1Linux Users Have Luxury of Choosing from Diverse Desktop Options
By Sean Michael Kerner
2GNOME Shell Runs on Multiple Linux Distributions
The GNOME 3 project has multiple desktop environment options, with the cornerstone default option being the GNOME Shell. GNOME Shell runs on multiple Linux distributions, including Fedora 19 (shown here), and provides an Activities menu as well as an application task-switching capability.
3GNOME 3.8 Offers Classic Mode Option
The GNOME Shell approach is not one that is universally liked by GNOME users and represents a shift from the “classic” way that GNOME used to work. With the GNOME 3.8 release, a Classic mode is now available as an option, restoring part of the top menu that GNOME 2.x users used to have.
4GNOME 3.8 Classic Brings Back Apps Menu
The GNOME 3.8 Classic mode (running below on Fedora 19) reintroduces the Applications menu (instead of Activities, which is in GNOME Shell) as well as the Places menu for locating local and network files.
5MATE Delivers GNOME 2.x Linux Experience
For those who still want or need a GNOME 2.x type of Linux Desktop experience, there is MATE. MATE is a fork of GNOME 2.x and provides Applications, Places and System top menus.
6Cinnamon Melds Shell Concepts With GNOME Look
Another GNOME Shell alternative is the Cinnamon desktop developed by the Linux Mint project and is also now available for other distributions. Cinnamon aims to meld some of the shell concepts with a more traditional GNOME look and feel.
7Unity Desktop Is Ubuntu’s Take on GNOME Shell
The Ubuntu Linux distribution has also taken its own slant on a GNOME Shell. The Ubuntu Unity desktop environment (shown here on Ubuntu 13.04) makes use of a sidebar as its core menu system.
8Unity Includes Dash, an Integrated Search Feature
With Unity, there is also integrated search capability, known as Dash, which is intended to make it easier to find files and applications.
9KDE Takes a Difference Approach to the Linux Desktop
KDE offers a different take on the Linux desktop with a more fluid approach known as Plasma Workspaces. With KDE 4.10, shown here on openSUSE 12.3, in addition to the bottom menu there is the ability to add widgets for additional functionality and desktop views.
10XFCE Linux Desktop Works With Limited Resources
The XFCE Linux desktop aims to be a lightweight system that can work on desktops with low system resources. It’s available on multiple distributions as well as in the stand-alone Xubuntu, a Ubuntu based Linux operating system.
11LXDE Is Another Lightweight Desktop
As is the case with XFCE, the LXDE desktop has the goal of producing a low-resource system.