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   Linux FAQ > 11. The X Window System
Question:  11.4. What Desktop Environments Run on Linux?

Linux with XFree86 supports the KDE, GNOME, and commercial CDE desktop environments, and extended window managers like WindowMaker. Each uses a different set of libraries and provides varying degrees of MS Windows-like look and feel.

Information on KDE is available from The KDE environment uses the Qt graphics libraries, available from The desktop uses its own window manager, kwm, and provides a MS Windows-like look and feel.

The GNOME home page is The environment uses the free GTK libraries, available from, and window managers like Enlightenment,, SawFish, There's also a Web page for GNOME installation and upgrade that functions much like Debian's apt-get utility with a friendly GUI front end. It's at: http://www.helixcode/com/desktop/.

The commercial CDE environment uses the Motif libraries and a variation of the Motif mwm window manager, dtwm, and provides a suite of desktop and session-management utilities. Several vendors have made the source code of Motif available and provided binary packages for Linux distributions. As a starting point, download and installation information is available at

A free version of Motif, called LessTiF, is available from

WindowMaker, is a window manager that has many desktop environment-like features. It provides support for GNUstep,, a clone of the commercial NeXTStep environment.

This FAQ is from Linux Frequently Asked Questions with Answers, maintained by Robert Kiesling

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