XFCE with LightDM vs XFCE with XFWM?


I’m on a Raspberry Pi 4. What are the advantages/disadvantages of running XFCE on top of LightDM (the default) vs. XFWM (also installed by default, but not turned on)?

Why would I want to choose one over the other?

Um, you’re asking about the difference between apples and oranges.

  • lightdm is a display manager, i.e. the login screen, which normally also allows you to choose a different desktop environment (if installed), and even to connect to a remote machine (in some cases).

  • xfwm is a compositing window manager, which is what provides you with window borders and their buttons, and which allows you to move, resize and close windows.


Thanks for your reply. I thought I had these straight in my head, but I might still be confused.

Previously, I was running Xorg window server in headless mode via the xf86-dummy-driver, with TigerVNC for remote desktop access, with LightDM enabled and on, with XFCE on top of LightDM.

What does XFWM replace in that stack? Or does it go on top of XFCE to provide additional UI/UX features?

Nothing. It is already part of it.

On top of XFCE is not correct. XFWM is XFCE, or more precise XFWM is the default Window Manager of XFCE. There is not one XFCE, it is a collection of programs and the default Window Manger is called XFWM.
XFWM can be replaced if you want to. A common example is the replacement of XFWM with i3wm.

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Given the way the packages are seprately listed during updates, I had assumed they were separate systems somehow. I appreciate the clarification.

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