Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've installed GNOME desktop on Kubuntu 12.04. But my speed of clicking take me to select Gnome as default desktop. Is there a way to switch from Gnome to KDE using terminal. I tried to Google it but nothing helped me to resolve my problem.

share|improve this question
Actually it is not a problem more like a customization Feature :) – atenz Aug 15 '12 at 5:09
up vote 0 down vote accepted

In 12.04, if you install a new desktop environment via terminal: e.g.

sudo apt-get install xfce4

During the installation the display manager pops up stating that you have more than one desktop environment but that you can only run one. It then asks you to select a default, so there's your opportunity.

I can't find a way to do it without having to install a new desktop...

share|improve this answer
Background: I was running Ubuntu 11, and had swapped from Unity to Gnome. While upgrading to 12.04, I noticed it mentioned a few things like deprecating Gnome packages, and I didn't pay much more attention. After the upgrade, it booted into a borked Gnome environment which barely function. Had to use Terminal to do the above. So perhaps a word of warning to anyone: upgrade Ubuntu while using Unity, in case it dumps a desktop environment in the process! – dr_faulk May 17 '13 at 21:25
nice, thanks :) – Hakam El Assouad Nov 26 '15 at 13:38

no, you log out and at the log in screen select KDE (or whatever you prefer). The log in manager will then keep your new selection as default.

share|improve this answer

You could try the environment name followed by --replace in the terminal. For example gnome-shell --replace to quickly swap environments.

share|improve this answer
This will just switch between different GNOME-based interfaces; this will not work nearly as well to switch between, for example, GNOME and KDE, since it's not just the shell (gnome-shell or unity in GNOME) that needs to be replaced by different interface components. – Eliah Kagan Aug 15 '12 at 5:06
I was not aware of that , thank you – MuffinStateWide Aug 19 '12 at 5:21

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.