Window Managers: Graphical User Interfaces for GNU / Linux

Window Managers: Graphical User Interfaces for GNU / Linux

Window Managers: Graphical User Interfaces for GNU / Linux

Since the beginning of GNU / Linux, the use and diversity of Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) available has been growing. And at the same time, some competition has also grown among users, new and experienced, about which is the best among the many existing options.

However, the current options available from GUI for GNU / Linux, That is, the Window Managers (Windows Managers - WM, in English) most popular or well-known, they usually come integrated within the also well-known and complete Desktop Environments (Desktop Environments - DE, in English) while many others, just as good, but perhaps less known or used, usually come independently of a Desktop Environment specific.

Window Managers: Introduction

Let us remember that, between a Desktop Environment and a Window Manager there are very clear differences when talking about a GNU / Linux Operating System.

First, it is worth noting the existence of X Window System (X Windows, in English), which It is considered the base that allows drawing graphic elements on the screen. As, X Windows provides the support that allows the movement of the windows, the interactions with the keyboard and the mouse, and draws the windows. And all this is necessary for any graphic desktop.

With this in mind, we can better understand that it is a Window manager and a Desktop Environment.

Window manager

It is the piece of the puzzle that controls the placement and appearance of the windows. And that requires X Windows to function but not from a Desktop Environment, of obligatory form. And according to ArchLinux Official Wiki, in its section dedicated to «Windows Managers«, These are divided into 3 types, which are the following:

  • Stacking: Those that mimic the appearances and functionalities of Windows and OS X, therefore, manage windows like pieces of paper on a desktop, which can be stacked on top of each other.
  • Tiling: Those of the "mosaic" type where the windows do not overlap, and where there is usually a very extensive use of keyboard shortcuts, and less dependence on the use of the mouse is obtained.
  • Dynamics: Those that allow you to dynamically alternate the design of the windows between mosaics or floating.

Desktop environment

It is an element or system much more integrated than a Window Manager. And therefore requires both X Windows like a Window Manager, to work. Which is why most usually include their own and / or make use of one or more independent WMs to function optimally.

In addition, it is important to note that a Desktop Environment generally includes a set of applications that are tightly integrated so that all applications know each other, such as, an application of type panel (taskbar) that facilitates certain operations such as placing small elements (widgets) for quick action or information to improve the user experience.

In case, you want to know more about the Desktop Environments, we recommend exploring our following previous available entries:

Window Managers: Content

Window Managers versus Desktop Environments

Pertaining to a specific Desktop Environment

  1. Metacity: From GNOME
  2. Mother: From GNOME Shell
  3. KWin: From KDE and KDE Plasma
  4. XFWM: From XFCE
  5. Muffin: From Cinnamon
  6. Marco: Matte
  7. DeepinWM: From Deepin
  8. Gala: From Pantheon
  9. BudgieWM: From Budgie
  10. UKWM: From UKUI

Independent of a specific Desktop Environment

  1. 2BWM:
  2. 9WM:
  3. AEWM:
  4. Afterstep:
  5. Awesome WM:
  6. BerryWM:
  7. Blackbox:
  8. BSPWM:
  9. Byobu:
  10. Compiz:
  11. CWM:
  12. DWM:
  13. Enlightenment:
  14. EvilWM:
  15. EXWM:
  16. Fluxbox:
  17. FLWM:
  18. FVWM:
  19. Haze:
  20. Herbstluftwm:
  21. I3WM:
  22. IceWM:
  23. Ion:
  24. JWM:
  25. MatchBox:
  26. Metisse:
  27. Musca:
  28. MWM:
  29. OpenBox:
  30. Pekwm:
  31. PlayWM:
  32. Qtile:
  33. Ratpoison:
  34. Sawfish:
  35. Spectrwm:
  36. Steamcompmgr:
  37. StumpWM:
  38. Sugar:
  39. SwayWM:
  40. TWM:
  41. UltimateWM:
  42. VTWM:
  43. Wayland:
  44. Wingo:
  45. WM2:
  46. WMFS:
  47. WMX:
  48. Window Maker:
  49. WindowLab:
  50. Xmonad:

Generic image for article conclusions


We hope this "useful little post" on «Gestores de Ventanas», existing used inside or outside a «Entorno de Escritorio», that is, dependent or independent of one of these, is of great interest and utility, for the entire «Comunidad de Software Libre y Código Abierto» and of great contribution to the diffusion of the wonderful, gigantic and growing ecosystem of applications of «GNU/Linux».

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  1.   Juvenal Salinas Maldonado said

    Interesting information. I had heard of some window managers but the list you provide is truly impressive. Thanks a lot.

    1.    Linux Post Install said

      Greetings, Juvenal. Thanks for your comment. We are glad that you liked the information and that it was useful.

  2.   Jonathan System Engineer said

    mate is a good desktop environment, I have found it incredible for both my old laptop and my desktop pc, in my old laptop I used normal ubuntu and it consumed 6-7% of the processor, while in ubuntu mate it consumed 1-2% The processor consumed less, in my desktop pc Ubuntu normal consumed 2-3% of the processor, while in Ubuntu mate it consumed 0.5-1% of the processor, in a few words Ubuntu with the environment mate consumed less cpu so much in my old laptop 64 bit 2012 like my ryze 8 desktop pc.

    1.    Bryan Vicente Urquiza said

      You are right, the consumption is low and it opens the applications quickly, I am using it for a week and I hope it continues like this

  3.   Elizabeth montana said

    I'm excited about mate, even though it doesn't have as much customization as other environments, it does offer me what I need, some basic simple customization, but in exchange for a good speed when opening applications, in addition to having a low processor consumption and ram memory, although in ram memory I do not worry much about having 8gb of ram, but its low processor consumption left me in love, 0.5% constant at rest, I have tried other environments and they reach 3-4% like gnome shell and kde plasma reached 2-3% while mate is lower than 0.5% WOWOWOWOWOWOW, and I have been testing it for more than 8 months on my main desktop pc and it has never given me fluency problems, I watch videos on YouTube and it is fantastic I do not know It is all fluid as it should be, something that stuck in gnome and the same for kde plasma.

  4.   Mario trivia said

    Mate is fast I never thought that it would change my environment with a basic appearance, and I did it because of how fast it proves to be, I open google chrome and it opens in 1 second too fast, the same for several little programs that I use for my development.

  5.   Jean Carlos Granda said

    MATE DESKTOP ENVIRONMENT is impressive, everything is stable and I have no problems, it is also a quick click and your application is already open, for those who have not tried it, do it, it will be worth it.

  6.   Jean Carlos Granda said

    MATE DESKTOP ENVIRONMENT is impressive, everything is stable and I have no problems, it is also a quick click and your application is already open, for those who have not tried it, do it, it will be worth it.

  7.   Francisco diaz said

    I like the green color that the environment has hehe for being inspired by a herb, I like this environment I have it from my ryzen 7 desktop pc for 3 years and believe me that it is very fast, maintaining a low consumption of its cpu, I had problems with other environments, but I'm glad I had this as the main one, by the way I used ubuntu since 2013 and I use ubuntu mate since 2018 as the main one.

  8.   Steven Carrion said

    I have been using a fedora with the SPING DE MATE, and although at first I had problems, then it was solved and so far I am doing excellent, this environment is too fast.

  9.   abraham vizcarra said

    I keep using it for 7 months and so far it gives me good results for what I need.

  10.   Alejandro Rodriguez said

    leave kde plasma for this environment, I use it in my debian and I do not ask for more.

  11.   leonardo garcia said

    I'm going to install ubuntu mate to see if it's good.

  12.   Eduardo Medina said

    To update the system if you have a mate ubuntu, go and look for "Software update" there if you get updates give it install and when you have finished you must reboot the system, to apply the changes.