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Desktop environment

In graphical computing, a desktop environment offers a complete graphical user interface (GUI) solution. It provides icons, toolbars, applications, applets, and abilities like drag and drop. As a whole, the particularities of design and function of a desktop environment endow it with a distinctive look and feel.

The term really only makes sense in the context of systems running the X Window System and/or UNIX, systems which have a GUI, but which may not have bundled all the modern features mentioned above. One can think of a desktop environment as a set of tools that make UNIX and X act like the GUIs of Microsoft Windows or Apple Macintosh.

Well-known examples include GNOME, KDE, CDE and XFce; however, a number of other desktop environments also exist, including (but not limited to): EDE, UDE, ROX Desktop, GEM, PerlTop, XPde, Xito and arm0nia.

Some window managers also include elements reminiscient of those found in desktop environments; most prominently Enlightenment.

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