Gnome vs Xfce

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Both are Desktop Environments for the X Window System with their own Window Managers. Both are highly customizable (GTK).

Xfce is described as "[…]a lightweight desktop environment for various *NIX systems. Designed for productivity, it loads and executes applications fast, while conserving system resources."[1] Xfce also strongly supports the unix-thought of highly transparent software.

Gnome focuses on usability and support.


  • Due to Xfce's low resource usage, it also runs on computers with slow graphic cards or with generic graphic card drivers (mesa) only.
  • On Xfce, having no Hardware-Acceleration in use, windows move much faster when dragged around than on Gnome.


  • Xfce equally supports KDE-, Qt-, GTK- and Xfce-Applications. Xfce even supports Gnome Applets (xfapplet-plugin)
  • Gnome Desktop's office software is connected. E.g., you can see fixed dates in the Gnome Calendar (Clock) you typed into Gnome's office solution named Evolution before.

Tricks & Tipps[edit]


  • Use Xfce's window manager xfwm4 instead of Gnome's Metacity for faster window movement on Gnome with no hardware acceleration.


  • Xubuntu distributes a Xfce-Environment similar to Ubuntu (Gnome), so no further setups are needed.