The Mandriva desktop environments
From Mandriva Community Wiki
A desktop environment is a set of software for operating a computer in a graphical way. It is composed of the environment itself (dashboards, icons, menus, file manager, etc.), software to configure the environment, and software for routine tasks (office software, CD burning, filing photos, playing videos and DVDs, accounting, games, and more...), to use your computer immediately after installation.
Mandriva Linux can handle multiple environments on the same machine, and the environments do not conflict with each other, so there are no additional difficulties with installing multiple environments. Installing a new desktop environment is very simple. The environment you'd like to use for each session can then be chosen from the login screen. Each user can select and use the environment they prefer. To change the desktop environment, please see Installing a desktop environment.
KDE Plasma Desktop (formerly K Desktop Environment) is one of the oldest desktop environments that exist. It was the first desktop environment to be integrated from the first version of the Mandriva distribution. This environment is intuitive and easy to learn, partly because it may have similarities with the Windows™ operating system, with its dashboard. It has, however, several differences that provide tremendous options and settings, leaving the choice to the user to do whatever he or she would like, without it becoming disoriented or disturbed. This is a very complete solution with lots of resources and functionalities. Version 4 is still quite young, but continues to improve, adding with each new version, more options to help the user to operate the computer. KPD includes gadgets, natively called Widgets, placed on the desktop. Each widget has a very different role. For example, it is possible to have a clock, calculator, or display of a folder directly on the desktop.
This environment can be used directly from a LiveCD available from the download page.
GNOME is a environment in Mandriva Linux that aims to create a complete user environment that is free and easy to use, while also providing a large number of tools and applications that are included with the environment. Unlike KDE, GNOME is distinguished by its willingness to display a clean and simple user interface, offering less options, but without limiting the user experience. GNOME is one of the oldest desktop environments and also one of the most popular. It evolves gradually with each new version and is viewed with KDE 3 as one of the most stable environments that exist. GNOME has a very large number of applications that fit well in this environment to complement and add additional features.
Xfce is a desktop environment that is in some points similar to GNOME. Its uniqueness lies in its vocation to be lighter than the main environments, without stifling the number of options and settings available. This environment allows you to run Mandriva Linux on an older system with fewer hardware resources, while retaining many options and also delivering many applications preinstalled on the system. The XFCE environment is expanding to new features from version to version and its popularity is growing day by day.
Xfce can be installed from the Software Manager from the Mandriva Linux repositories. A LiveCD provided by the community is also available.
Moblin is a new desktop environment originally designed by Intel and now under the wing of the Linux Foundation. Moblin is a light-weight environment designed for netbooks and small screen sizes. Available in version 2 in Mandriva, it contains several applications including a web browser (using the Gecko rendering engine, similar to the one built in Firefox) allows easy access to the usual programs installed on the system (in addition to multimedia programs provided with Moblin) and allows quick access to social networks (Twitter and Last.fm). It also has several unique functionalities.
Sugar is an unusual desktop environment compared to what we ordinarily use under Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X or other GNU/Linux systems : it is a collaborative project (OLPC - One Laptop per Child) aiming at offering to each child in the world the same opportunities for an education of quality, through a fun and completely redesigned learning environment.
Sugar is designed as a tool for children to learn interactively. Thus, one of the first things the child does not see is the hard disk or trash — instead, he sees the other children in the "neighbourhood". The programs and applications are called "Activities", and many of them allow collaborative work between the children all directly connected via Wi-Fi, or via a Jabber network.
LXDE is a very young desktop environment which aims to be both simple to handle, and very light. Its main advantage, and uniqueness, is that it consumes very little in the way of resources, making it very popular on old computers or computers with few resources. This environment with the embedded does not confuse users accustomed to Windows ™ interfaces. However, it is delivered with few tools and little software. Most office software, internet and multimedia will be installed separately. With each new version, it stabilizes and offers some new features, while its community grows steadily. This environment is particularly popular on computers with screens very small as the netBook.
This is the version prior to KDE 4. The latest and final version of KDE 3 is version 3.5.10. Still available and still widely used today is the environment that offers more software and settings for the environment. Over the years it has expanded, becoming a stable, experienced, reliable and evolved desktop environment. It's simple, intuitive and easy to learn, it is seen today with its successor as a major, comprehensive and quality desktop environment, although it is gradually replaced by the general public distributions by KDE 4.
Enlightenment (or DR17 or E17) is a old project that was from long before and a simple window manager, which ultimately evolved into a complete environment. It is intended to be light without sacrificing aesthetics. It offers options for extensive customization. Although less stable than its competitors, E17 evolves steadily, stabilizing and attracting even more users. Its very light weight enables it to be used often on very old machines, without an Interface provided. It has its own connection manager: Entrance.
Equinox (or EDS) is a very light-weight desktop environment, designed to be fast and simple. It is one of the environments provided by Mandriva which consumes fewer resources. Its appearance is very similar to older versions of Windows ™ Type Win9x, pre-Windows XP ™. In addition, the entire environment has a very strong resemblance to the Windows ™ operating system. Although this environment is simplistic and light, it is customizable. We can manage and display themes, change the wallpaper, set the time, search for files, and use a wizard to install packages. It is quite suitable for slower and older machines with very little resources.