Desktop Environment

See also: X11 | Graphical User Interface | Window Manager

Desktop environments were created to allow X to display a more consistent and attractive GUI to the user. By default X runs extremely minimally, and even using window managers only gives a basic level of functionality when compared to MacOS or Windows.

The first real desktop environment was CDE, which is part of the UNIX standard as described by The Open Group. It featured a window manager, desktop icons, a “dock” where applications could be launched from and more.

With the rise of Linux, many new users were introduced to X, and most were disappointed with its appearance and user-friendliness. This led to the creation of the open-source KDE, which was then followed by GNOME and XFce.


  • XPde – XP Desktop Environment. WinXP interface clone.
  • EDE – Equinox Desktop Environment. WinME/2000 interface clone.

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