10 Best Linux Distributions for Xfce Desktop

Looking for the best distributions that feature Xfce desktop? We got you!
Warp Terminal

If you are a Linux user and have ever searched for a stable and lightweight desktop environment, then you have definitely heard of Xfce.

It is fast, consumes minimal system resources while still offering a user-friendly UI that looks good. Not to forget, it also features one of the best file managers for Linux,i.e. Thunar. Undoubtedly, baked in utilities like this, its lightweight nature, and some customizability makes it a good pick for many.

So, what distribution should you pick to use Xfce as the desktop? Fret not, here, I have a list of the best Linux distributions for Xfce desktops that will get the job done.

1. Debian + Xfce

debian xfce desktop

Debian is a solid distribution for all kinds of things. After using it myself, and reading countless user reviews online (so it's not just me), Debian is easily the most stable distro on this list.

When you choose to install Debian on your system, the installer gives you the ability to pick the desktop environment, you can pick Xfce to get started.

If you are new to Linux, the look might feel retro and old-fashioned, However, the good thing is that you can customize it to your heart's content. Xfce on Debian possesses vast software choices and an efficient experience, making the pair very formidable.

Whether you are a newbie or a veteran, this is the best way to use vanilla Xfce desktop on a distribution.

2. MX Linux

mx linux 23.2 desktop screenshot

MX Linux's flagship edition comes baked with Xfce desktop. So naturally, Xfce works very well with it. With MX Tools, a very versatile program, and being one of the best Systemd-free distributions, my experience with MX Linux was interesting.

As it is based on Debian's stable version, you have all of Debian's repository at your disposal when you are using MX Linux. It comes with Flatpak enabled and backports ready to use, which Debian does not. Not to forget, the MX tools that I mentioned, offer a range of useful functions, from system management to allowing users to customize their experience effortlessly. All of these features make up for an outstanding distro that you can use with Xfce.

All in all, MX Linux works great out of the box and comes with loads of useful utilities for you to get things done.

3. Linux Mint

linux mint xfce edition screenshot

Based on Ubuntu, Linux Mint is one of the most popular distros in the community. While its flagship edition features Cinnamon, its Xfce version does not disappoint.

Linux Mint comes pre-installed with useful apps like Warpinator, Software Manager, and many other applications. Linux Mint fares better than Ubuntu for many users. So, if you don't like something about Ubuntu, chances are Linux Mint will be your next best bet.

The customized experience out of the box with Linux Mint Xfce is refreshing. And, it should be the perfect pick if you do not like the vanilla Xfce look.

Suggested Read πŸ“–

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4. Peppermint OS

peppermint os

Peppermint OS is yet another Debian-stable-based distro. Naturally, you can use all of Debian's repos like you could with MX. Peppermint is good for those who like to take control of their system, offering different variants (mini/standard/fully loaded).

The better Peppermint Welcome screen makes it easy for beginners to give it a try, providing you instructions on important utilities.

Overall, the experience might seem similar to Debian, as it is based on that. Interestingly, you get another edition based on Devuan. If you want a Systemd-free Xfce distro, the Devuan-based Peppermint OS should be a good pick.

5. Fedora Xfce

fedora xfce

Fedora is well-known for its flagship GNOME desktop. But their spins are fantastic offerings as well. Fedora Xfce spin is an interesting choice for what it offers.

It is a bleeding-edge distro but offers simple and useful utilities out-of-the-box.

It comes with default applications like Pidgin, a messaging client. Moreover, it has Gnumeric that lets you create lightning-fast spreadsheets. It also features easy accessibility to all settings without the need to use commands.

Fedora might not be known for its Xfce desktop but, nonetheless, it is a very solid option.

6. Xubuntu

xubuntu 24.04

Xubuntu is an official Xfce flavour of Ubuntu. So, it is like Linux Mint, as a distro based on Ubuntu, but with Ubuntu's style of customizations and snap support out of the box.

If you like the support for Snaps, and Xubuntu's customized experience, Xubuntu will be a safe distro experience for beginners.

Other than that, Xubuntu is lightweight and efficient, so users can try it out.

7. Manjaro Xfce

manjaro xfce

Arch Linux is tough for beginners. But, if you want to use Arch and Xfce, I would recommend Manjaro. It is a distro based on Arch and, above all, it makes it easy for users to configure things whether you are a newbie or an experienced user. Offering three official desktops, GNOME, Plasma, and Xfce, Manjaro is a versatile distro.

One downside is the fact that Manjaro only offers a 64-bit version. Other than that, the system itself is designed to work fully 'straight out of the box' with features. It comes with pre-installed GUI Software Managers to easily install software and update your system to and with codecs to play multimedia files.

All in all, Manjaro is an excellent choice if you are someone who is into Arch Linux. I have another Arch-based recommendation as you read on.

Suggested Read πŸ“–

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8. Salix OS

salix os 15

A distro based on Slackware inevitably aims for stability as its main goal. While previously Salix used to have seven different desktop editions, since 2016, it switched to Xfce only.

Salix offers three different modes of installation, depending upon the preference of the user. Core mode only installs the minimum packages required for the OS to run giving full control to the user. Basic mode installs core packages along with Xfce, a web browser, and other utilities. Full mode installs all applications you might need in your life.

Salix is a good choice if you want to run a simple and fast distribution.

9. Kali Linux

kali linux xfce

Famous among security professionals and penetration testers, Kali Linux offers Xfce as its default desktop environment. Like a few others on this list, Kali Linux is also based on Debian.

Right out of the box, it contains a pre-configured desktop with all the necessary utilities and tools. It contains all the essential system managers and has many specialized tools for cybersecurity and breach testing. Overall, Xfce on Kali Linux complements security among users who work in the field.

10. EndeavourOS

endeavouros xfce

Even though Plasma might have replaced Xfce as Endeavour's default environment, Endeavour remains one of the best Arch Linux-based distros for Xfce.

EndeavourOS's customization and user-friendly utilities has made it make a mark among Arch-based Linux distros. Even with all the customizations, you get a good Xfce experience.

Wrapping Up

With more than enough options available in the distro space, one can really explore and see what suits them best. While Debian and Ubuntu-based distros remain the popular choice, there are Systemd-free options and Arch-based options. Not to forget, there is a Fedora spin.

So, you have plenty of options to choose from, as per your use-case, you can choose the one that fits the best.

Exploring these distros will not bode pointless, as I have listed them after 'distro-hopping' myself, or you just to stick to what works best in the first attempt. 😎

πŸ’¬ What is your favorite Xfce based Linux distro? Let me know your thoughts!

Author Info

Swayam Sai Das is a student exploring the realms of Linux as an Intern Writer at It's FOSS. He is dedicated, when trying to push ranks in FPS games and enjoys reading literature classics in an attempt of putting on an academic facade.

About the author


Written by a community member, a reader who is not part of the It's FOSS writing team. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of It's FOSS.

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