Install Desktop Environments

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Overview

There are several desktop environments available for Manjaro, each with their own unique style, interface, and features. Which you may choose is entirely down to personal preference. However, it is possible to install multiple desktop environments if you wish, which can be selected at the logon screen at any time.

It is worth noting that a desktop environment is not a single application; it is actually a collection of different components that work together, commonly including a:

  • windows manager to display, move and resize application windows
  • file manager to visually browse, copy and access files, etc.
  • background provider to display wallpapers, etc.
  • panel to provide a menu and to display information such as the time
  • settings/configuration manager to change the look of the environment

And so on. Most desktop environments will also come with their own preferred applications, in addition to various widgets, addons, and extensions to provide extra features. As such, upon entering the commands provided below in your terminal to download and install a desktop environment, you may be prompted to choose from a selection of components provided for it.

To install a full desktop environment - complete with its own preferred file manager, applications, and so on - simply press <enter> when prompted. Everything will be downloaded and installed by default.





note: If you install this way to use multiple desktop environments, you may find certain applications seem to appear several times in your application menus. For example, several different terminals may be available, as many desktop environments come with their own preferred version, which can also be used in other desktops.


Where additional (and optional) extras for a desktop environment are availble, the terminal commands to obtain these have also been provided. These commands have been listed seperately to those for obtaining the desktop environments themselves.


XFCE

Xfce.png


XFCE is a lightweight and versatile desktop environment that utilises a classicdrop-down menu to access applications. It is also compatable with Compiz. Although highly configurable, XFCE does provide a somewhat basic interface that may lack some modern features expected (e.g. no built-in search bar in the menu). A little time and effort will also be required to properly customise the deskop to suit personal taste. A 64 bit installation of Manjaro running XFCE uses about 200MB of memory.

To install XFCE, enter the command:

sudo pacman -S xfce4

To install extra themes, desktop backgrounds, and panel items (widgets), enter the command:

sudo pacman -S xfce4-goodies


KDE

KDE is a feature-rich and versatile desktop environment that provides several different styles of menu to access applications. It is also compatable with Compiz. An excellent built-in interface to easily access and install new themes, widgets, etc, from the internet is also worth mentioning. While very user-friendly and certainly flashy, KDE is also quite resource heavy and noticably slower to start and use than a desktop environment such as XFCE. A 64 bit installation of Manjaro running KDE uses about 550MB of memory.

To install KDE, enter the command:

sudo pacman -S KDE kdeplasma-applets-networkmanagement

Upon installing, you will be asked to pick a gstreamer version (phonon or vlc). Gstreamer is a multimedia framework used to handle multimedia applications (i.e. audio and video playback and editing). If you are not sure which one you should choose, pick vlc.


Gnome 3

Gnome 3 is an intuitive desktop environment that utilises a tablet or smartphone style interface to access applications. It is not compatible with compiz. Although Gnome is very easy to learn and use, its customisation options are quite limited, and it can be difficult to configure. A 64 bit installation of Manjaro running Gnome uses about 220MB of memory.

To install Gnome, enter the command:

sudo pacman -S gnome

To install extra themes, games, and features, enter the command:

sudo pacman -S gnome-extra


Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a desktop environment based on Gnome that utilises a large panel-style menu to access applications. It is not compatible with compiz. Despite being based on Gnome, it has more customisation options and is easier to configure. Users of Windows Vista or Windows 7 may find Cinnamon's interface comfortably familiar. A 64 bit installation of Manjaro running Cinnamon uses about xMB of memory.

To install Cinnamon, enter the command:

pacman -S cinnamon





note: as a gnome-based desktop, many gnome configuration applications will work with cinnamon, e.g. gnome-color-manager.


Openbox

Openbox is not a desktop environment, but a windows manager. Although a basic menu is available (and accessed by right-clicking on the desktop), absolutely nothing else is provided with Openbox's basic installation - not even its own themes or configuration application! One for the minimalists out there, or perhaps those who want to use Openbox as a foundation to build on. It will be necessary to install and configure your own choice of panel, file manager, background provider, and so on.

To install Openbox, enter the command:

sudo pacman -S openbox 


To install a logout script, configuration application, themes, and a background provider (nitrogen), enter the command:

sudo pacman -S oblogout obconf openbox-themes nitrogen 


Razor-QT

Razor-QT is a lightweight, desktop environment still under development. It has no window manager of its own, although it can be configured to use Compiz as such (not using the Fusion-Icon, however). It is designedd with lower-end computers in mind. At its current stage of development, Razor-QT may not be suitable for many users. A 64 bit installation of Manjaro running Cinnamon uses about xMB of memory

To install Razor-QT, enter the command:

sudo pacman -S razor-qt

To install the recommended Window Manager, use USB devices, and shutdown/reboot from Razor-QT, enter the command:

sudo pacman -S openbox upower udisks





note: You will need to manually edit Razor-QT's configuration file ~/.config/razor/session.conf to set the window manager.