Razor-qt: A New Lightweight Desktop Manager For Linux

When it comes to desktop manager for Linux, you are sure pampered with choices. Hate the Gnome desktop? You can change it to KDE, XFCE, WindowMaker, Openbox, LXDE or even Enlightenment. And there is a new kid on the block: Razor-qt.

Razor-qt is a lightweight and fast desktop manager based on Qt technologies. It strips out the bulkiness in Gnome and KDE, yet offers you a way to customize and control your own desktop. Best of all, it works great on old machine too.


Razor-qt is available for a wide range of distro. In Ubuntu, you can install it from its PPA.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:razor-qt/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install razorqt

For installation on other distro, check out the page here.

Once you have installed Razor-qt, log out of your current session. At the login screen, select the “Razor Desktop” from the session selection button (the “Gearwheel” button)


Razor Desktop

This is what you will see once you are logged in. It is almost bare.


There is a panel at the bottom of the screen and on it contained the application menu, desktop switcher and the system tray. You can open the application menu and drag the icon to the quick launch section in the panel. It looks and feels just like the good old Gnome panel, but functions like the KDE panel.

The whole desktop focuses mainly on the context menu (right mouse click). You can right-click anywhere on the screen and access the application menu and/or logout/shutdown the PC. This make me think of the Enlightenment way of accessing your applications.


One bad thing though, this also means that you lose your context menu functionality when you right-click on any file in the desktop.

Since it is based on the Qt technologies, which is similar to KDE, you will also find familiar KDE features here. Right click and select “Edit desktop” and you will be able to add Widgets to the desktop. The big clock widget is a familiar one and you can add icon-view widget to hold any file and folder.


At the moment, there are only 3 widgets that you can use and Icon View is the only useful widget in the list. It would have to come with a lot more widgets for this feature to become very useful.


Razor-qt is still a new project, so it is fairly barebone. However, some of the features, like the panel, context application launcher and icon view widget are well implemented and it seems to me that the developer is grabbing the best from each DE and put them into Razor-qt. Not a bad idea though. As compared to other lightweight DE like LXDE and Openbox, the simplicity and speed of Razor-qt is there, but its lack of feature and plugins could be preventing users from using it as the default desktop manager, at least for the moment. Hopefully, it will get better.

What do you think?



Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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