Should Xfce or GNOME be the default desktop in Debian Jessie?

In today's open source roundup: Controversy surrounds the choice of Debian Jessie's default desktop. Plus: How to find the right desktop for your needs, and a Borderlands game is coming to Linux

Debian is the great granddaddy of Linux distributions and it remains a popular choice among Linux users. But there has been some recent controversy over whether or not the upcoming Debian Jessie should stick with GNOME as its default desktop versus moving to Xfce. This has caused some sharp debate in the Debian community as you might imagine, and the Oskuro blog has made a passionate argument in favor of GNOME.

According to Oskuro:

In short, we think defaulting to GNOME is the best option for the Debian release, and in contrast, shipping Xfce as the default desktop could mean delivering a desktop experience that has some incomplete or rough edges, and not on par with Debian quality standards for a stable release. We believe tasksel should again revert the change and be uploaded as soon as possible, in order to get people testing images with GNOME the sooner the better, with the freeze only two months away.

Some of our reasons are:


Downstream health

Upstream health









systemd embracing



More at Oskuro
GNOME or Xfce as default debian desktop
Hat tip: Reddit

Edit 1: The Click blog agrees that GNOME should be the default, but still loves Xfce.

Edit 2: The debate rages on Google+.

My own preference leans strongly toward Xfce rather than GNOME. It works very well, particularly for older computers. However, the article contains a long list of reasons (too long for me to include here so do click through to read through it) why GNOME should remain the default Debian desktop. I think it's a compelling argument though it remains to be seen if it will carry the day in Debian Jesse when it's finally released.

It's been quite a while since I last did a fresh install of Debian, but you can apparently choose the desktop you want to use during the install process. You need to go to the "Advanced Options" on the boot menu, then scroll down to "Alternative Desktop Environments." KDE, Xfce, and e17 are among the choices available in Debian.

It may be that this Xfce versus GNOME controversy is simply a tempest in a teapot. I doubt many users really care what the default desktop environment is in Debian since most Debian users probably know how to pick a different one that suits their needs.

Find the right Linux desktop environment for your needs has an article that examines a number of desktop environments and tries to match them up with the right kind of user.

According to

There are no hard and fast rules, tests to take, or wizards to walk you through to your final Linux desktop destination. For most people it’s about taste and features. But if you look at each desktop long enough, you discover there is a clear connection between desktop and end user. I will examine the following Linux desktops:

Ubuntu Unity






Deepin Desktop

More at

It's a good list, but MATE is a notable omission. If I had to pick one, I'd go with Xfce. It's not that the others are bad, they all have their advantages and disadvantages. But I've found that Xfce works very well for my habits and workflow, and I like the fact that it's a bit more petite in terms of system resources than some of the others.

I like how the article attempts to line up different kinds of users with each desktop environment. It's a different take on finding the right desktop than some other articles I've seen. But I think it works fairly well and it might be very useful for folks that are new to Linux and that haven't settled on a particular desktop yet.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel coming to Linux

IGN reports that Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is coming to Linux.

According to IGN:

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, set between Borderlands 1 and 2, starts when Handsome Jack crashes the Hyperion space station into the moon. Players work for Handsome Jack (Borderlands 2's big bad), getting the chance to watch his fall from grace.

While Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is headed to Linux, it seems unlikely we will see Linux ports for Borderlands 1 and 2. Earlier this year, Gearbox President Randy Pitchford told fans over Twitter not to get their hopes up.

More at IGN

It's great that Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel will be released for Linux, but it's a bit of a drag that Borderlands 1 and 2 might not make it. Oh well, I guess we can't have everything. A post in the reaction thread on Reddit explained the developer's reasoning behind not releasing the other two games:

"I actually asked Randy (CEO of Gearbox) about this.

He eventually said for us not to get our hopes up as the economic numbers just didn't add up enough for it to even break even. It would be a sunk cost for two games that don't really sell anymore because nearly everyone who wants BL1&2 already have them.

I think this is pretty understandable. Gearbox is a company; It exists to make money. They can't go around sinking money into projects that they know won't pay back enough to even break even."

What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments below.

The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of ITworld.

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