• Components Of A Linux Desktop Environment

    There are many different "desktop environments" available within Linux including but not limited to Unity, Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE, XFCE, LXDE and Enlightenment.

    This list highlights the components which are commonly used to make a "desktop environment."

    01 Window Manager

    A "Window Manager" determines how applications are presented to the user on the screen.
    There are different types of "Window Manager" available:

    • Compositing
    • Stacking
    • Tiling


    Modern desktop environments use compositing to display windows. Windows can appear on top of each other and snap side by side and look pleasing to the eye.

    A stacking "window manager" lets you place windows on top of each other but they look more old fashioned.

    A tiling "window manager" puts windows side by side without letting them overlap.
    Typically a "window" can have borders, it can be minimised and maximised, resized and dragged around the screen. The "window" will have a title, may contain a context menu and items can be selected with the mouse.

    A "window manager" lets you tab between windows, send them to a task bar (also known as panel), snap the windows side by side and perform other tasks.

    You can generally set the desktop wallpaper and add icons to the desktop.

    02 Panel

    Those of you used to the Windows operating system will think of a "panel" as being a "taskbar".

    Within Linux you can have multiple panels on the screen.

    A "panel" generally sits on the edge of the screen either at the top, bottom, left or right.

    The "panel" will contain items such as a menu, quick launch icons, minimised applications and a system tray or notification area.

    Another use of a "panel" is as a docking bar which provides quick launch icons to load commonly used applications.

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