Linux: How to Switch to LXDE, Xfce

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

This page tells you how install and use another desktop environment, such as Xfce, LXDE.


LXDE is the most simple and functional desktop, and uses the least amount of memory and CPU.

linux lxde screenshot 2013-06-02
Linux LXDE desk environment
# install lxde desktop
sudo apt-get install lxde lxsession

or, also install all of its light-weight apps. I recommend this:

# install full lxde environment
sudo apt-get install lubuntu-desktop

After install, just re-login. In the login panel, there's a menu to let you choose from installed Window Managers.

Note: Lubuntu means Ubuntu with LXDE desktop.


xfce desktop screenshot 2012-10-15
Xfce desktop. [see Xah Linux Setup]
# install xfce desktop
sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

Xubuntu means Ubuntu with Xfce desktop.

What is Window Manager, X11, Desktop?

The term Shell, or GUI Shell, is sometimes used to refer to a core part of Desktop Environment. Not to be confused with the command line “shell” (aka terminal, console, bash), which is a older, more widely understood, term.

What is GTK? What's qt?

GTK+ and qt are graphical user interface programing frameworks.

Almost all Linux GUI apps are written using either the GTK+ or Qt.

For most Linux GUI app, you have to check which lib it's from. For example, the apps in Ubuntu are mostly GTK+ based apps. If a GUI app says it's written in GTK+, that means you must have Gnome installed or you have to install the GTK+ lib.

Most apps from Gnome desktop are using GTK. Most apps from KDE desktop are using Qt. When a app is using GTK, it often require other libs from Gnome, but not always. Same for Qt with KDE.

What are the popular {Window Managers, Desktops} for Linux?