A desktop environment is an implementation of the desktop metaphor made of a bundle of programs running on top of a computer OS that shares a common graphical interface. A desktop environment typically consists of wallpapers, windows manager, icons, toolbars, text editors, folders, and widgets

Microsoft Windows and macOS have a default desktop environment that comes with the operating system itself. In Linux, The environment can be changed or configured easily.

In KDE/Kubuntu, there are a number of supported desktop environments. They include; 

  • Plasma which is the most popular one. It is simple, powerful and customizable.
  • Gnome which is also simple to use and efficient.
  • Xfce which aims to be fast and low on system resources and visually appealing
  • MATE which is derived from Gnome 2 to add support for new technologies
  • LXDE which has a component-based design that allows you to choose what you want
  • Cinnamon which the most modern and stable desktop environment

Xfce Desktop Environment

Xfce is a modular desktop environment that aims to be lightweight and simple to use. It is elegant and flexible and its advantage to conserve system resources makes it a good option to use even with old systems.


  • Window Manager that manages the placement of windows on the screen and manages workspaces or virtual desktops.
  • Terminal emulator that is powerful and uses tabs to allow you to open multiple terminals on a single window.
  • Desktop Manager that sets the background image and provides a root window menu, desktop icons or minimized icons and a windows list.
  • Panel that switches between opened windows, launch applications, switch workspaces and menu plugins to browse applications or directories.
  • It also provides numerous plugins that you can install and applications that  can help you in extending your desktop.
  • Session Manager that controls the login and power management of the desktop and allows you to store multiple login sessions.
  • Application Finder that enables you to quickly find an application from the ones you have installed in your system..
  • File Manager that provides the basic file-management features and unique utilities like the bulk renamer.
  • Settings Manager that has tools to control the various settings of the desktop; like keyboard shortcuts, appearance, display settings, etc.

In this guide, I will show you how to;

  • Install Xfce Desktop environment on KDE Neon|Kubuntu.
  • Boot form the Xfce envrionment.
  • Basic configurations like changing the theme.

Install Xfce Desktop Environment on KDE Neon|Kubuntu

First, update your package index.

# KDE Neon 
sudo apt update && sudo pkcon update -y     

# Kubuntu
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Once that is done, Now install Xfce Desktop Environment on KDE Neon|Kubuntu

sudo apt install xfce4 

If prompted for disk space, type y to continue with the installation.

A package configuration window will open to allow you to choose a display manager. there are 2 options, lightdm and sddm. I chose lightdm which is the recommended one.

Then log out and log in again with the Xfce session which you choose from the list.

Once you log in, It opens as below.

The panel on the bottom has pinned applications that are mostly used. They include the Home directory.

And the Application finder. Other than going through the menu to find an applicator, You can use the application finder to look for the application and open it.

Customize XFCE Desktop Environment on KDE Neon|Kubuntu

You can change the display configuration to one that fits the screen well.

You can change the theme. Just go Settings>Appearance. As you can see, the settings manager has a lot of options to customize your environment.

It opens the window where you can select different themes listed. It also has an option of customizing the icons, and fonts.

The next option would be to edit the panel. Remember you can add a panel and customize its background. Also you can remove and add icons on the panel.

You can also change the desktop background. Right-click on the desktop and select Desktop settings

It will open a window where you can select a different background. You can also get more images from your folders that you can download and apply to the background to fit what you want.


Xfce is an easy desktop environment to install. Learning how to use it is also easy and straightforward. You can customize the environment to how it fits your identity.

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