There are a few situations where the default desktop (GNOME) is not practical, e.g.:

So we could perhaps standardise on a recommended alternative desktop for all these use cases. (Trying to avoid inconsistency, for example, with kfreebsd and hurd systems picking different default desktops).

tasksel could perhaps detect some of these situations and vary the available choices / default selection.

Anyone can edit






other ideas


(./) buildd.d.o

(./) buildd.d.o

{X} uninstallable on non-linux

(./) buildd.d.o

media size

(./) 1073 packages / 491 MiB (?)

(./) 926 packages / 413 MiB

(./) 946 packages / 433 MiB

(./) 954 packages / 468 MiB

(packagelists calculated for kfreebsd-amd64 CD-1, including d-i, base, standard and desktop tasks; packed [not installed] size shown)

sysvinit integration

familiarity / obviousness

(./) resembles GNOME 2?

(./) resembles GNOME 2

IceWm resembles 20 years' GUI legacy.

resource efficiency



?IceWm, again.



The default desktop can be different on different kernels, or even different architectures.

Since wheezy, both kfreebsd and hurd defaulted to xfce.

There may be new, upcoming use cases for Debian on new/niche hardware (e.g Raspberry Pi, mipsel/loongson, tablets or e-readers with 'open' hardware?). If GNOME 3 doesn't work for those, what does?

media size

What is the smallest possible download, for someone limited on bandwidth?

Will everything necessary be installed to connect to the Internet later, such as wireless LANs, and more exotic requirements like PPPoE, ISDN, dialup, UMTS modems.

Can the full desktop fit on a CD (for machines that may not have DVD-ROM drives)?

LXDE, XFCE and MATE seem to all fit on a single CD together! (1049 packages, 507 MiB for kreebsd-amd64)

sysvinit integration

kfreebsd and hurd will have sysvinit as the default init system for jessie.

Since some desktops are using systemd features; does this desktop still work with plain sysvinit? e.g. login, logout, suspend, reboot and poweroff functionality.

On GNU/Linux, do any of these desktops depend on systemd?

familiarity / obviousness

The GNOME 3 shell sometimes fails to meet user expectations, although it can vary depending what desktop environments they have used in the past.

There is an ISO standard 9241-110 for "Dialogue principles"

New Debian users potentially come from Windows (e.g. whole enterprise / government departments replacing their workstations with open-source)

Some users may even be switching to Debian Jessie from GNOME 2-like or other UNIX-like systems.

What desktops would be most obvious to a Mac user replacing OS X with an open-source operating system? (presumably GNOME 3 covers this use case and this type of hardware, therefore we don't need to consider it here)

resource efficiency

As an example, Debian Edu supports thin clients and diskless workstations. LXDE or XFCE were typically suggested instead of a heavier GNOME/KDE desktop, due to needing less RAM while idling, and having a lower installed file size, meaning less to transfer over the network during startup and use.