What is the name of the GUI that comes by default with recent standard raspbian images (I have 2015-05-05-raspbian-wheezy.img)? Is it LXDE?

Is there a reason why, in the GUI of the standard raspbian distribution, there is no About menu item, telling the details of the GUI?

Sorry, I'm aware it's a dumb question, but for some reason it seems hard to find answers online.

1 Answer 1


The default from the last (2015-09-24), and as far as I am aware all previous, Raspbian images is indeed LXDE. This may depend on you running raspi-config, but both the "Desktop GUI" choices there enable lightdm, which then uses openbox and lxde. Raspi-config runs on the first boot, but if you exit it prematurely or without making a choice you may or may not actually get a graphical login.

Lightdm is the GUI login, (aka. the DM), a separate application from the DE. On Raspbian 8 (aka. jessie) this is enabled via systemd:

systemctl set-default graphical.target

This target wants a "display-manager.service" that doesn't exist initially but I believe lightdm.service ends up symlinked as that.

On Raspbian 7 (aka. wheezy) it's determined by enabling lightdm in runlevel 2:

update-rc.d lightdm enable 2

You can tell which one you are using (7 or 8) from cat /etc/issue, but the end result is the same. Note you don't have to run the above commands if you used raspi-config to set the boot mode.

Technically lightdm can offer a choice of DE's to load after you login, based on the contents of /usr/share/xsessions, but the only one in the Raspbian image is LXDE. There are also configs for lightdm itself and openbox, the WM used by LXDE.

DEs generally require a WM, but many WMs (including openbox) can be run alone, without a DE.

Lightdm's home page explains it's configuration.

LXDE has been around almost a decade and was chosen for use on Raspbian because it requires less resources than the other DEs used as Debian defaults (KDE, GNOME, and XFCE). Like other DEs, it is configurable and hence there are superficial differences in appearance, etc., from one distro to another. Via the home page you can find links to the LXDE forum and the LXDE wiki.

Here's our list of questions tagged lxde and here's the corresponding list at U&L.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.