Which desktop environment should I try?

Hello, I want to try Manjaro. One of my request is to be able easily to create shortcuts to files and folders on the Desktop. For now, I work with Ubuntu Unity 24.04. So maybe an environment that looks a bit the same.

I also would enjoy to tweak colors and sizes.

What would be your advice to a Manjrao-Newbie?
Thanks in advance.

Don’t use Gnome or Tiling Window managers, that’s it.


Topic title edited to reflect that the OP wants to know about desktop environments, not Linux distros.

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My advice is to try KDE, as it is a great Desktop Environment anyone who has used a computer before will get very comfortable with pretty quickly.

XFCE is OKish but it is less user friendly I find, and kinda looks old.

GNOME is atrocious, unless you like the feeling a mobile phone interface gives you.


All of the above screams “KDE Plasma!” :stuck_out_tongue:

No, seriously, Plasma is the most flexible of all desktop environments, and also the most user-friendly one.

Ubuntu’s Unity was based upon GNOME but offered some things that GNOME itself does not (or perhaps no longer) support(s), and it’s a pretty locked-down environment — not a lot of options for customization there.

Xfce is a tried-and-trusted environment, but it unfortunately uses the gtk widget toolkit — which is also used by GNOME — and considering that gtk is developed by the same people as who develop GNOME, sooner or later the Xfce developers are going to have to either accept the changes in the latest gtk libraries, fork the code and continue developing it themselves, or switch to something else, like qt, which is what Plasma is based upon.

Either way, why not make it easy on yourself and try each of the three official Manjaro editions?

If you have a decent USB stick lying around, put Ventoy on it, download each of the three official Manjaro editions, drag-and-drop them to the Ventoy partition on the stick — no need to “burn” them in the traditional manner — and then try them one by one in live mode.

Ventoy will present you with a menu at boot time, and it will boot as many ISOs as your USB stick will hold. :point_down:


Xfce is like the best start.

It has a very conservative update frequency - in contrast with Gnome and Plasma which may pose unexpected issues on syncs.

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Yes, it still looks exactly the same today as when :t_rex: roamed the :earth_africa::stuck_out_tongue:



I’d also suggest KDE based on your requirements. GNOME doesn’t support desktop icons by default, you need a third-party extension to enable it, and that tells you all you need to know about GNOME developers opinion of that feature.

I started with Xfce when I first installed Manjaro 2.5 years ago. I tried to like it, I really did, but a week later I wiped my system and re-installed with KDE :stuck_out_tongue:


That is one of the reason desktop recommendations are usually frowned upon.

It is a personal choice and what work for one may not work for another.

That is exactly why I think Xfce is the better choice - entry level wise.

If one is entry level - as I feel the OP is - having a somewhat stable enviroenment which does not break on subsequent updates - and Xfce does fit that bill.

Plasma does not - generally speaking - especially if you begin customizing the system - with Plasma you get lost - and you may get horribile issues due to your choice of a suddenly unmainteained theme or widget.

It took me two decades to surrender to KDE - I started at - I don’t know KDE 2 perhaps late 90’es or early 20* I don’t really remember.

What I do remember is that is was SuSE and KDE was horrible because the cross framework was non-existing and getting the system themed consistenly - it was a royal … something.

I use Plasma 6 today and that journey started with a major Gnome issue - leading me to openbox - which I used for years - even maintaining the then Manjaro Openbox edition.

Experiements with adding kwin to lxqt - eventually lead me to using Plasma - but that is another story.


I would recommend plasma, it’s simply great and most versatile DE out there, even though OP’s requirements can probably be fulfilled by all the common ones.

Jumping in now the possible point when things break comes in a decade with plasma7. Though i never had plasma5 or update to 6 break anything.

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For sure - one of the 3 officially supported editions - xfce, gnome or plasma.
As said above - xfce is dull but stable, which makes it beginner friendly. Will not break - there is not much to break (i use it for that reason)
Gnome is a bit like ios - polished…but like it or leave it.
Plasma is the most fancy, customizable, progressive, bla-bla…when it works. If you choose not to customize it so that it breaks on the first update (because you are a beginner and might be not able to fix it yourself), it might be the best choice.
Note that gnome and plasma had recently major updates, so it you start now you can expect stability and learn them till the next major update happens and you have to manually fix it.

Mucho typos there, amigo (:stuck_out_tongue:), although a good reader will of course understand what you’re saying. :wink:

However, first of al, I don’t think the OP would be an absolute beginner, because they are already running Ubuntu. But that said, any Ubuntu with the Unity desktop is bound to be an already very old one, because Ubuntu has already transitioned to GNOME proper many years ago. And for that reason, I will post my little essay here for the OP’s edification. :point_down:

With the above guidelines in mind, I will then also add that in most cases, paying attention to the forum — and especially the Announcements threads — wins more than half the battle if and when problems do occur. And the very fact that we’re seeing so many problems occurring is — indeed — the consequence of people not monitoring the forum, not reading the Announcements threads, and not using the forum’s search function, which then leads to dozens of different threads from dozens of different people that are all about the same problem.

Lastly, even though I have suffered a few hiccups with Plasma myself — and most notably, the transition from the fairly stable 5.24 to the less-than-stable 5.25 and 5.26 releases, with 5.27 returning to the reliability that 5.24 had brought along — I myself have had no real problems upgrading from Plasma 5.27 to the completely rewritten Plasma 6.0.

Yes, it still has quite a few bugs — which is to be expected from a .0.x release — but so far it is proving quite stable and — above all — fully on par with the functionality offered by its predecessor. As the matter of fact, I have found that it already offers even more functionality, with undoubtedly more to come with future updates.



I would disagree, as a very experienced user, the time I had to go on XFCE for whatever reason I didn’t find my way around it when in Plasma you could just type it and find it (settings specifically). Customization and things like that too were sub-par.

I’m not fanboying, I genuinely think it is accurate to say KDE is the best overall to start with, especially when a user comes from Windows.

I could agree with that, KDE fast development and Manjaro being a Rolling Release distro, you’ll encounter more “breakage” on KDE, but to be fair, these “breakage” are usually rare and very easy to solve.


I don’t want to be right. As I said - these topics usually get out of hand because users has different experiences.

My comments are merely a take at the OP’s initial viewpoint.

Whether Xfce is the better choice compared to Plasma :man_shrugging: the whole point of my comments is to establish

there is no such thing as the best …

It relies on other users expeirence and will never be valid for the user asking the question until that user conducts their own tests.

That is one of the reasons why these topics is frowned upon.



Just for the record:
that works in Xfce4 as well - provided you use the Whiskermenu instead of the “normal” one,
but that is the default in the Manjaro editions and in most recent distributions as well.

I use this all the time, I rarely ever actually use the “start” menu, “recently used” in most cases…

I see you too are one of those people who grew up on Microsoft Windows… :stuck_out_tongue:

The only UNIX desktop environment — well, actually, a window manager — that had a “Start” menu was fvwm95, as well as IceWM when using the Windows 95 theme. :wink:

No - quite the contrary.
I just used the term because almost everyone knows what it refers to in both worlds.

I know and have used both of the WM’s you mentioned.
I don’t recall the name to be fvwm95 - but just fvwm … but: quite some time has passed since then

a quote from star wars, I believe: “You assume too much.” :nerd_face:

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I’m not sure on the exact time frame, but I think it was a short-lived intended successor to fvwm2. :thinking:

It may have been fvwm2 - can’t remember.
It must have been the first “good” one, apart from the default thing with the greenish colored menus whose name I forgot.
~ 98 - started with Debian back then and practically never used windows - not on my personal devices

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mwm perhaps? The Motif Window Manager? :thinking: