One of our favourite things about working with Linux is its support for a variety of desktop environments. This allows desktop users to work with a desktop environment that suits their computing needs the best.

A desktop environment is a collection of different user and system programs running on top of an operating system. Together they share a common GUI (Graphical User Interface), which is also known as a graphical shell.

In this article, we will show you how to install 5 of the most popular graphical environments for Linux servers.

Note: These commands assume that you have Ubuntu 16.04 LTS minimal server installed. 
 

1. Cinnamon 

Cinnamon is a graphical environment available to Ubuntu. The Cinnamon spices repository has hundreds of add-ons you can install to spice up your desktop environment, including themes, applets, and desklets. Cinnamon is regarded as an easy-to-use desktop environment, especially for people coming over from Windows. We can easily install it with the following commands.

First, make sure that ubuntu-session is installed by running:  

If it’s not installed, run:  

Then add the Cinnamon repository: 

Then update and install Cinnamon desktop with these commands: 

 

2. KDE Plasma 5 

KDE Plasma 5 is a popular, highly-customizable desktop environment. It offers Linux desktop users total control over their desktop. To install KDE we follow the same format. 

First, make sure that ubuntu-session is installed by running:  

If it’s not installed, run:  

Then add the KDE repository:

Then update and install KDE desktop with these commands: 

 

3. MATE Desktop 

MATE Desktop is an intuitive desktop environment known for its desirable OSX type look. To install MATE, we follow the same format.

First, make sure that ubuntu-session is installed by running:  

If it’s not installed, run:  

Then add the MATE repository: 

Then update and install MATE desktop with these commands: 

 

4. Unity Desktop 

Unity Desktop is a default Ubuntu desktop and a graphical desktop shell for GNOME desktop environment. It aims to create a consistent and classic interface for users to enjoy.

First, make sure that ubuntu-session is installed by running:  

If it’s not installed, run:  

Then update and install Unity Desktop with these commands: 

 

5. XFCE Desktop 

XFCE Desktop is a modern, open-source, lightweight desktop environment for Linux and Unix-like systems. It is known for its speed and user-friendliness.

First, make sure that ubuntu-session is installed by running:  

If it’s not installed, run:  

Then update and install XFCE desktop with the commands: 

Which Linux desktop environment is your favourite? Let us know if we are missing any exciting desktop environments in the comments below!

Photo by Ales Nesetril on Unsplash