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Other desktop environments not available in Debian include Unity ([[https://ubports.com/|1]] [[https://github.com/yunit-io/yunit|2]]), [[https://elementary.io/get-involved#desktop-development|Pantheon]], [[https://rox.sourceforge.net/desktop/|ROX]], [[https://equinox-project.org/|Equinox/EDE]], [[https://etoileos.com/|Étoilé]], [[https://sourceforge.net/projects/cdesktopenv/|CDE]], [[https://artemis-project.github.io/|Artemis]] and [[https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Desktop_Environment|others]]. Other desktop environments not available in Debian include Unity ([[https://ubports.com/|1]] [[https://github.com/yunit-io/yunit|2]]), [[https://elementary.io/get-involved#desktop-development|Pantheon]], [[https://rox.sourceforge.net/desktop/|ROX]], [[https://equinox-project.org/|Equinox/EDE]], [[https://etoileos.com/|Étoilé]], [[https://sourceforge.net/projects/cdesktopenv/|CDE]], [[https://artemis-project.github.io/|Artemis]], [[http://durden.arcan-fe.com/|Durden]] and [[https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Desktop_Environment|others]].

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https://www.debian.org/logos/openlogo-nd-50.png https://www.debian.org/Pics/debian.png

Portal/IDB/logo_portal.png Welcome to the Debian Desktop Environment Portal

Portal/IDB/icon-display-32x32.png Debian supports all kinds of graphical environments from fully-featured desktop environments like GNOME and Plasma, to lighter environments like Xfce and LXDE, to even lighter window managers like Openbox and tiling window managers like Wmii.

Most Desktop Environment currently rely on Xorg (X Window System), and will eventually support Wayland in the future.

Desktop Environment


The GNOME project provides two things: The GNOME desktop environment, an intuitive and attractive desktop for users, and the GNOME development platform, an extensive framework for building applications that integrate into the rest of the desktop.


Plasma by KDE is a powerful open source graphical desktop environment for Unix workstations. It combines ease of use, contemporary functionality, and outstanding graphical design with the technological superiority of the Unix operating system.


Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for various *NIX systems. Designed for productivity, it loads and executes applications quickly, while conserving system resources.


LXDE is designed to work well with computers on the low end of the performance spectrum such as older resource-constrained machines, new generation netbooks, and other small computers.


MATE is the continuation of GNOME 2. It provides an intuitive and attractive desktop environment using traditional metaphors for Linux and other Unix-like operating systems.

Other desktop environments available in Debian include Cinnamon, LXQt, Budgie, Enlightenment, FVWM-Crystal, Window Maker, Sugar Notion WM and possibly others.

Other desktop environments not available in Debian include Unity (1 2), Pantheon, ROX, Equinox/EDE, Étoilé, CDE, Artemis, Durden and others.

Window Manager


Openbox is a lightweight and highly configurable window manager with extensive standards support. It is well known for its minimalistic appearance.


FluxBox is a windowmanager for X that was based on the Blackbox 0.61.1 code. It is very light on resources and easy to handle yet full of features to make an easy, and extremely fast, desktop experience.

Compiz logo

Compiz is a compositing window manager for the X Window System that uses 3D graphics hardware to create fast compositing desktop effects for window management.


Wmii is a dynamic window manager for X11. It supports classic and tiling window management with extended keyboard, mouse, and filesystem-based remote control. It replaces the workspace paradigm with a new tagging approach.


Awesome is a dynamic window manager for X11. It supports tiling window management with extended keyboard, mouse, and it is scriptable in Lua. It includes many add-ons which can make it very powerful. It replaces the workspace paradigm with a new tiling approach of non-overlaping windows.

Installation of a Desktop Environment

First, during the installation of Debian, the installer offers the choice of which Desktop Environment you want to install, you can also install none if you want no graphical environment or prefer to install it later.

Afterward, installing another Desktop Environment is as simple as installing a single package. For some Desktop Environments, you have choice between several meta-packages depending on if you wish to install a minimal set or most of the software coming with the environment. Please refer to the page specific to the Desktop Environment you wish to install for a description of these meta-packages.

Changing Desktop Environment

You might want to try several environments, or adopt one instead of another. Installing a new Desktop Environment will make it available for your system, and several settings determine which one is run by the user. The easiest way to change it is to use a Display Manager, which prompts you at login which Desktop Environment you wish to run for this session, and eventually make it default.


Sessions are usually managed by the Display Manager, which itself relies on Xsession.

If no Display Manager makes use of Xsession, you can still start the X Environement with the startx command, which is a call to xinit.




CategoryPortal | CategoryDesktopEnvironment