Graphical User Interface (GUI) is the main thing that gives look to your operating system. Although Zorin OS has a nice user interface you might not always like it. And when you are looking for a change, you can always switch your GUI to a new one and give your pc a new look. If you have not already installed Zorin OS, then here is how you can install Zorin OS alongside Windows.
There are a lot of Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) available for Linux distros. Some of the most popular ones are KDE plasma, Mate, Unity, Cinnamon, XFCE. You can choose any of these Graphical interfaces to use on your system. Although there are certain things that you should consider while selecting a GUI for your everyday use apart from looks. Let’s have a look at what things to consider while to install desktop environment on Zorin OS.
Note: If you directly want to see how to install desktop environment on Zorin OS then click here.
Things to consider before installing a new Desktop Environment
Your system hardware is the first thing that you should consider when planning to install a new GUI. Although a lot of GUIs are light in terms of hardware requirements some do have high system requirements to run smoothly. And if your system configuration is low or older to support higher hardware demanding GUI’s like KDE plasma, then its better to use lower demanding GUIs.
The other main thing to consider while selecting a GUI is its customization features. GUIs like KDE plasma offer great customization and highly powerful features. The other powerful and highly customizable desktop environment is GNOME.
Both of these desktop environment offer high customization with easy to use features. Although if you are looking for a more futuristic look and need high customization then KDE plasma is one of the best choice.
Which Desktop environment to choose?
The other thing to consider is which desktop environment to choose. Now answer to this solely depends on your use case and your requirements from your system. As some desktop environments offers better looks while some are light on hardware resources. Some have more features while some are easy to use.
So before choosing which desktop environment to install it’s better to consider what are your needs. For that here are some of the most popular Linux desktop environments.
Best and Most Popular Available Linux Desktop Environments
KDE plasma is one good looking and feature-rich desktop environment available at the moment. In terms of looks, it looks like it is based on Windows. It comes with the start menu as well as the taskbar just like Windows. But it also has Widgets like Mac OS that make it look like a combination of both. But that’s not it there are also other features and traits that make KDE plasma one of the best.
KDE is not only good looking and feature-rich but it also has a highly familiar desktop environment for most people. It even has a system tray in the bottom right corner just like in Windows.
KDE also comes prepacked with a ton of applications and features one of them being KDE connect. It allows you to connect to your Android or other Linux smartphone to your desktop. Integrating your notifications, media playback, file-sharing, and much more between your phone and system.
Even the KDE Advanced Text Editor that comes with this desktop environment is popular as one of the best text editors for Linux. It even has a application similar to macOS spotlight named KRunner. That let’s you run command, open applications and much more.
So if you are looking for a feature rich and nice looking Desktop environment then you can install KDE Plasma on your Zorin OS installation.
Budgie Desktop Environment
If you have previously used Solus OS, you have already used the Budgie desktop environment. Budgie is the default desktop environment available with the Solus OS. Its beautiful, sleek, modern-looking and offers a great user experience with its easy-to-use interface.
Budgie offers a taskbar similar to Windows, that has a menu similar to the start menu. But don’t think its just a copy of Windows, it has various other features and advantages that make it really one of the best desktop environment.
Customization is also easy on Budgie, unlike other desktop environments. To make changes and customize it according to your needs all you need to do is open the setting. Not like other desktop environments in which you need to install apps to make changes.
You can even change the button layout from the right to left if you are accustomed to macOS. Like this there are various other customizable features that can make budgie one of the best desktop environment for you. So if you are looking for a sleek light on hardware and customizable desktop environment then go ahead and install Budgie is for you.
Xfce desktop environment
Xfce is a default desktop environment available on Xubuntu. The main feature of this desktop environment is its lightweight and does not requires high hardware resources.
If you have installed Zorin on a old machine which has slower hardware, then you can install Xfce to make it work even faster. As Zorin OS is already a light weight Linux distro and if you combine it with Xfce it will work even faster. But the problem with Xfce is its old looking. If that is not an issue for you then you cna use it to make your system faster.
Xfce is a fast and lighweight desktop environment that is designed to be used on older machines. It trims the fat and features that other desktop environment bring making it lean and lightweight.
If you are not looking for features and looks and are looking for a lightweight faster desktop environment then Xfce is for you.
Note: There are also other desktop environments like Cinnamon, Lxqt, Deepin Desktop environment, and various others. About which I have not mentioned in this article, but if you want you can install those also on your Zorin OS installation. Now let’s see how we can install these desktop environments on Zorin OS installation.
Installing KDE Plasma on Zorin OS
Note: If you are confused between KDE and Plasma, then Plasma is the actual name of the desktop environment. While KDE is the parent project under whichPlasma desktop environment and various other applications are also developed. Although earlier KDE was the name of the desktop environment, but later when KDE started developing various other applications, desktop environment was named Plasma. So now you know KDE Plasma and Plasma both refer to the same desktop environment.
How To install KDE Plasma Full desktop Environment on Zorin OS
Here KDE Plasma Full stands for all the goodness and dependencies that come under KDE package. If you install this, then you not only get KDE desktop environment but also various other applications. If you have harddrive space constraint or slow internet then you should avoid this. Execute the below command to begin installation.
sudo apt install kde-full
Now the system will ask you to enter the sudo password, type it and press enter. After that when system asks type Y and press enter to begin installation. Since this package is around 1.2 GB it will take certain time to install (depending on your Internet connection).
If you don’t want to install the whole KDE package then you can install KDE – Standard.
Do you know you can change your system’s boot order to automatically boot Zorin OS first. It makes your system boot faster here is how to do it.
The standard KDE package includes the Plasma desktop environment along with a standard set of KED apps. These apps are Konqueror (default web browser), KMail (Email Client), Dolphin (File Manager), Kget( Download Manager) etc. This whole package is around 280MB in size. You can install this package by the command below.
sudo apt install kde-standard
KDE Plasma Desktop Environment
If you don’t want to install anything except the Plasma desktop environment, then you can install it via the command below. Its great for those who just want to try the desktop environment as you can install other apps later also.
sudo apt install kde-plasma-desktop
Budgie Desktop Environment
Budgie is also another great desktop environment as we discussed above. If you want to install it just execute the command below. You will not require to add any new repositories, as budgie is already a part of Ubuntu repositories.
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
sudo apt install ubuntu-budgie-desktop
Then confirm for installing and wait till the download gets completed. Once it’s completed you will get a dialog box to choose from, select lightdm in it. Once the installation is completed reboot your system. You will then be greeted by the Budgie login screen.
XFCE Desktop Environment
XFCE is a lightweight desktop environment as we discussed above. To install it just execute the command below.
sudo apt install xfce4
This above command will install XFCE desktop environment on your system. After installation is
In this article, we saw how can we install various different desktop environments on Zorin OS or Ubuntu. Changing the desktop environment allows you to change the complete look and feel of the system. It also allows you to get more functionality or you can also make your system lighter using a lighter desktop environment.