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Thread: Expected consequences of changing desktop environment (Ubuntu 18.04 GNOME)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2020
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    Expected consequences of changing desktop environment (Ubuntu 18.04 GNOME)

    Hi!
    I consider myself as a rookie in Linux and have started using Ubuntu 18.04 GNOME as my default OS only few months ago. So far I've hardened my system, configured and customized it a bit and installed over 40 applications. Most of them are well-known FOSS and many are security oriented. IMO none of the installed applications are in any way heavily "graphic hungry" (e.g. no heavy games).

    I'm not satisfied with my current default GNOME desktop environment and would like to change it to KDE Plasma. My question is that, is changing desktop environments "business as usual" in Linux world and if I install KDE Plasma and switch it as my default desktop environment, then should I expect any problems with the new desktop environment or should everything go smoothly? Should I expect e.g. any conflicts with installed applications? How about any configurations I've done? Should I expect any critical errors, e.g related to booting etc.? I'm going to backup my configurations and system files with Timeshift and I don't have any personal files stored (e.g. videos, photos etc.).

    My configurations include:

    Enabling default disk encryption during installation
    Configuring IPvanish VPN
    Firefox customization
    Enabling Night Light feature
    Installing Curl
    Tweaking with Gnome Tweaks and Unity Tweak Tool
    Installing exFAT support
    Setting static IP
    Installing Kali VM in Virtualbox
    Configuring Wazuh HIDS
    Forwarding syslogs to my NSM
    Enabling GNOME "minimize" icons feature
    Enabling backups with Timeshift

    My installed apps are following:

    pCloud
    KeePass
    Veracrypt
    Timeshift
    GUFW
    GParted
    GVM (OpenVAS)
    Wireshark
    Authy
    Signal
    Brave
    Tor browser
    Nmap
    ClamTk
    Lynis
    VirtualBox
    Testdisk
    gWakeOnLan
    Pinta
    Etcher
    Viber
    Gnome Tweaks
    Unity Tweak Tool
    Fast
    VokoscreenNG
    VLC
    Kdenlive
    Steam
    Avidemux
    Stacer
    Shutter
    Audio Recorder
    youtube-dl
    Caffeine
    my-weather-indicator
    TeamViewer
    Synaptic
    Gdebi (for installing .deb packages and to see their dependencies)
    Flatpak
    PlayOnLinux

    Thanks a lot guys!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Sunny Southend-on-Sea
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    7,653
    Distro
    Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver

    Re: Expected consequences of changing desktop environment (Ubuntu 18.04 GNOME)

    Quote Originally Posted by keijo-kukka View Post
    I'm not satisfied with my current default GNOME desktop environment and would like to change it to KDE Plasma. My question is that, is changing desktop environments "business as usual" in Linux world and if I install KDE Plasma and switch it as my default desktop environment, then should I expect any problems with the new desktop environment or should everything go smoothly?
    Gnome and KDE (and Xfce and Cinnamon and...) come with a bunch of applications: display manager, file browser, text editor, media player, PDF reader, and so on. That's pretty much what distinguishes a desktop environment from just a window manager. If you have a desktop environment and then you install a second desktop environment then you'll have two display managers, two file browsers, two text editors, two media players, and so on. Some people find that really annoying, others don't - you can go through each application and say that it shouldn't be shown in one desktop environment or the other to declutter your menus. Other than that, functionally you just pick whichever desktop environment session you'd like to log into from the login screen.
    None but ourselves can free our minds

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    474

    Re: Expected consequences of changing desktop environment (Ubuntu 18.04 GNOME)

    You will need to wait till someone who did it, can give better info. Some desktops play very nice together(gnome and unity), others will add extra. It is usually best if no info to test it out either in a VM or a Live Ubuntu USB stick. You have VirtualBox so you can even match what you have now and see if everything works, most programs should but some tweaks might not.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa

    Re: Expected consequences of changing desktop environment (Ubuntu 18.04 GNOME)

    Trying to get multiple DEs to coexist is a risky exercise. I can tell you from a long history of personal experience that the results are too often breakages or wonkiness so subtle that they are infuriating. I have found that the time I've wasted trying to track down strange behaviour due to mixed DEs was among the most frustrating of the issues I've dealt with, in part because they are so unnecessary.

    The problem is configuration files. All DEs install their own settings and configurations that they assume will not change. The installation of a second DE then monkeys with those settings. If those changes were more obvious, then one could at least pinpoint what the problem is. But many such changes are very obscure and don't bite until you are doing something important.

    My standard advice is to keep your base install absolutely dead simple. As close to its default state as possible. Experimenting with fundamental system configurations is best done within a VM, where mistakes can easily be corrected with snapshot rollbacks.

    If looking for more detail on this, please click the link in my sig: "The Best 'buntu Flavour".

  5. #5
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    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: Expected consequences of changing desktop environment (Ubuntu 18.04 GNOME)

    What will happen when you decide to remove the additional desktop? From my own experience I would suggest be prepared to reinstall as the least complicated way of putting things right. But you have installed a long list of applications. That was a lot of work. It will have to be down all over again with a reinstall. Run the full flavour in a VM or dual/triple boot. Keep your main install the way you like it. Is my suggestion.

    Regards.
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
    Ubuntu user #33,200. Linux user #530,530


  6. #6
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    Mar 2011
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    Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa

    Re: Expected consequences of changing desktop environment (Ubuntu 18.04 GNOME)

    Quote Originally Posted by grahammechanical View Post
    …or dual/triple boot. Keep your main install the way you like it. Is my suggestion…
    ↑+1

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2020
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    7

    Re: Expected consequences of changing desktop environment (Ubuntu 18.04 GNOME)

    Thank you guys very much for your advises!! I truly appreciate your opinions and will also try to contribute when I have something to share. Based on your know-how and long experiences, I've decided not to change my DE as it seems to be generally speaking bad idea. Possibly installing Kubuntu in the future might be a better long term option.

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