Best Linux Distro and Desktop Environment Combination

Are you looking for the best Linux distro (distribution) and DE (desktop environment) combination? What better way to increase your familiarity with Linux servers than running Linux on your laptop or workstation.

As mentioned earlier, the best Linux distro for this is MeAnd the Best Linux Distro for You, What you choose today will often change over time to match your experience level, needs, and available distributions.


image: Manjaro + spectrum window manager.

Desktop Environment (DE) vs Window Manager (WM)

There are three layers that can be used in the setup of your Linux desktop:

  1. X11 and Wayland – These are the two protocols that allow graphical elements to be drawn on your display screen. X11 (X Windows) or wayland Required for any graphical desktop, be it a window manager or desktop environment.
    , Wayland X11 is the successor,
  2. window manager – A window manager controls the placement and appearance of windows. Windows managers require X11 or Wayland, but they are not desktop environments. More experienced Linux users usually use window managers.
    – Popular window managers: i3, dwm, awesome, xmonadAnd swayto name just a few!
  3. desktop environment – A Desktop Environment (DE) requires both X Windows and a window manager. The desktop environment provides an interface fully integrated with your Linux operating system. Beyond window management, DE offers an array of features like file manager, system settings, multi-media support, themes, built-in apps, etc.
    – Popular desktop environments: Proverb, where, XFCE, LXDE, mate, cinnamonand others.

With that in mind, let’s start our search for the best Linux distro + DE or WM combinations by dividing them into three categories: beginners, experienced, and experts.

Beginner – Linux Distro + DE

pop!_os custom-gnome 3.  comes with
image: Pop! _OS 20.04 LTS + Gnome 3

For users who want quick access to Linux and a wide range of software/apps without having to use the command line. Or, maybe you’re just looking for an easier way to try out Linux. For those users, I would recommend the following distro:

POP!_OS – Ubuntu-based Linux distribution featuring a custom GNOME desktop. Pop!_OS is custom-designed with the minimum amount of clutter On the desktop without distractions to allow the user to focus on the task at hand. , Pop! OS Desktop Environment Options,

Ubuntu – A full desktop Linux operating system, freely available with Largest user community of any distro, Ubuntu is Debian-based, adds more cutting edge features, and can be more hardware friendly during install. , Ubuntu Desktop Environment Options,

It is also worth noting LXLE Linux distro that comes preinstalled with LXDE and also elementary os,

Beginners to Linux usually start with a full desktop environment. Most Popular Linux Distros By Default gnome 3, That said, if you prefer that route you can give window managers a try!

Experienced Users – Linux Distros + DE or WM

The following distros are similar to Pop_OS and Ubuntu. However, the following distro may require more research, which shouldn’t be difficult, but should be satisfying!

Fedora + KDE + i3
image: Fedora 32 + KDE Plasma + i3

Manjaro , offers a ton Well Documented Desktop Environments, Key features of Manjaro include a simple install process, hardware auto-detection (ie, Nvidia setup), a stable rolling-release, and Manjaro comes with specialized bash scripts for managing graphics drivers. – Manjaro’s desktop environment options,

fedora Fedora has a reputation for focusing on innovation, integrating new technologies quickly, and working closely with the upstream Linux communities. Due to the short version life cycle of Fedora, Package updates are frequent, and the software versions available are the most recent., , Fedora Workstation Desktop Environment Options,

Debian – Comes with Debian Over 60,000 free packages – The pre-compiled software is bundled in a friendly format for easy installation on your machine. Debian is one of the most stable and no-nonsense Linux distros out there. , Debian Desktop Environment Alternatives,

cent os 8 – If you mainly care about stability and plan on maintaining the same distro for 4+ years without upgrading or reinstalling, check out cent os 8,

Expert Users – Linux Distros + DE or WM

Gentoo + xmonad
image: Gentoo + xmonad

The following distributions focus on being lighter, simpler, and yet more flexible than most. From the install process itself, you’ll notice that these distros will only install what you explicitly order.

Arch Linux – An independently developed Linux distribution targeted at competent Linux users. It uses its in-house package manager (pacman) to manage software application updates with full dependency tracking. Working on a Rolling Release System, Arch provides a minimal premise that enables users to create a custom installation. – Also, see Arch Linux from And wm,

Gentoo – Gentoo package management is designed to be modular, portable, easy to maintain and flexible. Some people describe Gentoo as a meta-distribution because its near-limitless adaptability, Most users have custom configurations that are unique to themselves. – Gentoo from And wm,

Also check out Slackware Linux distribution.

I hope this quick summary proves helpful. i found most of the distro details distrowatchA handy website that you can use for your research.

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