View Full Version : [all variants] DE or WM?

March 9th, 2009, 01:38 PM
What is the difference between a Desktop Environment, and a Window Manager?
I want to play with various DE's/WM's. Is this fairly simple to do, without losing my original KDE,which is what I am used to?


March 9th, 2009, 02:19 PM
See here


March 9th, 2009, 03:03 PM
Hmmn, bit of a blurry line there imho. Basically its about how integrated the system is. A straight wm does what it says on the tin, it manages windows, nothing more nothing less. The DE's tend to try to make everything a more cohesive experience, so that apps are more consistent (at least if coded for that de) and things like drag and drop are better supported, little applets for configuring stuff.

The line is extremely fuzzy and a lot of functionality in a DE can be added piecemeal to various WM's after the fact.

Hope that helps

P.S. my knowledge on this is also a bit fuzzy so please if anyone else has a clearer distinction of the two please chime in :)

March 9th, 2009, 03:14 PM
Desktop environment is:

Gnome, KDE, XFCE (Manages the whole desktop)

Window Manager is:

Metacity, Emerald (Manages window decorations)

March 9th, 2009, 03:20 PM
Emerald isn't actually a window manager, it (as you said) manages window decorations.

There are lots more than just metacity though, that is just gnomes default WM, in the same way the kwin is kde's default. There's compiz, openbox, jwm, and many more. StumbleUpon's reply was an excellent source if you want to see what is available.