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Best Linux Desktops for Business

  • Best Linux Desktops for Business

    Best Linux Desktops for Business
    These Linux desktops can offer a cost effective option for businesses.
  • KDE desktop environment

    KDE desktop environment

    Without question, KDE Plasma provides an outstanding enterprise friendly desktop environment. Once you decide on the distro, the next step should be looking into KDE. This desktop offers a traditional menu structure and enterprise friendly applications specifically designed for KDE users (Kontact, Koffice, etc).

    Even though KDE might seem like any typical desktop environment, the truth is that it has one powerful feature not found elsewhere. While most desktops offer virtual desktops, KDE goes one step further and offers users activities. KDE activities allow you to set up customized workspaces designed for individual tasks. For example, you might have one activity for writing, printing and scanning, another activity for development and coding, etc.

    Each activity can have its own wallpaper, icon layout, plasma widgets and so forth. This level of customization helps users to stay focused on the task at hand without finding themselves diviverting over to other things like browsing the web or being sucked into a company instant messenger chat.

    For individual workstations that serve multiple duties, using KDE makes a lot of sense. The idea of activities for individual work duties is very useful in situations where a single user is performing multiple tasks throughout the day.

  • MATE desktop environment

    MATE desktop environment

    For anyone who wants to bring back the simplicity and logic of the GNOME 2 desktop experience, then MATE may be the perfect fit. While some might point out that MATE is a lightweight desktop, this isn't really it's main focus. In truth, it's about providing a reliable, traditional desktop environment that allows users to get their work done effectively.

    One of the greatest benefits of MATE is that it comes with fantastic, distraction-free applications for file browsing, image viewing and text editing. Just like GNOME 2, MATE comes with all the important applets you might expect plus the ability to add more for your panel customization needs. MATE is a great desktop for anyone looking to bring a basic desktop without a ton of bells and whistles to an enterprise workstation. MATE provides enough control to make needed customizations without editing conf files, yet it also doesn't needlessly chew through workstation resources (RAM, CPU, etc).

    With regard to settings, nearly anything you need is available in the MATE desktop. Input and screen customization, menu changes/tweaking, multiple menu layouts -- all available by default.

  • XFCE desktop environment

    XFCE desktop environment

    For years, my desktop of choice was XFCE. There were a few reasons for this. First and foremost, it's lightweight enough to run on the most modest of hardware. Ten your old PC with minimal RAM? No problem, XFCE is perfect for you needs.

    On the surface, XFCE feels a little bit like MATE. But there are some differences to be aware of. First of all, the panel and its applets differ from other desktop environments. Also, the file manager is a bit different in appearance and layout. The real area to be mindful of is how things are laid out in the menu launcher.

    I highly recommend using XFCE for any desktop workstation where resources are a consideration or when you need to maximize the CPU power for other tasks besides merely rendering a desktop environment. This is the area where XFCE shines - it's lightweight and fast, yet it's not lacking in easy customization.

  • Cinnamon desktop environment

    Cinnamon desktop environment
    There are some desktop environments that I believe are best suited to be used with the original distro they were introduced with. The Cinnamon desktop qualifies under this point of view. I recommend using Cinnamon on desktops that are using an Ubuntu base. Because Cinnamon was initially built for Linux Mint, this distro would be a logical option as well. That said, please feel free to use Cinnamon on any distro that has demonstrated its abilities to run it successfully. Fedora for example, runs Cinnamon nicely.

    Cinnamon provides a balance of being attractive to look at while also providing a traditional menu and panel layout most users will gravitate to easily. Cinnamon's tight desktop integration and controls remind some users of KDE, with a touch of a Gtk feel to it. While it's not as configurable as KDE's plasma desktop, it's pretty close.

    Another highlight with Cinnamon is its speed. Most people who try Cinnamon for the first time are shocked at how fast it is. Bundle this with a great file manager called Nemo and Cinnamon will surprise you with its stability. Appearance, integration and a stable experience is what you can expect from using the Cinnamon desktop.

  • GNOME desktop environment

    GNOME desktop environment

    Despite my own misgivings with the modern look to the GNOME desktop, there's no question that it's powerful and stays out of your way. There's also no question that GNOME pushes its design principles forward and for anyone looking for a modern feeling desktop, you'll be happy here.

    Like Cinnamon, GNOME aims to provide its users with a tightly integrated desktop experience. Like all the desktops mentioned in this article, GNOME comes with its own rich selection of applications for file browsing, editing text, images and more.

    What I think makes GNOME powerful is how many great applications it has that present a natural feel with their integration. Applications for messaging, note taking, email, webcam, podcasts and even music. These apps like those found with KDE Plasma, feel natural to use and have a solid level of functionality.

    GNOME is best for those users looking for a modern interface, who prefer one that only makes itself visible when needed. Otherwise, GNOME is best for those who want their exclusive focus on the work at hand. I see a lot of creative users interested in GNOME whereas other desktops are better suited for those who want to minimize desktop bloat.

  • Choosing the right desktop environment

    Choosing the right desktop environment

    Does all of this seem overwhelming? Allow me to point out the following: consider going with a standard, traditional menu desktop environment for most of your company's workstations. Once you choose one, standardize all your workstations with this desktop.

    The reason I suggest taking this approach is because you're empowering your co-workers with a familiar, standardized desktop approach. This prevents the confusion of jumping from one desktop experience over to another with each workstation. What do you think? Are there desktop environments you'd like to see listed here? Hit the comments, tell me about them.

  • 1 of

Best Linux Desktops for Business

  • 1 of
  • Best Linux Desktops for Business

    Best Linux Desktops for Business

    These Linux desktops can offer a cost effective option for businesses.
  • KDE desktop environment

    KDE desktop environment

    Without question, KDE Plasma provides an outstanding enterprise friendly desktop environment. Once you decide on the distro, the next step should be looking into KDE. This desktop offers a traditional menu structure and enterprise friendly applications specifically designed for KDE users (Kontact, Koffice, etc).

    Even though KDE might seem like any typical desktop environment, the truth is that it has one powerful feature not found elsewhere. While most desktops offer virtual desktops, KDE goes one step further and offers users activities. KDE activities allow you to set up customized workspaces designed for individual tasks. For example, you might have one activity for writing, printing and scanning, another activity for development and coding, etc.

    Each activity can have its own wallpaper, icon layout, plasma widgets and so forth. This level of customization helps users to stay focused on the task at hand without finding themselves diviverting over to other things like browsing the web or being sucked into a company instant messenger chat.

    For individual workstations that serve multiple duties, using KDE makes a lot of sense. The idea of activities for individual work duties is very useful in situations where a single user is performing multiple tasks throughout the day.

  • MATE desktop environment

    MATE desktop environment

    For anyone who wants to bring back the simplicity and logic of the GNOME 2 desktop experience, then MATE may be the perfect fit. While some might point out that MATE is a lightweight desktop, this isn't really it's main focus. In truth, it's about providing a reliable, traditional desktop environment that allows users to get their work done effectively.

    One of the greatest benefits of MATE is that it comes with fantastic, distraction-free applications for file browsing, image viewing and text editing. Just like GNOME 2, MATE comes with all the important applets you might expect plus the ability to add more for your panel customization needs. MATE is a great desktop for anyone looking to bring a basic desktop without a ton of bells and whistles to an enterprise workstation. MATE provides enough control to make needed customizations without editing conf files, yet it also doesn't needlessly chew through workstation resources (RAM, CPU, etc).

    With regard to settings, nearly anything you need is available in the MATE desktop. Input and screen customization, menu changes/tweaking, multiple menu layouts -- all available by default.

  • XFCE desktop environment

    XFCE desktop environment

    For years, my desktop of choice was XFCE. There were a few reasons for this. First and foremost, it's lightweight enough to run on the most modest of hardware. Ten your old PC with minimal RAM? No problem, XFCE is perfect for you needs.

    On the surface, XFCE feels a little bit like MATE. But there are some differences to be aware of. First of all, the panel and its applets differ from other desktop environments. Also, the file manager is a bit different in appearance and layout. The real area to be mindful of is how things are laid out in the menu launcher.

    I highly recommend using XFCE for any desktop workstation where resources are a consideration or when you need to maximize the CPU power for other tasks besides merely rendering a desktop environment. This is the area where XFCE shines - it's lightweight and fast, yet it's not lacking in easy customization.

  • Cinnamon desktop environment

    Cinnamon desktop environment

    There are some desktop environments that I believe are best suited to be used with the original distro they were introduced with. The Cinnamon desktop qualifies under this point of view. I recommend using Cinnamon on desktops that are using an Ubuntu base. Because Cinnamon was initially built for Linux Mint, this distro would be a logical option as well. That said, please feel free to use Cinnamon on any distro that has demonstrated its abilities to run it successfully. Fedora for example, runs Cinnamon nicely.

    Cinnamon provides a balance of being attractive to look at while also providing a traditional menu and panel layout most users will gravitate to easily. Cinnamon's tight desktop integration and controls remind some users of KDE, with a touch of a Gtk feel to it. While it's not as configurable as KDE's plasma desktop, it's pretty close.

    Another highlight with Cinnamon is its speed. Most people who try Cinnamon for the first time are shocked at how fast it is. Bundle this with a great file manager called Nemo and Cinnamon will surprise you with its stability. Appearance, integration and a stable experience is what you can expect from using the Cinnamon desktop.

  • GNOME desktop environment

    GNOME desktop environment

    Despite my own misgivings with the modern look to the GNOME desktop, there's no question that it's powerful and stays out of your way. There's also no question that GNOME pushes its design principles forward and for anyone looking for a modern feeling desktop, you'll be happy here.

    Like Cinnamon, GNOME aims to provide its users with a tightly integrated desktop experience. Like all the desktops mentioned in this article, GNOME comes with its own rich selection of applications for file browsing, editing text, images and more.

    What I think makes GNOME powerful is how many great applications it has that present a natural feel with their integration. Applications for messaging, note taking, email, webcam, podcasts and even music. These apps like those found with KDE Plasma, feel natural to use and have a solid level of functionality.

    GNOME is best for those users looking for a modern interface, who prefer one that only makes itself visible when needed. Otherwise, GNOME is best for those who want their exclusive focus on the work at hand. I see a lot of creative users interested in GNOME whereas other desktops are better suited for those who want to minimize desktop bloat.

  • Choosing the right desktop environment

    Choosing the right desktop environment

    Does all of this seem overwhelming? Allow me to point out the following: consider going with a standard, traditional menu desktop environment for most of your company's workstations. Once you choose one, standardize all your workstations with this desktop.

    The reason I suggest taking this approach is because you're empowering your co-workers with a familiar, standardized desktop approach. This prevents the confusion of jumping from one desktop experience over to another with each workstation. What do you think? Are there desktop environments you'd like to see listed here? Hit the comments, tell me about them.

When choosing a Linux distro for your business, one of the factors you should consider is which desktop environment works best for your company. This can be made more complex when you consider individual workflows. In this article, I'll share some of the best desktop environments for the enterprise environment while addressing different types of workflows.

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