Debian drops GNOME, chooses Xfce as default desktop

Remember Debian, the 'mother' of many popular Linux distributions such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint? For the next release called Debian Wheezy, developers have chosen to replace GNOME with Xfce as the new default desktop environment. The semiofficial reason for the move, is a bit odd though.

According to Joey Hess, a developer of the Debian Installer Team, GNOME has become too big to fit on the next Debian CD. Xfce is indeed lighter and smaller than GNOME, but it's still quite strange, because other distributions with the latest version of GNOME don't complain about the same problem. The idea of a release fitting on CD is a bit old-fashioned too. Windows comes on a DVD or as a download, Mac OS X is a download too and some Linux distributions offer a DVD release too. With some effort, a USB key could be a solution too.

Hess does say that 'There may be other reasons to prefer Xfce as the default as well,' but doesn't elaborate on the subject. We all know GNOME isn't as popular as before among Linux users as of version three, which could be the real reason behind the developer's move. Xfce has a resemblance to the old GNOME 2, which could appeal more to long time Debian users than the new GNOME 3 interface. Debian is also replacing the old GDM login manager with LightDM.

Source: Debian.org via Phoronix

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