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GNU/Linux Desktop Environments Continue to Multiply

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, KDE at 12:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A look at some recent developments around lesser-known desktop environments for GNU/Linux, including brand new ones

THE “BIG THREE”, namely GNOME, KDE, and XFCE, are not the only games in town. Now we have Defora [1], Moonlight [2], and Ome [3], not to mention LXLE [4,5] and Enlightenment, which recently released E18 [6-8] and will soon release E19 [9]. There are several other desktop environments that continues to be developed, whereas several perished over the years.

Speaking for myself, I recently switched from KDE to Enlightenment on the desktop where I write articles. Enlightenment is a fantastic desktop environment even for relatively new desktops, especially if memory becomes a constraint and speed can use some significant improvement. There are bugs, sure, as well as ‘missing’ features, but this desktop environment which I used regularly over a decade ago is still very light and powerful. Without it, I would have no choice but to cope with bloat, pretty much like in Microsoft and Apple land.

People who claim that GNU/Linux offers not much of real choice because it’s all about KDE, GNOME and some desktop bundles that are no longer maintained (or have been stale for a decade or two) are simply not looking hard enough. It can be rewarding for everyone to experience many environments on mobile (GNU/)Linux and even on desktops (like Unity); the more, the merrier. This attracts develops because it fosters creativity and self expression. To emancipate ourselves from GUI tyrannies (Apple is the worst in that regard) we need to explore alternatives environments, just as we do in many walks of life.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Defora Provides Yet Another Open-Source Desktop

    If you have not yet found the perfect open-source desktop match for your needs, the desktop environment born out of DeforaOS is yet another option. This desktop environment is built using GTK2 and part of a larger effort to provide “ubiquitous, secure and transparent access to one’s resources” and to work regardless of form factor.

  2. Moonlight: Yet Another Linux Desktop Environment

    Moonlight is a project still in its early stages and likely will fade away like the many other third-party desktop environments with limited manpower and scope. Moonlight Desktop is trying to be a lightweight desktop for the Raspberry Pi and other low-powered, low-end, old devices — similar in scope to Xfce, LXDE, Enlightenment, etc. They really don’t seem to be far along at all right now and are still working towards an appearance for their desktop.

  3. Ome: A New Cross-Platform Desktop Environment

    Originally the developer behind Ome was set out on making his own operating system and was thinking of using LLVM IR for its application binary while making the packages like Android’s APK files. He had posted to the LLVM mailing list last month for feedback on these plans but now today he’s posted a new LLVM mailing list message.

  4. LXLE Gives New Zest to Old Machines

    I have not been a happy user of Ubuntu since the shift to the Unity desktop. Even the Lubuntu version has some bothersome Ubuntu traits attached. Enter the LXLE distro with its Lubuntu-less appearance. It provides a Long Term Support advantage over using Lubuntu and has a larger and more useful default application set. Even on poorly endowed hardware, this distro boots in less than 1 minute.

  5. LXLE 12.04.4 officially released.
  6. Enlightenment 0.18.3 Release Allows the Use of Elementary 1.9 or Later

    The development team behind the Enlightenment project, an open source, powerful, lightweight, and eye-candy desktop environment for the X window system has announced the third maintenance release of the stable Enlightenment 0.18 branch, which includes various fixes and improvements.

  7. Enlightenment DR 18 Released
  8. Enlightenment DR 0.18 Released

    Just one year after the long-time coming official release of Enlightenment 0.17 (E17), Enlightenment 0.18 has been released!

  9. Enlightenment E19 Going Into Feature Freeze Soon

    The freeze for E19 will begin in one month, on 28 Feb 2014. After that point, I am likely to reject most* requests for feature additions, and I will be shifting into release mode.

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