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I have a kubuntu 12.04 system to which I added gnome (unity) but I'm now wanting to remove gnome as I don't think I'll ever use it. doing apt-get remove ubuntu-desktop doesn't remove the packages, so how can I safely remove all the gnome components? I don't really want to do a clean install if I can avoid it.

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Desktops are meta packages: help.ubuntu.com/community/MetaPackages. These packages do not contain actual software, they simply depend on other packages to be installed. Earlier in the AskUbuntu: askubuntu.com/questions/73993/how-to-completely-remove-desktop –  user26687 Apr 2 '12 at 16:00

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I suggest , if you want to remove gnome, unity and ubuntu-desktop, try the following commands.

sudo apt-get remove --purge ubuntu-desktop

sudo apt-get remove --purge unity

sudo apt-get remove --purge gnome

I would also suggest you to run this last command just to be on the safe side, if any kde applications get removed, it will be installed back.

sudo apt-get install --reinstall kubuntu-desktop kubuntu-restricted-extras 
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