Torvalds' reaction to what he views as the "head up the arse" behavior in GNOME 3? “I'm using Xfce,” he said. “I think it's a step down from gnome2, but it's a huge
step up from gnome3.”
Both Unity and GNOME 3 have their fans, to be sure. But one of the best features of the free and open source
Linux operating system is that there's almost infinite customization possible, so you can make it pretty much whatever you want it to be.
If you're looking for an alternative to one of these less-than-universally-loved desktops, here are a few key contenders to consider. Many, it should be noted, don't just rival but often surpass what's offered by Windows and Mac OSX. Five Alternatives to Consider 1. KDE
I'll start off with KDE, which historically has been the most obvious and longstanding alternative.
If you run Kubuntu instead of the standard desktop Ubuntu, in fact, KDE is what you're already used to. KDE is also similar in many ways to Microsoft Windows, so if you've spent much time on a Microsoft system, KDE will probably feel familiar to you as well.
KDE and GNOME differ primarily in the way they present things on the desktop. Traditionally, GNOME's desktop has been associated with simplicity while KDE's has offered more options.
With a highly polished look, some believe KDE is the most visually attractive of all the Linux desktops. Besides Kubuntu, OpenSUSE, Mandriva and PCLinuxOS are all among the distributions that include KDE by default. 2. Xfce
Yes, it appears the low-resources Xfce desktop is now the choice of Linus Torvalds himself. Not that it's any wonder, of course. In fact, Xfce is a great lightweight desktop that's used by default in Xubuntu, the Ubuntu variant designed for low-specification computers.
Xfce focuses on using minimal resources while offering very quick speeds. Xfce is also modular, standards-compliant and reusable, allowing users to pick and choose from a number of separately packaged components. 3. Enlightenment
It may be somewhat less well-known than KDE and Xfce, but Enlightenment offers an excellent alternative. Sometimes known also as E, Enlightenment serves as the basis for the Bodhi Linux
distribution but can also serve as a window manager within GNOME or KDE. The software can be used on anything from mobile phones all the way up to powerful, multi-core desktops. 4. LXDE
A small footprint is generally a desirable quality in a Linux desktop, and on that front LXDE is a leading contender.
Short for Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment, LXDE demands very few resources and so is an excellent choice for older computers, in particular. That's not to say it's overly bare-bones, however; rather, it features an attractive interface, multilanguage support, standard keyboard shortcuts and additional features like tabbed file browsing.
LXDE is featured by default in the Lubuntu variant of Ubuntu as well as Knoppix. 5. Fluxbox
Last but not least, Fluxbox is an X window manager that's full-featured but very light on resources and easy to handle. Fluxbox is not as feature-rich as GNOME or KDE, but it's considerably friendlier for low-spec computing uses.
Linux users who are not happy with their favorite distribution's choice of a desktop environment can always switch distributions, of course. I often recommend Linux Mint
for those who want to do that.
It's typically not necessary to go that far, however. In most cases, you can keep the Linux distribution you've been using and just add on a different desktop.