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Best DE and WM for arch linux?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
What's a good WM and DE for Linux? Kind of a Linux noob, and wanted your guys' opinion on the best DE and WM for arch Linux. Preferences: I want something minimal, lightweight, and fast but also aesthetically pleasing.
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post #2 of 13
Best is completely a personal opinion. No way to answer it, it's one of those things where you just have to experiment.

Same for looks, what I think looks good... many other people may not... but I like what I like.

Trial and error is the only way you'll be able to figure this stuff out.

And lightweight... again what is "light" to you? My WM ( my own fork of DWM ) uses about 62MB of RAM at idle. Now, that to me is light and about 50MB of that usage is X.org, so quite frankly, without dropping down to a basic TTY... it's about as light as you can get. And while that is light to me, I consider most typical desktops to be relatively heavy. So again, another one of those personal preference things. And quite frankly, between all the current desktop environments, they're all really close in usage and by many considered to be "light". Especially with todays hardware.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrak View Post

Best is completely a personal opinion. No way to answer it, it's one of those things where you just have to experiment.

Same for looks, what I think looks good... many other people may not... but I like what I like.

Trial and error is the only way you'll be able to figure this stuff out.

And lightweight... again what is "light" to you? My WM ( my own fork of DWM ) uses about 62MB of RAM at idle. Now, that to me is light and about 50MB of that usage is X.org, so quite frankly, without dropping down to a basic TTY... it's about as light as you can get. And while that is light to me, I consider most typical desktops to be relatively heavy. So again, another one of those personal preference things. And quite frankly, between all the current desktop environments, they're all really close in usage and by many considered to be "light". Especially with todays hardware.

Thanks, I guess I'll start with Cinnamon and X11
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post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by xmentogo View Post

Thanks, I guess I'll start with Cinnamon and X11

X11 is your display server. You'll be using it for 99% of desktops and window managers you try, as Wayland ( X11's replacement ) isn't quite ready for full time use, and has little support. Gnome has support that's almost ready, KDE is working on it as well, but overall it'll be a while still before any of them are 100%.
post #5 of 13
As far as DEs go I like LXDE, it's lighter than Xfce and focuses on basic DE functionality instead of visual jazz and invariably buggy custom applications. The default WM is Openbox, it's alright but can be swapped.

For WMs my favorite is JWM because it's extremely light and runs just as well on low-resource hardware as it does on a fancy new rig. The simple config is also a pleasure to tweak and add to.

Personally, for Arch my favorite "DE" is just JWM + Rox-filer + Conky and a bit of tweaking to make xterm serviceable. It hits a good balance between fast, functional and pretty.

Then there are the tiling WMs like DWM, which is nice if you're good with keyboard nav and a fan of tmux but a lot of us find it extreme compared to a stacking WM.
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post #6 of 13
cinnamon is the most popular DE at the moment. It is basically gnome 2 with a few tweaks, which is fine, nothing wrong with gnome 2.

If you want to try something different I would recommend pantheon and unity, in that order. Pantheon is a gnome 2 fork that has a lot of the best features of linux, with a few borrowed bits from other places. I have tried most of the DEs at least once and I prefer pantheon, in part because it has a really sleek aesthetic, and in part because, in my opinion, it does the best synthesis of desktop environments.

Unity is a conical invention. It tries to do its own thing, so if different is what you want, IMO unity is the most different thing out there.
Edited by mothergoose729 - 9/26/15 at 8:26pm
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by mothergoose729 View Post

cinnamon is the most popular DE at the moment. It is basically gnome 2 with a few tweaks, which is fine, nothing wrong with gnome 2.

Cinnamon is actually a Gnome Shell fork. It's only made to look closer to Gnome 2.

From the Cinnamon README file;
Quote:
Cinnamon provides core user interface functions for the GNOME 3 desktop … The desktop layout is similar to Gnome 2. The underlying technology is forked from Gnome Shell. The emphasis is put on making users feel at home and providing them with an easy to use and comfortable desktop experience.

Mate is a Gnome 2 fork.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mothergoose729 View Post

If you want to try something different I would recommend pantheon and unity, in that order. Pantheon is a gnome 2 fork that has a lot of the best features of linux, with a few borrowed bits from other places. I have tried most of the DEs at least once and I prefer pantheon, in part because it has a really sleek aesthetic, and in part because, in my opinion, it does the best synthesis of desktop environments.

Pantheon is not a Gnome 2 fork. Again, much closer to Gnome-Shell, but in this case even that wouldn't be right as it's a from scratch Vala project ( much like all of the ElementaryOS projects ). But you can take Gnome-Shell and somewhat convert it into Pantheon by replacing the panel with Pantheons panel, still wouldn't be the same experience.
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by xmentogo View Post

What's a good WM and DE for Linux? Kind of a Linux noob, and wanted your guys' opinion on the best DE and WM for arch Linux. Preferences: I want something minimal, lightweight, and fast but also aesthetically pleasing.

It's all up to you what you prefer. I use XFCE on my devuan install, it can be made to look reasonably good but aesthetics is not it's main point. LXDE is lightweight but ugly, but there is another option and that is a custom openbox configuration with whatever widgets and add-ons you like. Put it in a search engine, there's plenty of info about building an openbox wm to look good. Failing that Razor-QT is a smart and lightweight desktop, really nice looking but it just wasn't for me, you may like it though.
Edited by etplayer - 10/3/15 at 3:35am
post #9 of 13
I use XFCE in Arch and couldn't be happier. But I have little experience with DEs in Linux. I've only tried a few but I keep coming back to XFCE.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by kgtuning View Post

I use XFCE in Arch and couldn't be happier. But I have little experience with DEs in Linux. I've only tried a few but I keep coming back to XFCE.

Same, and I can say it has nothing to do with aesthetics, more to do with convenient to setup, being a full DE and having the right level of functionality. It was also the first DE to fully support xinerama (dual monitors) which was why I started using it. I would happily use razort-qt as well but I found it not configurable enough for my tastes, and it uses the openbox wm anyway or did at the time which I felt was off kilter for a QT desktop, but the OP might like it.
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