|LXDE Main Screen|
LXDE seems to be the new hot thing; to cater to users who need a lightweight distribution either out of necessity (older hardware, need to allocate as much memory as possible to applications without giving up a usable DE) or out of preference, pretty much every major distribution has begun to offer an LXDE edition. It's user-friendly but light on resources; it's well-built yet very modular. It just seems like the place to be.
|Xfce Main Screen|
Follow the jump to see how each DE fares, as implemented in Debian 6 "Squeeze".
As expected, Iceweasel is included, and Gnash is the Adobe Flash substitute (and works as it did in the GNOME desktop — that is to say, exhibiting lots of latency and choppiness). OpenOffice.org is included, which could be a first for an LXDE distribution; interestingly enough, unlike the more "heavyweight" GNOME edition, the LXDE edition does not include AbiWord and Gnumeric.
|OpenOffice.org and LXDE Main Menu|
Well, the LXDE edition works like normal Debian, but lighter, I guess. It could appeal to someone who wants the lightweight nature of the GNOME version but with a more modern style and more modular applications.
|Iceweasel + Thunar|
The default desktop looks like a vanilla implementation of Xfce; it definitely looks dated, but it doesn't seem offensive. At idle (and thankfully I was able to measure this), Xfce uses 120 MB of RAM, which is only 10 or so MB less than the GNOME live DVD. Xfce has a similar menu clutter issue as LXDE, though thankfully to a lesser extent. Like LXDE, Xfce includes OpenOffice.org but neither AbiWord nor Gnumeric.
|OpenOffice.org and Xfce Main Menu|