Desktop environment

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This article provides a list of desktop environments available in Gentoo.

A desktop environment is a complete ecosystem of software and resources providing a homogeneous graphical user experience. Generally based on specific graphical widgets, configuration system, root window with desktop background, taskbar with window list and menu, icons, window manager etc. It provides a coherent visual metaphor for a user to interact with the computer.

A desktop environment can be a great convenience to many users, though a custom graphical environment can be assembled if preferred, i.e. Xorg could be used with a window manager and select desktop utilities. Gentoo's flexibility means that many desktop environments are available, and more than one can generally be installed in parallel. Gentoo can of course be used exclusively in text mode, as a server platform for example.

Gentoo does not have separate releases or "flavors" for different desktop environments, as some other distributions do - a desktop environment is simply installed on the base system.

Available software

Name Package Description
Budgie gnome-extra/budgie-meta[1] The flagship desktop of the Solus Project, focuses on simplicity and elegance and is tightly integrated with the GNOME 3 stack.
Cinnamon gnome-extra/cinnamon GNOME 3 fork with a traditional Windows-like interface.
Deepin Desktop Environment dde-base/dde-meta[2] Elegant, easy to use and reliable domestic desktop environment.
Enlightenment x11-wm/enlightenment Eye-candy, compositing and stacking window manager that is released under the permissive BSD License.
FVWM-Crystal x11-themes/fvwm-crystal Easy to use, powerful and pretty desktop environment.
GNOME gnome-base/gnome One of the most widely-used desktop environments for Linux. A lighter alternative, gnome-base/gnome-light, is also available. Quite a few forks of GNOME have been created, including Cinnamon (early GNOME 3) and MATE (late GNOME 2).
KDE Plasma kde-plasma/plasma-meta Based on Qt5 and KDE Frameworks 5. This is the desktop environment only. A wide range of related applications are available separately with kde-apps/kde-apps-meta.
LXDE lxde-base/lxde-meta Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment.
LXQt lxqt-base/lxqt-meta Lightweight desktop environment based on the Qt toolkit.
Lumina x11-wm/lumina Lightweight desktop environment, free of dbus and *kit.
MATE mate-base/mate Fork of the GNOME 2 desktop environment.
Pantheon pantheon-base/pantheon[3] New lightweight, modular desktop environment primarily written in Vala.
TDE trinity-base/tdebase-meta[4] Fork of KDE 3.5.
Xfce xfce-base/xfce4-meta Fully featured lightweight desktop environment.

See also

  • Display manager — presents the user with a graphical login screen to start a GUI session, either X or Wayland.
  • Window manager — manages the creation, manipulation, and destruction of on-screen windows and window decorations in Xorg.


  1. Available in the SarahMiaOverlay ebuild repository.
  2. Available in the deepin ebuild repository.
  3. Available in the elementary repository.
  4. Available in the trinity ebuild repository.