Over these past five years I’ve been using five of the major desktop environments, regularly. My usual Linux distribution is fedora but I’ve had my fair share of experiences with Ubuntu and Mint as well.
This will be a short post. I just wanted to list out these DEs in the order of my preference and talk a few lines about why the order of preference is the way it is.
2. Gnome 3
5. Gnome 2
I’ve been using MATE only for a short while now and I absolutely love it. I was in search of a really light weight environment that just gets the job done with less over head and mate does it for me. It’s built over Gnome 2 so it has the traditional Linux desktop feel but don’t be fooled by that. I initially thought it would miss Gnome 3. But I did not. I loved the fact that it was light on my processor but at the same time give me a really user friendly way to handle things. But if you’re looking for something flashy, you would not like mate. Infact you would probably like kde i guess, although i have never tried to experiment with it. My requirement was specific.
In a similar search for a light weight environment. I had previously ventured into Cinnamon. I did like it. But after using MATE, I feel that cinnamon does not have the refinement that mate has. Hence it does not have the edge over Gnome or Unity which i feel are well tested and refined.
Yes. There are DEs like LXDE and XFCE which are supposed to be light weight but I did not feel like experimenting with them. Maybe sometime later.