Window Managers and Desktops

In the context of the X Window system, window managers manage the creation and manipulation of the windows created by various applications. Desktop environments such as GNOME and KDE go one step further — each includes (or requires) a window manager but adds a variety of software that extends its support for graphical interaction between applications. As mentioned previously, desktop environments provide capabilities such as file managers, which support graphical browsing of files and directories and also support capabilities such as drag and drop, where dragging a file's icon onto an application's icon launches the application and automatically opens a specified file, or where clicking a file in a file manager launches the correct application and opens the specified file, and so on. Many hardcore Linux users prefer simply using a window manager because window managers typically consume fewer system resources than desktop environments. One of the core benefits of Linux is that you can use whatever you want to do your work, and switching between using a window manager and desktop is easy, as explained later in this chapter.

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