Desktop Environments 2023

Around April 2023, I decided to look for a new Linux Desktop Environment for my personal void linux. So I tried these distros:

  • lxqt: This is the one I eventually chose to switch to. I liked it that it was very small and light, and very modular, almost like a kit that you assemble yourself. Because I have thinking for some time that I would like to make my own Desktop environment from a Window Manager, lxqt is very close to what I wanted to do with that idea.
    • PROS:
      • Light and modular
      • Classic User Experience (great since I am very old computer user).
      • Uses XScreenSaver
      • Uses QT widget set.
    • CONS
      • not as visually appealing as the other desktops here.
  • MATE Desktop: This is the desktop that I was using before. It is light on resources and has all the features you would expect. Nothing against it, but I thought it was time to move on. Also my XScreenSaver stopped working in the latest void update.
    • PROS
      • Full feature yet light on resources
      • Classic User Experience (great since I am very old computer user).
      • Was possible to use XScreenSaver.
  • standard gnome: This is supposed to be the Premier Linux [Desktop Environment]. Personally, I find it hard to use, as it completely deviates from User Experienced of Microsoft Windows 95. WHile it may be innovative, for me, an old computer user, it just gets in the way of getting things done. So for me it is a total turn-off. Also, under void I was only able to use the Wayland session.
    • PROS
      • Very modern and popular desktop
    • CONS
      • Too modern for my taste
      • Could only run on wayland.
  • gnome flashback : This returns the gnome desktop back to a classic user experience. I personally find this UX much better than the standard gnome user experience. Visually, was very smooth and appealing. I found it quite pleasant. I was also able to run it as part of the X session.
    • PROS
      • Buttery smooth look and feel
  • KDE plasma : This is the KDE project Desktop Environment. I found it OK, but not particularly special. I just tried it on void and managed it to get it to work and do stuff, but didn't feel worth it to stick around too much.
  • XFCE4: This is another classic UX Desktop Environment. Just like MATE is a full featured desktop that tends to be light on resources. I find it stable and a good performer. The main reason why I did not opt for xfce is that this is the desktop I usually use for Virtual Machines that I spin up on the cloud. So it is useful to have a visually different UX so as not to get confused between working locally and working on a cloud system.
    • PROS:
      • Classic User Experience (great since I am very old computer user).
  • budgie: Did not work for me on void linux. It would start, but the mouse and keyboard would be unresponsive.
  • cinnamon: Did not work for me on void linux. It would start, but the mouse and keyboard would be unresponsive.
  • pantheon: This is a desktop that I would like to try, but it is not available on Void Linux.

Pet Peeves


The Wayland project started back in 2008. It started as a modern Window system implementation, slated to replace Xorg. I am writing this is 2023, and after 15 years, it is only partially available. As far as I can tell, the only desktop environments that support wayland are gnome and plasma.

I think this is a pity, but that is how things are in Open Source without a real corporate sponsor.

GTK+ libraries

I find this is a bit of a mess. I think it is ude with how the gnome project is evolving it software components. I use void linux and at the time of this writing I can install from the void repositories three different versions of GTK+, v2, v3 and v4. Also, I tried compiling a package called Xnee and that actually seemed to require v1.

Anyways, because different programs require different GTK+ release levels, this means that my working void desktop has all three versions installed.

I personally find this quite messy. Again, this is a fact of life with fully Open Source Software.