Does the UNIX or Linux has GUI?

Q. Sorry for a noob question – Does the UNIX or Linux system has GUI? Can I see screen shot of UNIX/Linux GUI?


A. Short answer: Yes.

Both Linux and UNIX have GUI system. Depend upon your level of expertise you can select GUI system:

Every Windows or Mac system has a standard file manager, utilities and text editor and help system. Similarly these days KDE and Gnome desktop manger are pretty standard on all UNIX platforms. X, Motif, CDE etc are old system and used by HP-UX, Solaris and other systems in the past.

Please note that It in UNIX the GUI is separate from the operating system itself. You can uninstall the GUI and still have a completely working UNIX system.

X Windows system

The X Window System is the underlying graphics system on all modern UNIX systems. X provides the facilities accept input from a mouse and keyboard, and the ability to draw graphical objects to a computer screen. So we use window manager like KDE or Gnome. You can easily find more options for a window manager which defines look and feel of an X-based Graphical User Interface.

Following are most commonly used Windows Manager on UNIX and Linux:

  • Gnome
  • KDE
  • CDE
  • twm
  • XFCE
  • AfterStep
  • Enlightenment
  • Motif Window Manager
  • Fluxbox

Please note that both KDE and Gnome are more powerful and complete system for an easy-to-use desktop environment. Both includes:

  • Office and productivity applications
  • Internet browsing and email software
  • Image viewer and editing tool
  • File managers
  • System tools
  • Development / programming editors and tools
  • Multimedia softwares and much more

Preview Linux/UNIX GUI

Live CD is a generic term for an operating system distribution that is executed upon boot, without installation on a hard drive. Typically, it is stored on bootable media such as a CD-ROM or DVD or USB pen.

You can download Ubuntu Live CD or Opensolaris Live CD or FreeBSD (freesbie) live CD to see the preview of UNIX GUI system.

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I'm Vivek Gite, and I write about Linux, macOS, Unix, IT, programming, infosec, and open source. Subscribe to my RSS feed or email newsletter for updates.

2 comments… add one
  • mike Apr 15, 2009 @ 5:56

    dude, this is the most simplistic yet comprehensive descriptions of what Unix is vs OS in a nut shell…. thank you sir, much appreciated, I will forward any num scull whom thinks Windows is defiant… for Unix is much much more capable given a correct GUI.

  • Joseph Martel May 24, 2013 @ 3:49

    I would like a Linux without all this, sudo this and sudo that. Big steps were made by Apple with GUI. Now, touch is coming in. Can we forget line commands?

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