Confused with the available choices of Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce variants in Linux Mint? Let me help you with which Linux Mint version should you use.


I was a Gnome 2 user back in the day and then used KDE for a while. After some Linux-Desktop-Pause I installed Mint and used Cinnamon for a couple of yrs, so I’ve tested thru the bank. As I switched back to my beloved Debian I tried out the Gnome 3 UI in Buster for the first time. I find the Gnome 3 UI actually refreshing and different. I figured out that I was, after yrs of Linux usage, still trying to think of Linux Desktop in a way that it should be “Windows-like” in appearance. No need for that! People over at Gnome are trying new stuff and this is good! Cinnamon is a great DE, but Gnome 3 doesn’t deserve the bashing it gets.


these blog posts are always just the repeating well-known comparision talking points (xfce: light, other: not). just like hundred other blogs.

Are live boot screenshots and RAM usage all there is about these DEs?


i would say the target reader is people who haven’t read all the other hundred other blogs


Well, other differences usually go very deep into the details and are ultimately a matter of taste. It’s certainly not the case that all of these have a unique selling point, because well, they’re not products trying to sell themselves.

Having said that, these are the high-level differences as I see them:


  • Very Windows-like (aesthetics and keyboard shortcuts)
  • one polished workflow
  • covers relatively many exotic usage scenarios relatively well


  • relatively lightweight
  • one polished workflow


  • relatively lightweight
  • very modular and customizable

I wonder why they don’t have a LXDE flavor. I used ~2006 era core2duos with some gma950 and 2 gb of ram until a few years ago. The performance of Lubuntu was unparalleled.

On GNOME 3.x now, really settled into it. I have heard claims that KDE is more efficient on resources than Xfce. Is there any truth to this? If so what are the significant differences or why this is?


deleted by creator

The answer is always Xfce.


I honestly can’t use anything else.

Me either, and I’ve tried.


nobody is talking about fvwm in these days… :-(


I got tired of the broken theming experience and lack of wayland support any time soon on their roadmap.

I also found myself preferring apps that were built for GNOME anyway, so I ended up making a silly XFCE GNOME hybrid. All of my computers have decent graphics/ram and the resource usage of GNOME is overstated.

What broking theming experience? Xfce uses Gtk3 themes. They theme everything, even some Qt apps. If you’re downloading old Gtk2 themes they won’t work on Gnome apps or Qt apps though.

Also… Xfce was designed for X… it’s an X desktop environment. It’ll be 20 years befor Wayland is usable anyway.


XFCE Window Manager & GTK themes are different

Yes, you’re right. xfce wm themes will only affect the xfce wm though, not applications that use gnome. Gnome themes are determined by the Gtk theme


Also I don’t think it will be 20 years before Wayland is usable. I am using it right now on Manjaro Gnome and it works better than X.




I don’t like any DE. IMHO, DEs go against the KISS principle.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Linux is a family of open source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991 by Linus Torvalds. Linux is typically packaged in a Linux distribution (or distro for short).

Distributions include the Linux kernel and supporting system software and libraries, many of which are provided by the GNU Project. Many Linux distributions use the word “Linux” in their name, but the Free Software Foundation uses the name GNU/Linux to emphasize the importance of GNU software, causing some controversy.

Community icon by Alpár-Etele Méder, licensed under CC BY 3.0

  • 0 users online
  • 9 users / day
  • 33 users / week
  • 112 users / month
  • 410 users / 6 months
  • 3552 subscribers
  • 1051 Posts
  • Modlog