This article is from the Frequently Asked Questions for Linux, the Free/Open Source UNIX-like operating system kernel that runs on many modern computer systems. Maintained by David C. Merrill with numerous contributions by others. (v1.0).
A: Linux with XFree86 supports the KDE, GNOME, and commercial CDE desktop environments, and extended window managers like WindowMaker. Each uses a different set of libraries and provides varying degrees of MS Windows-like look and feel.
Information on KDE is available from http://www.kde.org/. The KDE environment uses the Qt graphics libraries, available from Trolltech at http:// www.trollTech.com. The desktop uses its own window manager, kwm, and provides a MS Windows-like look and feel.
The GNOME home page is http://www.gnome.org. The environment uses the free GTK libraries, available from http://www.gtk.org, and window managers like Enlightenment, http://www.enlightenment.org and SawFish, http:// www.sawfish.org/. There's also a Web page for Red Carpet, a GNOME installation and upgrade utility that functions much like Debian's apt-get utility with a friendly GUI front end. It's at http://www.ximian.com/products /redcarpet.
The commercial CDE environment uses the Motif libraries and a variation of the Motif mwm window manager, dtwm, and provides a suite of desktop and session-management utilities. Several vendors have made the source code of Motif available and provided binary packages for Linux distributions. As a starting point, download and installation information is available at http:// www.opengroup.org/openmotif/.
A free version of Motif, called LessTiF, is available from http:// www.lesstif.org/.
WindowMaker, http://www.windowmaker.org/ is a window manager that has many desktop environment-like features. It provides support for GNUstep, http:// www.gnustep.org/, a clone of the commercial NeXTStep environment.