A good Linux UI?

I have one main issue with all the Linux distributions I’ve used so far. They are “unorganized”.
For example: you can stack multiple icons on desktop over each other, and there is no “predefined space” for them. Menus are a mess as well.

Do you have any recommendations on a Linux UI that deals with these issues?

I used XFCE for a while on Manjaro but lately I switched to the KDE variant and with a bit of tweaking you can get an amazingly versatile and useful UI.


I prefer JWM or Openbox ( or any box ), you can get a lot of customization out of those two. They are WM’s and not DE’s but still. They are very easy to modify.

If you are good with key combos you could try out a tiling window manager.


What distro and DE have you had said experience with? Sounds like a bad/stock implementation of the DE, and as such, the DE is not to fault.


There was something @wendell was talking about a few months back, he even made a short video about it, I think it was called Id3, anyway it sounds like it is something @Chola is looking for. Maybe someone else will remember what I am talking about.

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You can do this in windows too.

Depends on the DE.

Open up the settings and read the options that are available to you.

Bingo. :tada:


i3wm is my favorite desktop environment. For single monitor/laptop computers I still prefer Gnome. However, on my command center battlestation I use i3wm with some simple software to get my favorite wallpapers on each monitor, glossy, transparent menus and windows, and fun UI tweaks.

Check it out!




WM !== DE

Lol, I mean all this in jest of course.


@anon79053375 Holy sh*t! i3wm is f**king amazing!
I never believed something could ever replace my “Windows 7 is the perfect environment” mindset… but this is awesome! I love it. Thanks.
@Shadowbane This is probably what Wendell was talking about
@Goalkeeper Yep, this is it :smiley:

I can only recommend XFCE.

I’ve been rolling on OpenSuse KDE plasma, which was like 80% perfect… but now I’ve been enlightened by i3wm, which I intend to replace my stock DE with.
( I understand what @Dynamic_Gravity said, WM !== DE).

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i3wm doesnt deal with those issues at all, unless by deal with them you mean doesnt use them.

It’s sad no one has asked you any important questions, because your original post and reply go against each other, makes me think, your original question maybe isn’t the question you are really trying to ask?

If you don’t care about your original issues, then use anything, you’ll have to tweak i3 like you’ll have to tweak KDE. But if you do care about your original issues, you should expand on exactly what your issues are, as no one should have been able to reply to you with an answer based on what you said. You don’t even say what you mean by menus are a mess as well, and you cite one example of unorganised but didn’t mentioned where, what wm/de, etc.


Goalkeeper does not do logical thinking. :frowning:

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Not to get off topic, but it seems common on Linux based questions here, a lot of people will reply with what they want the person to do or use and not really look at what they are asking (generally speaking).

Slowly I will make everyone sit back and think, what is being asked, what do we need to know to help first?



I realized i3 was what Wendell was talking about as soon as @anon79053375 mentioned it.

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The reason my original question and my reply go against each other is that so far I only knew of DE until now. Never knew of WM existence and that a WM could completely replace the functionality of a DE, if not even improve it.

The original question would basically be: How do I make a Linux DE such as KDE Plasma more Windows 7 like?

By that I mean a few things:

  1. How do I make icons on my desktop not stack on each other, and how do I make them have exactly a predefined padding, spacing and positioning around them such as this

  2. How do I make a start menu to look exactly like Windows 7’s. By that I mean I press my windows key, and a menu pops up from the bottom left with following features:

    • A few pinned most important programs of my choice
    • A search bar at the bottom that searches for installed programs
    • An “All Programs” like menu with all the installed programs
    • A few of the most important folders of my choice
    • A power related actions button
  3. How do I make a file explorer have the exact base functionality of a Windows explorer:

    • When I open up “My Computer”-like icon I get a window listing all of the available drives sorted by category (HDDs, CD/DVD ROMs, FDDs … etc.)
    • When I open up a folder it has a nice file sorting system top to bottom first criteria being the type (folder or a file) and the second criteria being the alphabetical sorting by file/folder name
    • The window always has a “basic navigation” bar on the left
    • The window always has an address bar on top

This is basically what I am looking for in a DE.
My bad for not expressing myself correctly, I have to work on that.

Also idk if people would be overwhelmed by such a looooooooooooooong ass list of questions like that.


Try a right click on stuff?
Use system settings to look for things?

Well, I am using what I use because the UI stuff is easy to configure. Soooo…

You have a KDE open? The thing with the “startmenu”, right click on that. It should have settings.
Same goes for the desktop.

There should also be another widget that’s basically just a list of installed programs as a menu. You could replace the standard menu with that.

I think there’s a few things to think about here.

The first major point is if you want those things, realistically, your answer is to use Windows 7.

I think to get a good compromise, you need to consider changing how you might consider doing certain tasks. Linux isnt Windows, so by its nature its just not going to do everything exactly the same.

A key thing to remember here, is that a windows manager does nothing except manage windows. Desktop environments come with window managers, for KDE the default is Kwin, for GNOME its mutter.

A window manager will generally manage your window placement (usually but not always by tiling windows, rather than float windows like you would usually expect), but will lack almost all other functionality. That means, no device management, no file manager, no menus, no mouse functionality, no window decorations, nothing.

Window managers generally provide a few niceties like mouse handling, and menu/task bar programs as install-able options (more the latter as an option, mouse is usually there but tog-gable). For any other functionality you generally have to source, install, and configure them. That will include everything from icons, file managers, device management (what to do when you plug in a usb isn’t always there if you don’t have a DE, screen saver, power management, everything.

theres a plus side and downside to window managers.


  • if you want a minimal environment, mount your own disks, primarily use the command line, don’t need anything fancy
  • if you want to install and control every specific system in your computer down to “i don’t need my screen to go off so i never installed screen management stuff”
  • tiled window managers are quite good for window organisation.
  • its cool, and you might learn some things


  • if you want anything more than basic functionality it can be a huge time sink
  • its a huge time sink, you might end up doing more management of your computer than actually using your computer

An alternative, you can sometimes replace the window manager of a DE with your window manager of choice and have the best of both worlds.

The reason for my first paragraph is for this. You can’t do this in Windows, but you want to make KDE function exactly like Windows. That might be an unrealistic view.

To give you a consideration, and an answer.

Why use the desktop for icons? Its always behind windows, its worth considering if this is a worthwhile method to continue to invest in.

An answer (of sorts), the problem you describe isn’t default to KDE. KDE by default if you use the desktop for icons (Folder View, right click desktop > configure desktop) has automatic spacing and positioning. The same settings area (under icons) will allow you to change some of the settings for how those icons are handled.

But i don’t know where a setting would be that lets you do what you describe. What distro do you use? (tested this on Fedora which uses pretty much stock KDE)

Pressing the widnows key (meta key) does the same thing in KDE. Menu will pop up from the bottom left by default unless you’ve changed the position of the menu bar or are using a different menu bar.

The default KDE menu bar will allow you to pin important applications (right click > add to favourites), you can search by typing (same as windows 10, 7 as well i think?), “all programs” us under “applications”, and power options. It does everything you mention.

Dolphin does point 1 (its in the sidebar under devices), 2, 3, 4. these are more configurable than windows explorer as well.

Are you using KDE at the moment?


Lmfao I had flashbacks of Reddit :grin:

Stop :angry: :grin:

@Eden To your point, I certainly wasn’t pushing my agenda on @Chola

The title asked a good Linux UI, and his post mentioned others feeling unorganized. I think i3 brings organization to world of chaos. And yes, @Chola, there are not any desktop icons or start menu in i3. It does have an application search, though.

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