XFCE, LXQT, or LXDE... Which one to choose?

Has anybody tried all three?
By watching youtube reviews I have clear idea of what to expect from XFCE. But there is next to zero info on LXQT or LXDE versions.
I’m interested in these 3 DEs not because I have very old PC, but because I want a minimalistic system that it is very efficient and does not consume much CPU resources, keeping the system cooler.
Which one of these DEs is more reliable, better maintained by the developers at the moment, and which one would you recommend?

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I’ve never used any of those DEs, but I think the best way to figure wich one is better for you is to test them on virtual machine if your PC can handle it, otherwise it’ll be hard to know.

What are your PC specs?

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In my personal opinion, Xfce is better maintained than either LXDE or LXQt. I’ve not seen very much, if any, discussion about either of them, except by individuals looking for a limited resource desktop environment. Unless your system is so old that it can barely run any desktop at all, you can use Xfce. If it’s too cumbersome or resource intensive, it may be better to drop down to a window manager. Most of them still support multiple windows accessible through either their task bar or menu functions, and there are many light resource file managers that can be used with window managers to provide simple directory and file access, similar to what you do with a desktop environment; only the consistency of a common environment and the “objects” by which information and complex structures can be copied and manipulated are “missing” in a simple window manager approach. Read about desktop environments for a more accurate and specific description of each desktop environment and window manager to determine the features and capabilities of each of them.

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I have used all three and i came back to Xfce.

Xfce is most polished and has more features than other two.
More options to choose like menu more panel plugins etc.

Lxqt is also good but it has less features although it is little bit lighter and snappier i would say.

LXDE is good, fast but really minimal meaning it has basic features.
I had a weird bug on lxde with the volume icon plugin dissappearing on almost every start and i have seen other people having this issue too meaning its an lxde bug and i guess not fixed. I dont even think lxde is maintained anymore to be honest.

Im running Xfce+openbox now which feels little snappier than xfwm4.

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i have used xfce and lxqt, both are good. my main Linux system is EndeavourOS lxqt. lxqt was a minimalistic wm and is very clear. KDE was to much for me. i choosed lxqt instead of xfce, because for me lxqt looks better. lxqt and xfce are maintained good and the contributers are active. the last update by lxde was 2021 Feb. and on github you can see the contributers are not very active.

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The answer is whichever one you personally prefer.

None of them are particularly active from a development and maintenance perspective. LXQt probably gets the most active development of the three but most is a relative term.

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If resources abs stability are of the biggest concern, I’d go lxde. It’s very light and hasn’t really changed in the past half decade or more so it should be good to go

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Not true of xfce though:

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It is all relative. Compare the number of commits to one of the more active DEs. Also look at the xfce release history and see how frequently they do releases.

I am not making a judgement here. The OP asked which was “better maintained by the developers”. xfce has a glacial release pace compared to other distros. More changes isn’t always a good thing.

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I tend to use XFCE and haven’t really used LXDE or LXQT that much. Mostly because I have used XFCE over the years and was one of the first GUI’s I used when starting out. I am not even sure LXDE is being developed any longer, did they not merge with LXQT? In any event XFCE is being developed nicely and is a reliable desktop for me.

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I think it is best that you try each of them for yourself instead of asking others to choose for you. Then and only then will you know what suits you. Otherwise start with xfce. I don’t see a reason why you wouldn’t be happy with it.

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If that is the goal, getting a cooler CPU, you can pick any DE. Even KDE or gnome. None of them is so demanding on the CPU that you would notice a temperature difference.

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I agree to try them all and stick with what you like. I would only recommend to start with LXQT over XFCE for the following reasons:

  1. LXDE is dead - the main dev and his team founded LXQT due to unhappiness with the GTK3 toolkit. A few people still try to keep it alive, but there isn’t much of a pulse left.
  2. XFCE is not really in the minimal DE camp anymore. Since the adaption of the GTK 4 toolkit, it is a much greater memory hog than it was in the good old days. Still works great though, if you have adequate resources, and it is still under active development, even if the pace is “glacial” as Dalto mentioned.

Therefore, I would recommend starting your trials with LXQT due to it still being under active development and still being minimal. But as others have said, all are pretty good and it mainly comes down to personal preference.

One more minimal DE you might try is Enlightenment. It looks pretty ugly but it works great, and in terms of memory usage is lighter weight than all of the above, and is still actively developed. It’s pretty much as lightweight as a pure window manager solution, but with plenty of DE features. I run it on both EndeavourOS and Void Linux installs.

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