I am looking at the possibility of installing a GUI on my Ubuntu 11.04 Server. The reasons are many. What I am wondering is whether I should go GNOME or something like XFCE.

What are the differences?

I have heard XFCE is lighter than GNOME, yes?

Does XFCE come with all of the bloat that Ubuntu preload on the desktop version?

I am also assuming Unity is NOT for XFCE?

What do I lose, what do I gain?


If you must have a GUI on Ubuntu Server, I would endorse XFCE for that. It is considerably lighter than Gnome, and the main advantages of Gnome are things that would be irrelevant on most servers. XFCE can run Gnome panel if you want, but doesn't require it.

XFCE is a little trickier with dual head (please tell me you're not doing that on a server), and desktop effects aren't as polished, etc.

You are correct that Unity does not run in XFCE (that I know of).

In all, XFCE gives you ligher, faster desktop environment with the flexibility of adding most things in, at a cost of making those things less automagic if you do want to add them--everything that isn't basic needs to be manually installed and configured.

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  • dual head? As in dual monitors? – ianc1215 Jul 27 '11 at 6:16
  • I am running in a VM on my vSphere server. – ianc1215 Jul 27 '11 at 6:16
  • Yes: dual head as in having the desktop spread over dual monitors. – Bryan Agee Jul 27 '11 at 6:17
  • No dual monitors. – ianc1215 Jul 27 '11 at 6:21

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