Install GUI on debian 7 wheezy

This article will show you how to install GUI (Graphical User Interface) of your choice (gnome, kde, Cinnamon, mate, enlightenment, xfce, or lxde) on debian 7. The two biggest players in the game are Gnome and KDE, but there are also many smaller GUIs, like Xfce and LXDE that have just as much to offer.

Download Debian 7 wheezy

For leaner and better control of what you install on your machine, i highly recommend you to download and install debian minimal CD or netinst.

When you are at “Software selection” screen, *unselect* all the option.


GNU Object Model Environment (Gnome) is a desktop environment and graphical user interface that runs on top of a computer operating system, user-friendly desktop for Unix operating systems, based entirely on free software.

You will need to install aptitude and tasksel before install gnome

Aptitude is an Ncurses based FrontEnd to Apt, the debian package manager.

Tasksel is a tool that installs multiple related packages as a co-ordinated “task” onto your system.

# apt-get install aptitude tasksel

Install gnome on debian

# tasksel install gnome-desktop --new-install


K Desktop Environment (KDE) is a free desktop environment and development platform built with Trolltech’s Qt toolkit. It runs on most Unix and Unix-like systems, such as Linux, BSD and Solaris.

# apt-get install aptitude tasksel
# aptitude --without-recommends install ~t^standard$ ~t^desktop$ ~t^kde-desktop$


Compiz is truly one of the original compositing window managers for the X Window System which is capable to make use of OpenGL-acceleration. The integration enables it to run compositing effects in window management, for example a minimization effect and a cube workspace. Compiz conforms to the ICCCM standard together with replacement for the main Metacity in GNOME or KWin in KDE.

# echo "deb sid main non-free contrib" >> /etc/apt/sources.list
# echo 'APT::Default-Release "testing";' >> /etc/apt/apt.conf
# apt-get update
# apt-get -t sid install compiz compiz-fusion-plugins-extra compizconfig-settings-manager
# compiz --replace

You can configure Compiz via CCSM utility. located in System -> Preferences -> CompizConfig


Cinnamon is a Linux desktop which provides advanced innovative features and a traditional user experience. The desktop layout is similar to Gnome 2. The underlying technology is forked from Gnome Shell. The emphasis is put on making users feel at home and providing them with an easy to use and comfortable desktop experience.Cinnamon has rich visual effects enabled by new graphical technologies.

# echo deb debian main import backport upstream romeo >> /etc/apt/sources.list

# apt-get install linuxmint-keyring

# apt-get update

# apt-get install cinnamon


The MATE Desktop Environment, a non-intuitive and unattractive desktop for users, using traditional computing desktop metaphor. MATE is based on old Gnome 2, which is stable, tried and true. Because of it has been around for so much longer, tools have been developed for it which makes Gnome 2 highly compatible with most software and also highly configurable (for example, you can run Compiz on it).

Add one of MATE repositories to your source.list

# nano /etc/apt/sources.list

# main repository

deb wheezy main

# mirrors

deb wheezy main

deb wheezy main

Install MATE on debian

apt-get update

apt-get install mate-archive-keyring

apt-get update

# Now to install MATE choose 1 of the 3 apt-get lines below.

# this installs the base packages

apt-get install mate-core

# or this to install mate-core and more extras

apt-get install mate-desktop-environment

#or this to install mate-core + mate-desktop-environment and even more extras.

apt-get install mate-desktop-environment-extra



Enlightenment is not only one desktop environment for Linux, but it has an entirely libraries to assist you to produce gorgeous end user interfaces together with a lesser amount of computer resource as compared to doing it the particular traditional way, it also helping together with classic toolkits, not forgetting an old-fashioned window manager.


$ wget -c

# dpkg -i debe17-svn_1.1.1-0_all.deb


Xfce is a lightweight desktop environment for UNIX-like operating systems. It aims to be fast and low on system resources, while still being visually appealing and user friendly.

# apt-get install xfce4 xfce4-goodies thunar-archive-plugin


The LXDE or “Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment” is an extremely fast-performing and energy-saving desktop environment. LXDE uses less CPU and less RAM than other environments. It is especially designed for cloud computers with low hardware specifications, such as netbooks, mobile devices (e.g. MIDs) or older computers. LXDE can be installed on many Linux distributions including Debian, Fedora, OpenSUSE and Ubuntu.

minimum set of elements

# apt-get install lxde-core

complete set of elements

# apt-get install lxde

complete Debian LXDE desktop environment

# apt-get install task-lxde-desktop
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