What are some good choices for desktop environments and window manager for touchscreens? Currently I am using XFCE with custom GTK settings for making the controls larger, but that is far from optimal.

What is the current state of touch-screen desktop environments, and are there any promising projects out there?

Edit: Are there any "lightweight" touch-optimised desktop environments available?

4 Answers 4


I believe GNOME 3 was designed specifically with touch screens in mind.

  • 4
    Some would argue to the expense of non-touch screen users.
    – jmtd
    Sep 27, 2011 at 14:15
  • Well, Gnome is not really lightweight, but at least this is what I have chosen for now.
    – Residuum
    Feb 27, 2012 at 15:58

KDE has been working a long time in touchscreen features.

From the 4.7 announce:

KDE is happy to announce the immediate availability of version 4.7 of both the Plasma Desktop and Plasma Netbook Workspaces. The Plasma Workspaces have seen improvements to existing functionality, as well as the introduction of significant new features. In particular, these include new interface design methods better suited to touchscreen and mobile devices.

For now you can use the plasma-netbook interface or to try the project plasma-active (in development) of KDE.

Plasma Active

Plasma active: http://community.kde.org/Plasma/Active

A video of Plasma Active: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GAFfjscVyg

Other vídeos about Plasma Active from the same user: http://www.youtube.com/user/sebasvizzzion#g/u


In addition to GNOME 3, I believe that Unity is quite touchscreen friendly too

  • Unity uses mouse movements to activate menus (like eBay does). You cannot do that in an easy way with touch screens.
    – user33677
    Mar 6, 2013 at 17:28
  1. GNOME 3.14 has introduced incredible touchscreen gestures, such as long-press to cut/select and paste (like on Android/iOS)

  2. KDE is waiting for Wayland for a good touchscreen support. Porting KWin takes time and current touchscreen implementation is still buggy... wait and see...

If your favorite IDE has no touchscreen support:

  • Chromium-based browser supports touchscreen on Linux for a while

  • Firefox v45 (2016) supports touchscreen on Linux (bugs 978679 and 1217515 have been finally fixed) but you may have to use environment variable MOZ_USE_XINPUT2=1 (see question Enable touch-scrolling in Firefox and bug 1268599)

  • Touchégg intercepts multi-touch gestures as two fingers to scroll from touchscreen and touchpad devices and translates them to mouse events as wheel movements (see video on Kubuntu 14.04 posted in 2016)

See also

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