So many desktops!

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So many desktops!

Postby dcs.79c » 2017-03-13 13:28

I'm new to Linux.

I've had both Windows & Macs. I currently have a Mac mini & a MacBook Pro.

There are so many desktops! It's confusing to a newbie.

How many basic desktops are there? I can think of Gnome, KDE, XFCE & LXDE. Aren't all other desktops built on top of one of the basic desktops?

I have an HP netbook with Windows XP on it. It has a single-core 32-bit Atom N280 with 2 GB of RAM. I want to try & install Linux on it. So, I'll need a lightweight distro of Linux.

My Mac mini has a 64-bit Intel with 16 GB of RAM. I want to install VirtualBox & try out different distros of Linux.

I know that each distro comes with a default desktop.

I know that I can download different desktops & install them & switch from one to another. I don't want to download a bunch of Linux distros. Are all Debian distros capable of running more than on desktop? Which distro do you recommend that I install so that I can try out the different desktops?
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Re: So many desktops!

Postby dasein » 2017-03-13 13:36

dcs.79c wrote:I have an HP netbook with Windows XP on it. It has a single-core 32-bit Atom N280 with 2 GB of RAM. I want to try & install Linux on it. So, I'll need a lightweight distro of Linux.

Not necessarily true, depending on what you're looking to do with it. I run stripped-down KDE on an Atom machine with 1GB of RAM as an HTPC.

dcs.79c wrote:Are all Debian distros capable of running more than on desktop?

There is only one Debian distro. Don't confuse "respin" or "derivative" with "distro."

But yes, you can run any desktop you like in Debian (except for Ubuntu's Unity). My personal preference is to test a(ny) new DE inside a virtual machine (VM) such as VirtualBox. The ability to "snapshot" a VM prior to testing (and to revert to a pristine state once testing is complete) is a huge timesaver. (It also offers a better "feel" for each unique DE.)

P.S. Please learn to search before posting. This is a fairly commonplace question that has been asked and answered many times before. That answer doesn't change based on who's asking.

Afterthought: Dunno if it's still true, but PCLinuxOS (PCLOS, for short) used to offer a bunch of respins with different DEs. Added bonus: PCLOS is a lot more newbie-friendly than Debian is. Maybe worth exploring a little.
Last edited by dasein on 2017-03-13 18:19, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: So many desktops!

Postby Segfault » 2017-03-13 16:04

For special purposes you do not need a desktop at all. I run Kodi directly on Xorg, no window managers or desktop environments installed. The whole RAM usage is 125 MB with Kodi running. SSH for system management.
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Re: So many desktops!

Postby stevepusser » 2017-03-13 20:03

Those four are the most well known, but there's other independent ones besides Unity that have sprung from other distros, such as the Deepin desktop, the Budgie DE from Solus, or Lumina from BSD. There are also distros that don't use a DE at all, but combine elements such as window managers so it's hard to tell the difference; see AntiX or Bunsen Labs.

You'll also notice that some distros will offer better support right off for running in Virtual Box than others--they already have the guest kernel drivers installed. This gives mouse integration, a resizable desktop that fills the VBox window, and support for a shared folder between host and guest.
The MX Linux repositories: Backports galore! If we don't have something, just ask and we'll try--we like challenges. New packages: AzPainter 2.0.6, Pale Moon 27.3.0, Liquorix kernel 4.11-9, mpv 0.25.0, Kodi 17.3, Ksnip 1.3.1, Mesa 13.0.6
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Re: So many desktops!

Postby alan stone » 2017-03-13 21:51

Debian GNU/Linux 8.8 (jessie)
wm: openbox

If you initiate coercion, force, violence to enforce your idea or theory, or if every single time it is applied to the real world it fails completely, your idea or theory sucks and is worthless.
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Re: So many desktops!

Postby Magnusmaster » 2017-03-13 23:30

Please don't overwhelm the newbie!

I suggest to try GNOME, KDE and Cinnamon. Those are the best options for a beginner right now. They are all available in Debian. GNOME is the default, I think.
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Re: So many desktops!

Postby stevepusser » 2017-03-14 02:36

I could recommend a respin of MX 16 that has a somewhat customized Jessie KDE desktop--I know it has Virtual Box integration right off: https://mxlinux.org/community-kde-respin-mx-16
The MX Linux repositories: Backports galore! If we don't have something, just ask and we'll try--we like challenges. New packages: AzPainter 2.0.6, Pale Moon 27.3.0, Liquorix kernel 4.11-9, mpv 0.25.0, Kodi 17.3, Ksnip 1.3.1, Mesa 13.0.6
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Re: So many desktops!

Postby alan stone » 2017-03-14 06:04

dcs.79c wrote:How many basic desktops are there?
...
Debian distros capable of running more than on desktop? Which distro do you recommend that I install so that I can try out the different desktops?

Magnusmaster wrote:Please don't overwhelm the newbie!

Playing mummy or daddy?
Debian GNU/Linux 8.8 (jessie)
wm: openbox

If you initiate coercion, force, violence to enforce your idea or theory, or if every single time it is applied to the real world it fails completely, your idea or theory sucks and is worthless.
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Re: So many desktops!

Postby debiman » 2017-03-15 08:15

alan stone wrote:Playing mummy or daddy?

it would seem that is what op asked for.
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Re: So many desktops!

Postby flun·ky » 2017-03-16 03:02

I'll second AntiX

antix1 3.7.10-antix.8-486-smp

HP Mini 110 Intel Atom N270 @ 1.60GHz ...Really peppy...

No special firmware, everything works out the box. Internet stuff, Conky amusement, DEB testing, ssh stuff around the house, DOSBOX old school games...all kinds of stuff.

On another older Toshiba Satellite, M45 Pentium M processor 1.73GHz
Jessie 3.16.0-4-686-pae
Everyday type use, Kodi for entertainment (Live TV with HDHR) Flirc usb dongle for navigation
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