Tag Archives: desktop environment

Gnome 3.12 is released!

Gnome 3.12 is released with lots of new features, improvements and bug fixes. It’s a great news for those who’re stuck with the default desktop environment : Unity. Gnome experience is becoming better with every major release (with 3.*). The default text editor gedit, got lots of design changes; Now, the UI is more clean and minimal.

This video quickly explains all the exciting stuffs in Gnome 3.12.

What’s new in Gnome 3.12 ?

  • Now, it’s much easier to find/install applications
  • UI improvements for gedit/video applications
  • Better support for high resolution display
  • App startup time has improved
  • More efficient at handling resources
  • Folders, that lets you organize apps

Read official announcement at gnome.org


Lightweight Desktop Environments for Ubuntu 12.10/12.04

If you’re not happy with the default desktop environment (Unity shell on GNOME3) in Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal), then you can try installing some alternative desktop such as MATE, Cinnamon, KDE etc or a lightweight desktop environment such as XFCE.

Why go for a Lightweight Desktop Environment ?

  • speed
  • efficiency
  • low resource requirements (it can also run smooth on older computers)


XFCE is a simple and easy to use Desktop environment with traditional layout/conventions (much like GNOME 2). The XFCE package contains desktop and some lightweight apps such as Thunar(File Manager), Ristretto (Image viewer), Midori (Web Browser), Orage (calandar app) etc. Based on XFCE, there is a seperate edition of Ubuntu – called Xubuntu.

Xfce Desktop

Installing XFCE Desktop in Ubuntu 12.10

sudo apt-get install xfce4


LXDE is another lighteweight desktop environment. LXDE package includes the desktop environment and apps such as PCMan(File Manager), Leafpad (Text Editor), LXTerminal (Terminal Emulator), Openbox (Window Manager) etc. LXDE flavor of Ubuntu is Lubuntu.


Installing LXDE Desktop in Ubuntu 12.10

sudo apt-get install lxde

3. Fluxbox

Fluxbox is a highly configurable lightweight desktop environment, written in C++.


Installing FLuxbox Desktop in Ubuntu 12.10/12.04

sudo apt-get install fluxbox

4. GNOME Classic

GNOME classic edition (gnome session fallback) is based on GNOME3 but it has look and behavior very similar to GNOME2. So GNOME2 fans may want to try this.


Installing GNOME classic Desktop in Ubuntu 12.10

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback
sudo apt-get install indicator-applet-appmenu

How to Install KDE Desktop Environment in Ubuntu 12.10

Ubuntu 12.10 comes with Unity Desktop environment/shell (based on GNOME 3). A lot of users love unity, they like the cools features of unity (Unity dash, lens, launcher etc) , but there are lots of haters too. Fortunately, there are many options available РGnome shell, KDE, XFCE, MATE, Cinnamon, etc.

KDE – Desktop Environment

KDE is one of the most popular and a classic desktop environment. It’s easy to use and it has lot of cools apps (somewhat like Gnome), specially for newbies (moving from Windows XP/7/8).


In Ubuntu 12.10, it’s there in package repository, by default. KDE plasma desktop and apps are bundled together in various ways. Choose something that suits you well, or just go with second one (kde-plasma-desktop, with minimal set of applications).

KDE standard

it contains KDE plasma desktop and standard set of applications such as Kate (default editor, like gedit), Konqueror (default web browser), Kget (Download Manager), KMail (email client), Dolphin (File Manager), Konsole (terminal) etc. To install standard package of kde, open a terminal and execute the command –

sudo apt-get install kde-standard

KDE Desktop Minimal

If you just want to give it a try or may be you don’t want the applications to be installed by default (you can always install later), then prefer this minimal package – that installs KDE plasma desktop with minimal set of apps.

sudo apt-get install kde-plasma-desktop

KDE Netbook Minimal

As the name suggest, it’s more suitable for netbook users.

sudo apt-get install kde-plasma-netbook

KDE Full

If you want the complete package of apps, along with the core desktop environment (KDE Plasma), then it’s the best option for you (but it may take more time to install depending on your internet speed).

sudo apt-get install kde-full

That’s All, enjoy the cool charming look of KDE.


How to Install MATE Desktop Environment in Ubuntu 12.10

Unity is the default desktop environment in Ubuntu 12.10. Although, it has improved a lot but if you’re still looking for an alternative desktop with classic GNOME 2 style layout then you may try MATE.

MATE is a GNOME 2 based desktop, it’s easy to use, and the it’s stable too. it’s the default desktop environment in Linux Mint, an Ubuntu based distribution, more human-friendly for beginner users.


Installing MATE

MATE Desktop environment is available for various platform, including ubuntu, fedora, etc. In Ubuntu, the best way to install MATE would be through the official PPA.

Open a terminal and execute the commands –

sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://packages.mate-desktop.org/repo/ubuntu quantal main"
sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://repo.mate-desktop.org/ubuntu quantal main"
sudo apt-get install mate-archive-keyring
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mate-core
sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment

Applications Menu in MATE Desktop (running with Ubuntu 12.10)

Applications Menu in MATE Desktop

Update! Fixed some errors!


Alternative Desktop Environments for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS – Precise Pangolin uses Unity Interface as the default user interface. For any reasons you don’t like Unity (although Unity has improved a lot – so you may want to try cool keyboard shortcuts in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS to get the full experience of Unity) then don’t be panic – there are other desktop options are available for you – you just need to try out and choose one.

If you didn’t like the Unity from first day then you could install other flavors of Ubuntu (instead of the default one) – called as Ubuntu derivatives. But basically they are all same – the only difference is the set of applications, installed by default.

Unity Desktop in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

Alternative Window Managers (Desktops)

Here are few cool alternatives – Gnome Shell and KDE are as sophisticated as Unity while XFCE, LXDE and Openbox are lightweight/simple desktop environments for the users who wants to get things done very fast (without the unnecessary clutter).

1. Gnome Shell


Gnome shell and Unity both are based on GNOME 3 core but they have totally different look. Gnome Shell is also very popular and many distribution uses it as the default UI. To install Gnome Shell on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, simply type the command –

sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

You are also recommended to install gnome tweak tool, for customizing advanced options for Gnome desktop.

sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

2. KDE


KDE is a qt based desktop environment that provides a simple and easy to use Desktop environment. Since KDE looks very similar to Windows (prior to 8) it suits well to the users coming from windows. Due to the recent changes in Gnome, KDE has become the default choice for many Ubuntu users.

sudo apt-get install kde-standard


Xfce Desktop

XFCE is a simple and easy to use desktop, very well suitable for those who are tired of those bloated desktops. It is fast, it uses less resources and allow you to focus totally on your computing tasks instead of eye-candy.

sudo apt-get install xfce4


Lxde Desktop

LXDE i.e Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment, as the name suggest, it’s lightweight, simple, fast (and energy saving). It has been designed for optimal use of resources, so it’s well suitable for low hardware resources.

Install LXDE in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

sudo apt-get install lxde

5. Openbox


Openbox is another lightweight window manager, optimized for speed and simplicity. it’s highly configurable, you can customize the every bits of the desktop, you can even create a new way to interact(use/control) with your desktop. You can also run it inside GNOME or KDE.

Install Openbox in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

sudo apt-get install openbox

6. Gnome Classic

Gnome Classic is a GNOME 3 desktop trying to simulate the look/layout of GNOME 2 desktop.

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback