First of all, why choose just one? I used to run 2 or 3 different DEs when I wanted to test them out. Right now I'm in the Xfce camp as its just so lightweight and I'm not a big GUI user anyway. For those interested in multiple DEs: https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=971168#p971168 Another option is to build your own DE! I did a little bit of this using Openbox as the window manager and building on that with xcompmgr for compositing, pypanel, Avant Window Navigator, feh for wallpapers, etc. but it just takes so much work to really build it well down to fonts and icons which at the end of the day I didn't care about the details enough to warrant the work. Xfce gives me almost as much freedom and takes care of the small stuff like fonts and icons but it comes down to what you want to do and what you need your DE to do. Gnome, KDE are more robust full-featured while LXDE and Xfce are more lightweight and minimal so comparing them is like comparing apples to oranges. The only DE I really don't like it Unity. Thats when I left Ubuntu as the Unity bar would just crawl on my netbook. Although I've heard good things about Enlightenment I haven't tried it yet but I probably will soon. Anyone have it and like it a lot?