What’s your favorite desktop environment?

I’ve been having a case of writer’s blockage lately – a creative constipation if you will. Over the past week I drafted about a dozen articles, and ended up hating all of them so much I couldn’t bring myself to finish typing them up. So in lieu of actual content lets do an audience participation thing again, while I go and find my creative muses again.

We kinda covered this already in the desktop background thread, but I wanted to specifically ask this particular question: what is your favorite desktop environment and why?

Favorite desktop environment?
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Do you prefer stacking or tiling environments? Do you like compositing or don’t care for it? Do you use X or avoid it? Do you go for pretty, or fast and functional? Do you prefer mouse driven environments, or do you try to stay in keyboard driven tiling space?

What are your preferences and why? Let me know in the comments.

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19 Responses to What’s your favorite desktop environment?

  1. reacocard UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux says:

    s/xmodad/xmonad/g ?

    I run a pretty light xmonad+xmobar setup. Tiling is a great way to make better use of screen space (I started using it because I got a netbook) and spend less time rearranging windows, and being able to manage everything from the keyboard is pretty excellent too. I actually have caps lock mapped to my xmonad mod key to make it even easier to use. :)

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  2. mcai8sh4 UNITED KINGDOM Google Chrome Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    I’ve played around with a few WMs, I tend to get one exactly how I want it, then swap to another. I liked gnome2 with compiz – looked pretty and was fast, but I soon realised that it gave me nothing in terms of actual functionality – I have a one display setup, and tend to have my current program full screen.
    I thought gnome3 (shell) would be the winner. I used it for a while, but the lack of built in customisation (and the regular crashes) soon turned me off.
    I’ve pretty much come to an agreement with Wmii. It’s very clean, hassle free and fast.

    There are things I would like to change about wmii – when I forget a program name and would like to search using a menu for example…. there are a few other things I would like, but up to now it works with me. I can’t see me changing for a while.

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  3. WMaker ist still my all-time-fav
    but since there is pretty much no development anymore, i tend to play around with pretty much everything simple and fast. Currently i think E17 pretty neat and use gnome because it came as default at some systems.

    At work i am still forced to use that horrible crapple-foo.

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  4. thomasba GERMANY Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    I tried a few WM an, the one I liked most is i3wm. It’s small, stable and fast. If there are any problems just join the IRC and ask your question :-)

    i3wm is a tiling WM, but it also supports floating windows, docks… I use both, mouse and keyboard.

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  5. winston winslo Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    LXDE running on Openbox

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  6. JuEeHa FINLAND Opera Linux says:

    I prefer mwm. Only thing I dislike about it (lesstif mwm, not openmotif one) is the,multiple desktop thingie that switches to another desktop if you move your mouse cursor at the edge of desktop. Well I could just compile openmotif and that would pretty much fix that. I used to be a fan of KDE 3.5+KWin and it was really only thing I could stand but then I found mwn with 1 second load time and ditched KDE :P

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  7. I mentioned this a little in my comment on the backup post. After your last show-off-your-desktop post you had me re-evaluate what I was doing and I have completely switched from KDE to plain Openbox. When switching and shopping around, my goal was to have a source-control-friendly, text-only configuration that I could put in my dotfiles repository, easily syncing changes across all my machines as well as making it trivial to move into a new system.

    It’s been two weeks and I’m 100% happy with it — loving it really — so I’m seeing no reason to go back! Before I was using source control, I wasn’t adding custom window manager keybindings since I’d have to add them on each my individual machines manually. Now I’ve got a bunch of key bindings for moving and resizing windows so I can slosh the windows around my desktop without touching the mouse; and those bindings propagate to all my machines via Git. I can also directionally switch focus with an arrow-key binding (super-arrow). So I get a lot of the benefits of a tiling window manager without limiting myself to, well, a tiling window manager.

    This has all been great! It’s like putting my .emacs.d into Git all over again.

    It’s not bland-looking, either. Included with source control is a couple hundred landscape wallpapers (stored externally), set up to rotate the wallpaper every 10 minutes. So I’ve got fresh wallpapers across all my computers. Also running is xcompmgr for compositing, so I get fancy transparent windows and (subtle) shadows — though xcompmgr is a little flaky sometimes.

    Here’s a screenshot of it now.

    Without standard panels, I’ve had to piece together some separate tools to make this work. For mounting removable drives I’m using Thunar (xfce’s file manager) and pmount. For wireless connection management I’m using Wicd. For an application launcher I’m using dmenu, which is what I used back in my xmonad days. Now that I’m on faster computers than 2 years ago, its core design flaw (heavy, slow startup) doesn’t get in the way anymore. It has a big advantage over the standard desktop launcher in that it’s based on my PATH rather than a separate launcher configuration, which requires writing custom desktop files for any entries I want to add. I’m still missing a clock and a battery indicator — still trying to figure out a nice way to do these in a way that makes me happy.

    I’ve wondered why I didn’t switch to Openbox years ago, versioning the config in Git. However I’ve also come to realize that Openbox has come a long way the last few years, too, so this wasn’t all quite possible until recently anyway.

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  8. Greg UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    I’ve tested quite a few DEs and found Razor-qt to be fast and stable.

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  9. Morghan Safari Linux says:

    Fluxbox or LXDE.

    I’m actually surprised to see so many LXDE votes, I kinda got the impression I was the only one who used it.

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  10. cwsnyder Google Chrome Linux says:

    I’ve had too much break on compositing environments. The last compositing I played with was the GNOME2 native.

    I am presently in Xfce, but also will go into LXDE or straight OpenBox.

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  11. Xmodady, Xmodady. The best tiling wm. My second choice will be Xmonad :D

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  12. Barista Uno PHILIPPINES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Cinnamon and E17!

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  13. joek UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    Well, I voted for Openbox seeing as that’s what I’m currently on, and it’s probably my favourite stacking WM, but I also like pekwm (which is configured right: no XML!), and am currently playing around with Fvwm.
    However, when it comes to tiling my current favourites are i3 and spectrwm (well, technically scrotwm as I’m on Debian Stable), although I’m playing around with ratpoison and larswm.

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  14. Apostrophe FRANCE Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    What a muddled-up poll! The question was “What’s your favorite desktop environment?” but some of the listed options are not at all desktop environments. Blackbox, Fluxbox, Openbox, FVWM and others are just stacking window managers that are themselves part of desktop environment packages (e.g. Openbox is the window manager of LXDE).

    It’s like asking “What’s your favorite aircraft?” and then offering choices between Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Pratt & Whitney, Tupolev, etc. … it doesn’t make any sense.

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  15. Terry AUSTRALIA Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    KDE lacks nothing I want or need and I’m used to it.

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  16. nero UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    I’ve tried almost all but keep coming back to the simplistic fluxbox. I have all older equipment and fluxbox, FOR ME, flies. ymmv.

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  17. joek UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @ Apostrophe:
    Well, OB *is* the Window Manager of LXDE, but it is also a standalone WM in it’s own right. Admittedly, the question should really have been phrased as ‘What is your favourite Desktop Environment OR Window Manager, but meh.
    (and I wasn’t aware that BB/FB/Fvwm were used as components of any DE as standard? Sure, you can run Gnome or KDE on them, but it doesn’t happen by default. And no one runs KWin/Metacity/Xfwm without at least a minimal Gnome/KDE/Xfce environment (do they?)

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  18. Paul CANADA Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    I like tiling window managers. After trying more than a few of them, I settled on wmii a few years ago because it feels right and is easy to configure. Recently, I switched to i3 and did not regret it.

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  19. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux Terminalist says:

    Thanks for the responses everyone. It’s very interesting to see all the different setups people use. Especially the more bare-bones tiling managers – they make my KDE setup seem pedestrian.

    And yeah, my wording could have been clearer – Desktop Environment / Window Manager. etc.. You know what I meant though. :)

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