Customizing Your Linux Desktop: Window Managers vs Desktop Environments

Customizing Your Linux Desktop: Window Managers vs Desktop Environments

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Are you trying to decide between using a window manager or a desktop environment on your computer? It can be a tough choice, especially if you're not sure what the differences are between these two types of software.

In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at window managers and desktop environments, explaining the key differences between them and helping you decide which one is right for you.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced user, this information will be useful as you consider how to customize and optimize your computing experience.

Differences Between the Two.

A window manager is a program that controls the placement and appearance of windows on a computer's desktop. It allows the user to open, close, resize, and arrange windows in a graphical user interface (GUI).

A desktop environment, on the other hand, is a complete software suite that provides a GUI and a set of tools and utilities to interact with the operating system and other software. It typically includes a window manager, a desktop background, icons, toolbars, and a panel, as well as a set of applications such as a web browser, a file manager, and a terminal emulator.

In general, a window manager is a smaller and more focused piece of software than a desktop environment. A desktop environment provides a more complete and integrated user experience, while a window manager provides more flexibility and customization. Some people prefer to use a window manager because it can be more lightweight and faster than a desktop environment, while others prefer a desktop environment because it provides a more cohesive and user-friendly interface.

Some famous Window Managers.

Here is a list of some popular window managers for Linux:

  • X Window System: This is the original window manager for Linux and other Unix-like operating systems. It is a powerful and flexible system but can be complex to configure and customize.

  • Openbox: This is a lightweight and highly configurable window manager that is designed to be fast and easy to use. It is often used in lightweight Linux distributions, such as Lubuntu and Xubuntu.

  • Fluxbox: This is another lightweight window manager that is similar to Openbox, but with a slightly different interface and set of features.

  • i3: This is a tiling window manager that is designed to be fast and efficient. It is popular among users who prefer a more keyboard-driven interface.

  • Gnome: This is a desktop environment, not a window manager, but it includes its own window manager called Mutter. Gnome is a popular choice for users who want a more user-friendly and integrated desktop experience.

  • KDE: This is another desktop environment that includes its own window manager called KWin. It is known for its powerful and customizable interface.

  • Awesome: This is a highly configurable and dynamic tiling window manager that is popular among advanced users.

There are many other window managers available for Linux, and the best one for you will depend on your needs and preferences. Some people prefer a lightweight and minimalistic window manager, while others prefer a more feature-rich and integrated desktop environment.

I use the Qtile tilling window manager on my production machine.

Final Words

In conclusion, window managers and desktop environments are two different types of software that serve similar but distinct purposes on a Linux or Unix-like system.

Window managers focus on managing the appearance and layout of windows on the desktop, while desktop environments provide a more complete and integrated user experience.

The right choice for you will depend on your needs and preferences. If you want a fast and lightweight interface with a lot of customization options, a window manager might be the way to go.

On the other hand, if you want a more user-friendly and cohesive desktop experience, a desktop environment might be a better fit. No matter what you choose, both window managers and desktop environments can help you get the most out of your Linux system. I'll see you in the next article till then Keep Reading, Keep Exploring and Keep Learning.