Linux gives lots of choices when it comes to choosing its distributions. Every distribution has its own look, functionality and reasons to use or not to use. Many people would suggest Ubuntu or Linux Mint as beginner’s Linux distro but only Ubuntu has eight official flavors that have completely different working and desktop environment from each other. Imagine if Windows let you choose your desktop style, colors and fonts as per your personal preferences.
In Linux world, the choices for desktop environments are endless. Either you are looking for modern design, flat UI or simplified desktop experience, Linux distributions have everything for you. Desktop environment is different from the core of the operating system that is Kernel. Every OS has its kernel which directly control your hardware. Every command given by you would get translated into something your hardware understands. Kernel is like brain of your OS.
For us, as human it is not easy to remember all those commands and interact with hardware at the pace, we currently need. Here comes the desktop environment for our rescue. The desktop software works as middle man between us and hardware. You can’t simply install or uninstall these. In Linux, desktop environment is a modular piece of software which can be customized as per your preferences. You can even create your own desktop style by mixing parts you like from other desktop environment, although it would require higher level of programming skills.
Be default Ubuntu has Gnome desktop environment which is quite attractive and look intuitive compare to Windows or macOS. But Ubuntu also offer variety of different flavors. Kubuntu has KDE Plasma, Xubuntu uses Xfce which is very lightweight and robust. Either you are on Ubuntu or Mint, you can have entirely different and unique desktop environment other users have. If you are not sure, which flavor you would like to have, stick with defaults and learn as you advance in Linux World.