For a project I need to write and execute Ansible scripts in a Linux environment (CentOS).

Though using the command line and vi is interesting, I need to use graphical file explorer and Visual Studio Code to edit files.

Because the Linux VMs available to me have low memory (3GB) and run on slower CPUs, GNOME 3 for Desktop is too slow.

Are there lighter GUIs in which I can run Visual Studio code?

  • How low is the dedicated memory?
    – Paradox
    Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 10:49
  • @Paradox I ran free -g , It says mem 3,swap 3 . I don't know whether it is 6 GB RAM or 3 GB RAM ? Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 11:01
  • It means 3GB or RAM + 3GB of swap. But 3GB is not that bad for a system with a desktop environment, even GNOME3.
    – Paradox
    Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 11:04

4 Answers 4


Given your use case, and if you are this low on memory, the best choice would be to switch to a lightweight Desktop Environnement (DE), such as:

If you are (even sort of) new to Linux, I would suggest you to stay away from Tilling Window Managers (TWM); although being extremely lightweight and powerful once configured and mastered, I do not think one of these would be a good idea given your situation.

If you want to install XFCE (example):

First, you need to add the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux (EPEL) repository, as this is where you will install packages from:

# yum -y install epel-release

Then you can install XFCE Desktop Environment as following:

# yum -y groupinstall X11
# yum -y groups install "Xfce"

After a reboot, you will be able to switch to XFCE4 instead of using GNOME3 at the login screen.

login screenshot

  • I get Module or Group 'Xfce' is not available on CentOS 8. Commented Feb 8, 2020 at 22:38
  • @NanashiNoGombe Are you using the EPEL repository? If yes, please post your question with much more details so we can help you.
    – Paradox
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 19:33

There is a lot of "lightweight" Desktop Environments and Windows Managers available to all Unix-Like Operating Systems. They are good for not being resource hungry, for having a bunch of basic tools for daily usage(terminal emulator, file manager, music player, menus, etc) but they can't operate miracles on hardware that is way too dated.

Some of the desktop environments are:

  • LXQt - A Qt based desktop, result from the merge of the LXDE and Razor-Qt interfaces merge.
  • XFCE - A Gnome'ish looking desktop focused on stability
  • Mate - A "Gnome 2 Fork", that tries to be as simple as Gnome 2 was.
  • Cinnamon - Same as Mate, but officially endorsed by Linux Mint

I'll not suggest tiling Window Managers here like i3wm cause, even if they are less resource hungry than any of the options above, they are "bare metal" and need a lot of customization/tunning to turn them usable. And since they are tiling, it can cause confusion on some users cause they are pretty intense on keyboard shortcuts using.

  • if i install XFCE , can i take remote desktop from windows? how to do it? Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 11:12
  • 1
    @Samselvaprabu This would be better in another question. Or edited in this one, but not in an answer's comment.
    – Paradox
    Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 11:20
  • 1
    @Paradox yes . make sense. will raise as separate question Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 11:21

You can use xfce as Desktop. See here how to install: https://www.rootusers.com/how-to-install-xfce-gui-in-centos-7-linux/


I use jwm. It is probably one of the most lightweight managers out there if all you want is to get your task done. It used to be the default in Puppy Linux. Install rofi also for starting programs.

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