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Can someone explain what packages Linux has to show windows and graphical stuff? What goes on the top of what, what are the most common options? What do the users really need to run? What is running in my present system?

I am confused by these gdm, kdm, x11, xfce, lightdm, unity thing.

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closed as too broad by Hauke Laging, slm, jasonwryan, strugee, Chris Down Feb 21 '14 at 1:34

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

env | grep DESKTOP_SESSION will give you which environment you are currently in. BTW, you need to mention which flavor of Linux you are using. Is it debian based or fedora based? – Ramesh Feb 21 '14 at 0:56
@Ramesh doesn't matter. everyone uses the same stack; Wayland isn't quite mature enough yet. and besides, Debian and Red Hat aren't the only important families. Slackware, Arch, SUSE and Gentoo, anyone? – strugee Feb 21 '14 at 1:14

unix base systems have 3 layers:

  1. X systems: such as Xorg or XFree86(XFree86 deprecated) X systems layer load some driver such as keyboard, mouse, graphical resolution and etc.
  2. Window manager : This section handle close item, minimuize, mazimixe,decorators and so on. such as kwm and so on.
  3. Display Manager: it establish relation between windows, and manages them. such as gdm, kdm and so on.
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gdm, kdm, etc. are not desktop environments. they're display managers. and by "desktop manager", you meant "window manager". this answer is overall very misleading. – strugee Feb 21 '14 at 1:19
Thank you, i updaed my post – PersianGulf Feb 21 '14 at 12:35
again, by desktop manager you mean display manager - there's no such thing as a desktop manager (unless you're talking about whatever draws the desktop background and icons, but even then no one says that). and besides, you can use a system perfectly fine without a display manager. I admire your enthusiasm, but in the future, it'd be great if you could look up some references before posting an answer. – strugee Feb 21 '14 at 15:39
again thanks.i updated. – PersianGulf Feb 21 '14 at 20:20

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