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For a while I have been searching for a new desktop environment to use on my netbook, since gnome 3 is too heavy for it. Currently it is running ubuntu because unity is lighter than gnome 3, but I am planning to go back to fedora at some point in time. So far I found LXDE to be my favorite, after trying XFCE and Enlightenment.
I'm not looking for a solution here, just opinions, what is your favorite lightweight desktop environment (and with which WM if you wish) and why?
I've used most of them, and I tend to stick with XFCE personally. I like FluxBox on very low end hardware (under 500 MHz, say), but for a halfway modern system it is probably unnecessary to run something so stripped down (unless you like the more utilitarian feel).
My favourite since I started using it has always been wmii; it's a different type of WM (tiling rather than compositing/stacking), but I find it intuitive to use and it helps organise your windows no end... But some people don't get along with it, so YMMV
I used WindowMaker for many, many years. About a month back I started trying some of the tiling window-managers and eventually settled on dwm + dmenu.
It's a no distractions, just get on with what you're doing setup. I love it.. You do need to customise it though. The default colours and keyboard shortcuts are useless.
Xfce…because it's lightweight and portable (i.e. I can run it on all my machines, including the FreeBSD "frankencomputer" ), and I can make it look/feel like classic Windows (pre-7), and that's what I'm used to. I don't think I could ever really get used to using just a bare WM; I'm stuck in my old habits, LOL.
I'm sure there's more to it than that, but I don't feel like trying to recall all my motivations right now…