Join the Ben Heck team every week for amazing hacks! Watch them build and mod community-inspired projects using electronics!
|The Learning Circuit|
|See All Episodes|
A desktop environment is a complete host of bundled software that enables a computer to display a graphic al interface. This suite includes a windows manager and a display manager. There are many desktop environments to choose from. They all have different options, themes, behaviors, and styles. Examples of desktop environments include LXDE, LXQT, Mott, XFCE, KDE, Gnome, Enlightenment, and many others.
A display manager, or login manager is usually initiated at the end of a boot process. It provides a screen for someone to choose the window manager, and provide login credentials to gain access to the desktop. As with desktop environments, there are many display managers as well. The windows manager is software that controls the placement of windows on the screen in the windowing system. There are different types such as tiling, stacking, and dynamic. Stacking, also referred to as floating, is a type of windows manager similar to the traditional style in which active program windows behave as pieces of paper on a desk, overlapping and moveable. Tiling window managers arrange program windows in a mosaic layout within defined parameters, and make use of a hotkeys to select the active window or arrange the windows. A dynamic window manager can switch between stacking or tiling behavior.
Felix goes over some different examples of windows manager. He starts off with his personal favorite, LXDM of the light x desktop manager. He likes it because its lightweight and it’s fast.
$sudo systemctl start lxdm.service
The display manager let’s you select the profile you want to login as. Once you choose a profile you can select the environment you want to login as. To logout and choose an alternate desktop environment he types
$ sudo systemctl start lxdm.service
To turn on the Gnome display manager he types:
$ sudo systemcttl start gdm
Felix's main gripe with GNOME is that it is too resource intensive and takes longer to load. Now that he’s shown a few login managers, Felix moves onto different windows managers. He switches over to Plasma which is the newest incarnation of KDE, the cool desktop environment. This got Felix started in the linux-verse because it was a lot simpler and he liked the desktop. Although he uses some KDE applications he does not use it anymore. For his next example he shows you what Mate looks like. MATE is a desktop environment forked from the now-unmaintained code base of Gnome 2. MATE was started by an Argentine user of Arch Linux in response to the fallout from the Gnome 3 release when the classic desktop metaphor was replaced with its native user interface: GNOME Shell.