integration with the system, specially it’s theme.

How is LXDE related or connected to Linux Mint?


LXDE is independent DE, build for older hardware. 10 year old PC which has only 256 MB RAM cannot run KDE or Gnome3 / Gnome2, but can run LXDE, which only needs 128 MB to run, when no apps like word processor or music player are running. XFCE needs 256 MB minimum RAM to Operate, but if you load resource intensive apps like inkscape, then it will needs 512 MB to run smoothly.

The reason for using low RAM is due to it’s design and limited features. LXDE keeps to PC / Laptop temp cooler than Gnome or KDE.

LXDE is not connected or associated or developed by Linux Mint.

Just like Linux Mint uses Gnome3 or XFCE to have a GUI, it’s LXDE spin or flavour uses LXDE as a default DE.

Now, Gnome 3 has desktop environments, like Unity and Cinnamon.
How ever, MGSE isn't same as Gnome 3 desktop environment?
Does Gnome 3 has it's own desktop what can be installed or is it always under the other Desktops in Gnome 3?
Example if I would somehow remove MGSE from Mint 12, what would happen?


Gnome3 uses GTK3+ tool kit. It can be split into 2 parts

1) Gnome shell – You are working with Gnome shell when no windows or apps are running. Like changing system settings, etc.
2) Gnome (Gtk3+) – These are collection of libraries which make gnome-shell function. They come into play when you open an app. E.g. if you open Libreoffice writer, then these libraries, which are already loaded, come into play.

MGSE means Mint Gnome Shell extensions. These are 3 addons created by ‘Clem’ LM founder to add more flexibility to Gnome3 (considered as rigid and lacking for customization by many avid Linux users).

Even if you uninstall MGSE, Gnome3 is fully functional, because it has it’s default gnome-shell and it’s own apps like File manager, etc. You get pure Gnome experience like you get in Fedora 16

Since Gnome3 was criticized and is not customizable, Clem initially tried to make it flexible by introducing MGSE and later forked gnome-shell to create own shell Cinnamon, which works with Gnome3. It is similar to UNITY desktop, which runs on top of Gnome3, but offers more freedom, traditional look and customization options.

Cinnamon is not an independent desktop environment, (in technical terms it is a shell), as a replacement of Gnome-shell. Cinnamon still requires Gnome3.

Pure Gnome3 is Gnome3 (which contain GTK3+) and Gnome-shell. Just so image search for Gnome3 or Fedora 16 and check out for Cinnamon. You will see the difference in interface. You can even check the difference by login in Gnome 3 and Cinnamon in LM 12

MATE is a another fork of gnome2 and unlike cinnamon, it is a full DE. Is is a clone of very popular and stable (now on death bed) gnome2.
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