Unity and GNOME 3 are perhaps the two most well known desktop environments that ever came into existence in the world of Linux and open source. Both of them boast of tremendous functionality, crisp speed and yet they are very user-friendly. No wonder, more and more people use either for their everyday/professional tasks. However, the world of Linux doesn't let you live with those two alone but gives you alternatives that are at no less if not more.
-Designed with the goal to provide basic desktop functions and applications for daily needs as well as tools and documentation for developers to write stand-alone applications for the system, KDE is perhaps one of the most notable and familiar alternative to the said DEs. The DE has managed to hold on to its fort against time and still stands as an ever user-friendly environment that is beyond doubt one of the most visually attractive of all the Linux desktops out there.
-If GNOME is renowned for its simplicity, KDE is known to offer more options. Further, in case you were a Windows user earlier, switching over to KDE is like being at home all over again.
-Kubuntu, OpenSUSE, Mandriva and PCLinuxOS feature KDE by default.
-Based on the GTK+ 2 toolkit, Xfce aims to be fast and lightweight, while still being visually appealing and easy to use.
-With a configuration that is entirely mouse-driven, Xfce focuses on using minimal resources while offering quick speeds and efficiency.
-Did you know you can run Xfce in 40 MB of memory using Alpine Linux?
-Its popularity can be gauged by the fact that Linux founder Linus Torvalds uses it.
-The "Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment" is the leading DE for resource-constrained personal computers, quite the favorite if you like old school and not willing to give up on your old computer with the bare minimum hardware.
-With that said, LXDE is in no way an under-performer. In fact it is quite renowned to be fast and energy efficient at the same time.
-LXDE is the default desktop environment of Knoppix, Lubuntu and Raspbian, among others.
-Not as well-known as KDE and Xfce, Enlightenment still holds great potential to be a viable alternative.
-Primarily a compositing and stacking window manager for the X Window System, Enlightenment includes functions to provide a graphical shell. It can be used in conjunction with programs written for GNOME or KDE. However, when used together with the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL), it becomes an excellent DE to have.
-Serves as the basis for the Bodhi Linux distribution.
-Primarily designed to be a stacking window manager for the X Window System, Fluxbox is not as feature-laden as GNOME or KDE, but it can do wonders on low-spec computers.