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Thread: Change Desktop Environment

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2024

    Change Desktop Environment

    Hi everyone, I am Emmanuel Katto and I'm new to Ubuntu. I'm having some trouble figuring out how to change my desktop environment. I've heard of GNOME, KDE, and XFCE, but I'm not sure how to switch between them. I currently have the default GNOME desktop environment, but I'd like to try something else.

    Can someone please guide me on how to switch to a different desktop environment?

    Emmanuel Katto
    Last edited by QIII; 4 Weeks Ago at 09:46 AM. Reason: Clean up title

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010

    Re: Change Desktop Environment

    You could add another user or multiple users (Linux is designed for multi-user scenarios) and then download and install each desktop environment you want to try. Then when you login in to, say, user2 you would access that particular environment.

    However, there is a much simpler and in my opinion fun way which is to either use liveUSB versions or better still install a virtual machine client and install different flavours,

    If you are on Gnome take a look at Gnome Boxes (which can be installed from the repositories). It does not offer all the fine-tuning options that some other clients have but it does offer an easy way to install and use virtual machines.
    Last edited by QIII; 4 Weeks Ago at 09:47 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    melbourne, au
    Lubuntu Development Release

    Re: Change Desktop Environment

    I'm a lover of many desktops on my system...

    I'm using Ubuntu oracular currently, and the desktop I'm signed in with is a Lubuntu session, ie. I'm using the LXQt desktop as packaged by the Lubuntu team (I'm a Lubuntu team member), but my install media was actually an Xubuntu ISO. When I boot the system, it gets to the DM (Display Manager) which can also be called greeter, where I select my username & enter password... There is a area there where I can click & get a dropdown of options which let me choose the session I wish to use; which is where I can select Ubuntu Desktop (Xorg), Ubuntu Desktop (Wayland), Xubuntu Desktop... Lubuntu Desktop.. & many more. I usually just enter the password though & it logs in with whatever I used last.

    There are complications when using a multi-desktop system like I'm using, so be warned it's not really for newbies, further you can't keep adding desktops on a Ubuntu system and not expect strange quirks or issues (I've written about that here). Key complications can be

    - more packages installed; so larger footprint (ie. more disk space required for your system)
    - more packages to update; thus more & larger updates (bandwidth used)
    - more programs appearing in windows.. eg. if I search for text editor I'll see featherpad (Lubuntu LXQt), mousepad (Xubuntu Xfce), text (Ubuntu Desktop GNOME), pluma (Ubuntu MATE) etc... and using the wrong one for your desktop can use excess RAM (this won't be an issue if you have >5 GB of RAM)

    I still love it....

    ( I've used multiple desktops for decades.. but originally it was because I could download Ubuntu Desktop ISOs bandwidth free from home, install them & switch to a local mirror (making package upgrades/downloads bandwidth free) then remove the ubuntu-desktop package and all GUI that was installed, and install with the flavor-desktop I wanted to use still bandwidth/quota free... I accidentally didn't erase the ubuntu-desktop meta-package that was originally installed & discovered I could have multiple.. which is where I am now )


    - you can have multiple desktops installed (what I do now)
    - you can even remove what you had (do this at text terminal) then install the new desktop you want to try (what I originally did)
    - there are costs to multi-desktop installs (bandwidth, disk space, complexity), and if you bloat your system down too heavily additional quirks/problems can occur.
    Last edited by QIII; 4 Weeks Ago at 09:47 AM.

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