Install Desktop Environments

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Contents


Overview

There are several Desktop Environments and Window Managers available for Manjaro, each with their own unique style, interface, and features. Furthermore, it is possible to install multiple environments if desired, which can be selected at the login screen at any time. Users are not restricted to whatever comes pre-installed with a particular flavour of Manjaro.


Desktop Environments

It is worth noting that a Desktop Environment(DE) is not a single entity; it is actually a collection of different components that work together. This commonly includes a:

  • window 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

Where additional (and optional) extras for a desktop environment are available, the terminal commands to obtain these have also been provided.

Some important information about installing the Manjaro settings packages:

  • The Manjaro settings packages contain the theming and settings to make the desktop the same as in the Manjaro ISOs
  • They have the naming convention manjaro-<desktop>-settings i.e. manjaro-xfce-settings
  • They share files so you can only have one at a time installed.
  • If you are coming from gnome you must remove the meta package manjaro-gnome-assets before you can install the settings package for another desktop


The Risks of Using Multiple DEs

Installing multiple DEs is not without risks. Here are some things that can pop-up when running more than one DE:

  • The settings packages overlap so you can only have one DE pre-configured with the Manjaro theming. The others will need to have the theming applied manually.
  • You can end up with more than one instance of similar applications. For example, it is common to end up with 2 Bluetooth managers. It takes some tweaking to get a single manager working in multiple DEs
  • Sometimes two different DEs will share the same configuration files causing strange things to happen, especially with theming


These risks are greatly reduced by using a different user account for each DE.

In summary, running multiple DEs is possible and a great way to enjoy Manjaro but it requires a willingness to troubleshoot and work through minor problems. If you are the type of person who wants everything to "just work" out of the box, running multiple DEs might not be for you.


XFCE

XfceDE.png


XFCE is a lightweight and versatile desktop environment that utilises a classic drop-down or pop-up menu to access applications. It is also compatible with Compiz. A little time and effort will also be required to properly customise the desktop to suit personal taste. A 64 bit installation of Manjaro running XFCE uses about 390MB of memory. As of version 18, Manjaro has moved to the gtk3 version of XFCE.

Install a basic XFCE environment
sudo pacman -S xfce4-gtk3 xfce4-goodies xfce4-terminal network-manager-applet xfce4-notifyd-gtk3 xfce4-whiskermenu-plugin-gtk3 tumbler engrampa
Optional: Install and use LightDM, the recommended display manager for XFCE
sudo pacman -S lightdm lightdm-gtk-greeter lightdm-gtk-greeter-settings
sudo systemctl enable lightdm.service --force

edit /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf, under [Seat:*] replace the greeter-session setting with greeter-session=lightdm-gtk-greeter

Optional: Install the Manjaro configuration and theming for XFCE
sudo pacman -S manjaro-xfce-gtk3-settings manjaro-settings-manager

To configure LightDM to match the official iso replace the contents of /etc/lightdm/lightdm-gtk-greeter.conf with

[greeter]
background = /usr/share/backgrounds/illyria-default-lockscreen.jpg
font-name = Cantarell Bold 12
xft-antialias = true
icon-theme-name = Adapta-Papirus-Maia
screensaver-timeout = 60
theme-name = Adapta-Eta-Maia
cursor-theme-name = xcursor-breeze
show-clock = false
default-user-image = #avatar-default
xft-hintstyle = hintfull
position = 50%,center 50%,center
clock-format =
panel-position = bottom
indicators = ~host;~spacer;~clock;~spacer;~language;~session;~a11y;~power
Create a new user for the new desktop environment
sudo useradd -mG lp,network,power,sys,wheel <username>
sudo passwd <username>


KDE Plasma 5

KDEPlasmaDE.png

The KDE community offers Plasma, a feature-rich and versatile desktop environment that provides several different styles of menu to access applications. Its default window manager is kwin, but is also compatible with Compiz. An excellent built-in interface to easily access and install new themes, widgets, etc, from the internet is also worth mentioning. A 64 bit installation of Manjaro running KDE uses about 455MB of memory.

Install a basic KDE Plasma environment
sudo pacman -S plasma kio-extras
Optional: Install KDE applications

To install a full set of K* applications use kde-applications. This will be ~300 packages(including dependencies)

sudo pacman -S kde-applications

Alternatively, install a minimal set of KDE applications with kdebase

sudo pacman -S kdebase
Optional: Install and use SDDM, the recommended display manager for KDE

SDDM is installed as a dependency of plasma. To enable it

systemctl enable sddm.service --force
systemctl reboot
Optional: Install the Manjaro configuration and theming for plasma
sudo pacman -S manjaro-kde-settings sddm-breath-theme manjaro-settings-manager-knotifier manjaro-settings-manager-kcm

Open plasma settings, go to Startup & Shutdown->Login Screen and select "Breath"

Create a new user for the new desktop environment
sudo useradd -mG lp,network,power,sys,wheel <username>
sudo passwd <username>


Gnome 3

Gnome-de-18.jpg

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 447MB of memory.

Install a basic gnome environment
sudo pacman -S gnome
Optional: To install extra themes, games, and features
sudo pacman -S gnome-extra
Optional: Install and use GDM, the recommended display manager for gnome

GDM is installed as a dependency of gnome, to enable it

systemctl enable gdm.service --force
Optional: Install the Manjaro configuration and theming for gnome
sudo pacman -S manjaro-gnome-assets manjaro-gdm-theme manjaro-settings-manager
Create a new user for the new desktop environment
sudo useradd -mG lp,network,power,sys,wheel <username>
sudo passwd <username>


Budgie

Budgie.jpg

The Budgie Desktop is a modern desktop designed to keep out the way of the user. It features heavy integration with the GNOME stack in order for an enhanced experience. A 64 bit installation of Manjaro running budgie uses about 632MB of memory.

Install a basic budgie environment
sudo pacman -S budgie-desktop network-manager-applet gnome-control-center gnome-screensaver
Optional: Install additional commonly used components
sudo pacman -S gnome-terminal nautilus budgie-extras dconf-editor
Optional: Install and use LightDM, the recommended display manager for budgie
sudo pacman -S lightdm lightdm-slick-greeter lightdm-settings
systemctl enable lightdm.service --force

edit /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf, under [Seat:*] replace the greeter-session setting with greeter-session=lightdm-slick-greeter

Optional: Install the Manjaro configuration and theming for budgie
sudo pacman -S manjaro-budgie-settings manjaro-settings-manager papirus-maia-icon-theme

To configure LightDM to match the official iso replace the contents of /etc/lightdm/slick-greeter.conf with

[Greeter]
background=/usr/share/backgrounds/manjaro-budgie/manjaro-budgie.jpg
theme-name=Matcha-sea
icon-theme-name=Papirus-Maia
draw-grid=false
Create a new user for the new desktop environment
sudo useradd -mG lp,network,power,sys,wheel <username>
sudo passwd <username>


Cinnamon

Cinnamon screenshot.jpeg

Cinnamon is a desktop environment based on Gnome 3 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 665MB of memory.

Install a basic cinnamon environment
sudo pacman -S cinnamon
Optional: Install additional commonly used components
sudo pacman -S cinnamon-wallpapers cinnamon-sounds gnome-terminal parcellite
Optional: Install and use LightDM, the recommended display manager for cinnamon
sudo pacman -S lightdm lightdm-slick-greeter lightdm-settings
systemctl enable lightdm.service --force

Then edit /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf, under [Seat:*] replace the greeter-session setting with greeter-session=lightdm-slick-greeter

Optional: Install the Manjaro configuration and theming for cinnamon
sudo pacman -S manjaro-cinnamon-settings adapta-maia-theme kvantum-manjaro

To configure LightDM to match the community edition replace the contents of /etc/lightdm/slick-greeter.conf with

[Greeter]
background=/usr/share/backgrounds/greeter_default.jpg
background-color=#263138
draw-grid=false
theme-name=Adapta-Nokto-Eta-Maia
icon-theme-name=Papirus-Dark-Maia
font-name='Cantarell 11'
xft-antialias=true
xft-hintstyle=hintfull
enable-hidpi=auto

Set the Manjaro logo on the panel by right-clicking on the menu and clicking configure. Select "Use a custom icon and label". Select the Manjaro icon.

Create a new user for the new desktop environment
sudo useradd -mG lp,network,power,sys,wheel <username>
sudo passwd <username>


Deepin

Deepin.jpg

The Deepin Desktop is an elegant, easy to use desktop. It is lightly configurable. A 64 bit installation of Manjaro running deepin uses about 525MB of memory.

Install a basic deepin environment
sudo pacman -S deepin
Optional: Install the deepin applications suite
sudo pacman -S deepin-extra
Optional: Install and use LightDM, the recommended display manager for deepin
sudo pacman -S lightdm
systemctl enable lightdm.service --force

Then edit /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf, under [Seat:*] replace the greeter-session setting with greeter-session=lightdm-deepin-greeter

Optional: Install the Manjaro configuration and theming for deepin
sudo pacman -S deepin-manjaro
Create a new user for the new desktop environment
sudo useradd -mG lp,network,power,sys,wheel <username>
sudo passwd <username>


Enlightenment

note: There is not currently a Manjaro settings package for Enlightenment
E20-Green Onix 760.png

Enlightenment, sometimes known simply as E, is a lightweight desktop environment known for its configurability and tools for creating beautiful user interfaces using its Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL). E started in 1997 as a stacking windows manager, emerging as a desktop environment with development release 0.17. E does not come with a broad array of tools by default, which can be an advantage for experienced users who want to customize their installation, and a disadvantage for users with little or no experience of Linux. E uses a few unique terms, for example referring to panels as “shelves”. A 64-bit installation of E uses about 160M of memory.

Install a basic E environment
sudo pacman -S enlightenment
Optional: Install and use Entrance, the recommended display manager for E

Entrance is available from the AUR in the package entrance-git. Information on how to install packages from AUR can be found here. This is an example using yay

sudo pacman -S --asdeps meson && yay -S entrance-git 
systemctl enable entrance.service --force
Optional: Install Manjaro themes for E
sudo pacman -S enlightenment-manjaro-themes
Create a new user for the new desktop environment
sudo useradd -mG lp,network,power,sys,wheel <username>
sudo passwd <username>


LXDE

note: Installing LXDE will also result in installing Openbox as its default window manager. The LXDM display manager will also be downloaded, although it will be necessary to enable this yourself if you wish to replace your existing display manager.
Lxde17.1.11.jpg

LXDE is a super-lightweight desktop environment that is very similar to XFCE, with the exception that it is not compatible with Compiz. As with XFCE, LXDE is also a somewhat basic desktop environment, lacking some modern features that would be expected, such as a search-bar to find applications and files. However, it is also an excellent choice for less powerful computers.

Install a basic lxde environment
sudo pacman -S lxde network-manager-applet
Optional: Install and use LightDM, the recommended display manager for lxde
sudo pacman -S lightdm lightdm-gtk-greeter lightdm-gtk-greeter-settings
systemctl enable lightdm.service --force
Optional: Install the Manjaro configuration and theming for lxde
sudo pacman -S manjaro-lxde-logout-banner manjaro-lxde-xfce4-notifyd manjaro-lxde-xfce4-volumed-pulse manjaro-settings-manager manjaro-settings-manager-notifier manjaro-lxde-settings arc-maia-icon-theme kvantum-manjaro

To configure LightDM to match the community edition replace the contents of /etc/lightdm/lightdm-gtk-greeter.conf with

[greeter]
background = /usr/share/backgrounds/lxde-breath.png
font-name = Cantarell 12
xft-antialias = true
icon-theme-name = Arc-Maia
screensaver-timeout = 60
theme-name = Adapta-Eta-Maia
cursor-theme-name = xcursor-breeze
show-clock = false
default-user-image = #avatar-default
xft-hintstyle = hintfull
position = 50%,center 50%,center
clock-format = 
panel-position = bottom
Create a new user for the new desktop environment
sudo useradd -mG lp,network,power,sys,wheel <username>
sudo passwd <username>


LXQt

Lxqt-de-18.png

The LXQt Desktop Environment LXQt is a lightweight Qt desktop environment. It will not get in your way. It will not hang or slow down your system. It is focused on being a classic desktop with a modern look and feel. A 64 bit installation of Manjaro running lxqt uses about 250MB of memory.

Install a basic LXQt environment
sudo pacman -S lxqt xscreensaver
Install and use LightDM, the recommended display manager for LXQt
sudo pacman -S lightdm lightdm-slick-greeter lightdm-settings light-locker
systemctl enable lightdm.service --force

edit /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf, under [Seat:*] replace the greeter-session setting with greeter-session=lightdm-slick-greeter

Optional: Install the Manjaro configuration and theming for LXQt
sudo pacman -S manjaro-lxqt-extra-settings manjaro-openbox-adapta-maia papirus-maia-icon-theme
Create a new user for the new desktop environment
sudo useradd -mG lp,network,power,sys,wheel <username>
sudo passwd <username>


MATE

Mate.jpg


The MATE Desktop Environment is the continuation of GNOME 2. It provides an intuitive and attractive desktop environment using traditional metaphors for Linux and other Unix-like operating systems. MATE is under active development to add support for new technologies while preserving a traditional desktop experience. A 64 bit installation of Manjaro running MATE uses about 378MB of memory.

Install a basic mate environment
sudo pacman -S mate network-manager-applet
Optional: Install mate applications and configuration tools
sudo pacman -S mate-extra dconf-editor
Optional: Install and use LightDM, the recommended display manager for mate
sudo pacman -S lightdm lightdm-slick-greeter lightdm-settings
systemctl enable lightdm.service --force

edit /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf, under [Seat:*] replace the greeter-session setting with greeter-session=lightdm-slick-greeter

Optional: Install the Manjaro configuration and theming for mate
sudo pacman -S manjaro-mate-settings arc-maia-icon-theme papirus-maia-icon-theme manjaro-settings-manager manjaro-settings-manager-notifier

To configure LightDM to match the community edition replace the contents of /etc/lightdm/slick-greeter.conf with

[Greeter]
background=/usr/share/backgrounds/manjaro-mate/manjaro-mate.jpg
theme-name=Adapta-Nokto-Maia
icon-theme-name=Arc-Maia
draw-grid=false
Create a new user for the new desktop environment
sudo useradd -mG lp,network,power,sys,wheel <username>
sudo passwd <username>


Window Managers

note: By nature, building your own desktop environment from a Window Manager will take substantially more time and effort than simply downloading a pre-defined desktop environment.
Warning: The images provided below are purely for illustrative purposes only. You will have you put in the necessary time and effort to configure them.


Although Desktop Environments commonly provide a good range of customisation options to suit personal taste and preference, they may still be seen as somewhat restrictive or controlled in the sense that they merely allow for the personalisation of their pre-defined components. However, certain Window Managers empower users to take a 'do it yourself' approach in order to create their own desktop environments. In essence, they may be used as a foundation on which to build upon, as literally every component and every aspect of the desktop is under the direct control and choice of the user. An environment may be as elaborate or as minimalistic as desired, and it is even possible to mix and match various components from other desktop environments.

Therefore extremely powerful and versatile, these window managers also carry the additional benefit of being faster and more resource efficient than pre-defined desktop environments. Interestingly, the super-lightweight LXDE environment is itself built on the Openbox window manager. There are two types of Window Manager: Stacking and Tiling. These names denote how application windows will behave on your desktop.


Stacking Window Managers

Stacking window managers are by far the most popular, and essentially allow application windows to be moved freely around the screen, which may overlap - or 'stack' - upon one another, hence the name. All popular desktop environments (e.g. XFCE, KDE, Gnome, etc.) use stacking window Managers.


Openbox

Manjarobox.png


Openbox is by far the most popular Window Manager available. Due to its popularity there is excellent documentation available, as well as a good choice of additional themes that may be downloaded. To install Openbox, enter the command:

sudo pacman -S openbox

To install a logout script, configuration application, menu-editor, and extra themes for Openbox, enter the following command:

sudo pacman -S oblogout obconf lxappearance-obconf-gtk3 obmenu openbox-themes-extra
Optional: Install the Manjaro configuration, theming, and tools for Openbox
sudo pacman -S oblogout-manjaro manjaro-openbox-config manjaro-openbox-scripts manjaro-openbox-fonts matcha-gtk-theme


FluxBox

Fluxbox2.png


FluxBox is another popular Window Manager. It is particularly notable for providing some features not seen in Openbox, such as tabbing, which allows for windows to be grouped together. To install FluxBox, enter the command:

sudo pacman -S fluxbox
Optional: Install the newsfetcher and workspace pager for Fluxbox
sudo pacman -S fbnews fluxter
Optional: Install the Manjaro configuration, theming, and tools for Fluxbox
sudo pacman -S fbmenu-manjaro oblogout-manjaro artwork-fluxbox fluxboxtheme-manjaro


IceWM

Icewm2.jpg


IceWM is a Window Manager notable for perhaps being closer to a full desktop environment than Openbox or FluxBox. This includes providing a panel complete with menu, in addition to a workspace switcher. To install IceWM, enter the command:

sudo pacman -S icewm

To install a suite of tools and themes specifically for IceWM, enter the command:

sudo pacman -S icewm-utils icewm-themes


Tiling Window Managers

Tiling window managers - as the name would suggest - tile application windows; each will have their own place on the screen, just like conventional tiles do not overlap. However, unlike conventional tiling, these window managers are usually very flexible, and allow for a multitude of different tiling patterns to suit personal taste and preference. Where stacking window managers focus on using the mouse for navigation, tiling window managers focus on the utilisation of the keyboard instead. As such, they can be much faster to use.


Awesome

Awesome.png


Awesome is a popular tiling Window Manager, notable for using the Lua language for configuration. To install Awesome, enter the command:

sudo pacman -S awesome

To install some extra widgets for Awesome, enter the command:

sudo pacman -S vicious


i3

I3wm.png


i3 is arguably the most popular tiling window manager available, and notable for using a single, completely self-contained configuration file. To install i3, enter the command:

sudo pacman -S i3-wm

To install a status bar and screen-locker for i3, enter the command:

sudo pacman -S i3lock i3status