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I've installed lubuntu-desktop and xubuntu-desktop on an Ubuntu 12.10 installation.
Is there any way to remove the default gnome/unuty programs or at least the applications in the lubuntu-desktop meta-package, so I will have something like a Xubuntu system?

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The technique detailed here tends to work for this.

As stated there, it could potentially cause breakage, the sense of your Ubuntu system not starting up or not working right. It's unlikely to cause data loss. (That is, you should still be able to recover any documents or other important files you need and reinstall Ubuntu, if something goes wrong.) My understanding is that this procedure works well for most people, and that problems are infrequent.

You only have Ubuntu, Lubuntu, and Xubuntu packages installed, you want keep Xubuntu, and the version is 12.10, so it's sufficient for you just to run these two commands:

sudo apt-get remove account-plugin-aim account-plugin-facebook account-plugin-flickr account-plugin-google account-plugin-icons account-plugin-identica account-plugin-jabber account-plugin-salut account-plugin-twitter account-plugin-windows-live account-plugin-yahoo activity-log-manager-common activity-log-manager-control-center adium-theme-ubuntu aisleriot apg appmenu-gtk appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-qt apturl apturl-common bamfdaemon baobab bluez-gstreamer branding-ubuntu brasero brasero-cdrkit brasero-common checkbox checkbox-qt compiz compiz-core compiz-gnome compiz-plugins-default cracklib-runtime cryptsetup-bin dconf-tools deja-dup duplicity dvd+rw-tools empathy empathy-common eog evolution-data-server evolution-data-server-common example-content folks-common freerdp-x11 gedit gedit-common geoclue geoclue-ubuntu-geoip gir1.2-accounts-1.0 gir1.2-dbusmenu-glib-0.4 gir1.2-dee-1.0 gir1.2-gdata-0.0 gir1.2-gnomebluetooth-1.0 gir1.2-gnomekeyring-1.0 gir1.2-goa-1.0 gir1.2-gst-plugins-base-0.10 gir1.2-gstreamer-0.10 gir1.2-gtksource-3.0 gir1.2-indicate-0.7 gir1.2-messagingmenu-1.0 gir1.2-notify-0.7 gir1.2-peas-1.0 gir1.2-rb-3.0 gir1.2-signon-1.0 gir1.2-syncmenu-0.1 gir1.2-totem-1.0 gir1.2-totem-plparser-1.0 gir1.2-ubuntuoneui-3.0 gir1.2-unity-5.0 gnome-bluetooth gnome-contacts gnome-control-center gnome-control-center-data gnome-control-center-signon gnome-desktop3-data gnome-disk-utility gnome-font-viewer gnome-icon-theme-symbolic gnome-mahjongg gnome-media gnome-menus gnome-online-accounts gnome-orca gnome-power-manager gnome-screensaver gnome-screenshot gnome-session gnome-session-bin gnome-session-canberra gnome-session-common gnome-settings-daemon gnome-system-log gnome-system-monitor gnome-terminal gnome-terminal-data gnome-user-share growisofs gstreamer0.10-gconf guile-1.8-libs gwibber gwibber-service gwibber-service-facebook gwibber-service-identica gwibber-service-twitter hwdata indicator-appmenu indicator-datetime indicator-messages indicator-power indicator-printers indicator-session intel-gpu-tools landscape-client-ui-install libaccount-plugin-1.0-0 libaccounts-glib0 libaccounts-qt1 libatk-adaptor libatk-adaptor-data libaudio2 libavahi-gobject0 libbamf3-0 libboost-date-time1.49.0 libbrasero-media3-1 libcamel-1.2-40 libcanberra-gtk-module libcanberra-gtk0 libcanberra-pulse libclutter-1.0-0 libclutter-1.0-common libclutter-gst-1.0-0 libclutter-gtk-1.0-0 libcmis-0.2-2 libcogl-common libcogl-pango0 libcogl9 libcompizconfig0 libcrack2 libcrypt-passwdmd5-perl libcryptsetup4 libcurl3-nss libdbusmenu-qt2 libdecoration0 libdee-1.0-4 libdiscid0 libdmapsharing-3.0-2 libebackend-1.2-5 libebook-1.2-14 libecal-1.2-15 libedata-book-1.2-15 libedata-cal-1.2-18 libedataserver-1.2-17 libexempi3 libexttextcat-1.0-0 libexttextcat-data libfolks-eds25 libfolks-telepathy25 libfolks25 libfreerdp-plugins-standard libfreerdp1 libgail-common libgail18 libgdata-common libgdata13 libgexiv2-1 libglew1.8 libglewmx1.8 libgmime-2.6-0 libgnome-control-center1 libgnome-desktop-3-4 libgnome-media-profiles-3.0-0 libgnome-menu2 libgnomekbd-common libgnomekbd8 libgoa-1.0-0 libgoa-1.0-common libgpgme11 libgpod-common libgpod4 libgtksourceview-3.0-0 libgtksourceview-3.0-common libgtkspell-3-0 libgweather-3-1 libgweather-common libgwibber-gtk3 libgwibber3 libhyphen0 libjs-jquery liblircclient0 liblouis-data liblouis2 liblvm2app2.2 libmessaging-menu0 libmetacity-private0a libmission-control-plugins0 libmng1 libmtp-common libmtp-runtime libmtp9 libmusicbrainz5-0 libmx-1.0-2 libmx-bin libmx-common libmysqlclient18 libmythes-1.2-0 libneon27-gnutls libnux-3.0-0 libnux-3.0-common liboauth0 libpackagekit-glib2-14 libpam-freerdp libpeas-1.0-0 libpeas-common libprotobuf7 libprotoc7 libproxy1-plugin-gsettings libproxy1-plugin-networkmanager libpth20 libpwquality1 libpython3.2 libqjson0 libqt4-dbus libqt4-declarative libqt4-designer libqt4-help libqt4-network libqt4-script libqt4-scripttools libqt4-sql libqt4-sql-mysql libqt4-sql-sqlite libqt4-svg libqt4-test libqt4-xml libqt4-xmlpatterns libqtassistantclient4 libqtcore4 libqtgui4 libqtwebkit4 libquvi-scripts libquvi7 libraw5 libreoffice-base-core libreoffice-calc libreoffice-common libreoffice-core libreoffice-draw libreoffice-emailmerge libreoffice-gnome libreoffice-gtk libreoffice-help-en-us libreoffice-impress libreoffice-math libreoffice-ogltrans libreoffice-pdfimport libreoffice-presentation-minimizer libreoffice-presenter-console libreoffice-style-human libreoffice-style-tango libreoffice-writer librest-0.7-0 librhythmbox-core6 librsync1 libsgutils2-2 libsignon-extension1 libsignon-glib1 libsignon-plugins-common1 libsignon-qt1 libssh-4 libstlport4.6ldbl libsync-menu1 libsyncdaemon-1.0-1 libtelepathy-farstream2 libtelepathy-logger2 libtimezonemap1 libtotem-plparser17 libtotem0 libubuntuoneui-3.0-1 libufe-xidgetter0 libunity-core-6.0-5 libunity-misc4 libunity-protocol-private0 libunity-webapps0 libunity9 libvncserver0 libwacom-common libwacom2 libwmf0.2-7-gtk libzeitgeist-1.0-1 light-themes lightdm-remote-session-freerdp lightdm-remote-session-uccsconfigure linux-headers-generic-pae mcp-account-manager-uoa media-player-info metacity-common mousetweaks mysql-common nautilus nautilus-sendto nautilus-sendto-empathy nautilus-share notify-osd notify-osd-icons nux-tools obexd-client overlay-scrollbar overlay-scrollbar-gtk2 overlay-scrollbar-gtk3 plymouth-theme-ubuntu-logo protobuf-compiler pulseaudio-module-bluetooth pulseaudio-module-gconf python-apport python-configglue python-gnupginterface python-mako python-markupsafe python-problem-report python-protobuf python-pyinotify python-qt4 python-qt4-dbus python-simplejson python-sip python-twisted-names python-ubuntuone-client python-ubuntuone-control-panel python-ubuntuone-storageprotocol python-uno python-zeitgeist python3-brlapi python3-crypto python3-httplib2 python3-louis python3-lxml python3-oauthlib python3-pyatspi2 python3-pycurl python3-speechd qdbus qt-at-spi remmina remmina-common remmina-plugin-rdp remmina-plugin-vnc remote-login-service rhythmbox rhythmbox-data rhythmbox-mozilla rhythmbox-plugin-cdrecorder rhythmbox-plugin-magnatune rhythmbox-plugin-zeitgeist rhythmbox-plugins rhythmbox-ubuntuone seahorse session-migration shotwell signon-keyring-extension signon-plugin-oauth2 signon-plugin-password signon-ui signond sni-qt ssh-askpass-gnome syslinux syslinux-common syslinux-legacy telepathy-gabble telepathy-haze telepathy-idle telepathy-indicator telepathy-logger telepathy-mission-control-5 telepathy-salut thin-client-config-agent thunderbird-gnome-support totem totem-common totem-mozilla totem-plugins ubuntu-artwork ubuntu-desktop ubuntu-docs ubuntu-mono ubuntu-settings ubuntu-sounds ubuntu-sso-client-qt ubuntu-system-service ubuntu-wallpapers ubuntu-wallpapers-quantal ubuntuone-client ubuntuone-client-gnome ubuntuone-control-panel ubuntuone-control-panel-qt ubuntuone-couch udisks unity unity-asset-pool unity-common unity-greeter unity-lens-applications unity-lens-files unity-lens-gwibber unity-lens-music unity-lens-photos unity-lens-shopping unity-lens-video unity-scope-gdocs unity-scope-musicstores unity-scope-video-remote unity-services unity-webapps-common unity-webapps-service uno-libs3 ure usb-creator-common usb-creator-gtk vino wodim xdiagnose xfonts-mathml xul-ext-unity xul-ext-websites-integration zeitgeist zeitgeist-core zeitgeist-datahub && sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop && sudo /usr/lib/lightdm/lightdm-set-defaults -g lightdm-gtk-greeter
sudo apt-get remove ace-of-penguins audacious audacious-plugins audacious-plugins-data chromium-browser chromium-browser-l10n chromium-codecs-ffmpeg cracklib-runtime elementary-icon-theme galculator gdebi gdebi-core gecko-mediaplayer giblib1 gir1.2-notify-0.7 gnome-desktop-data gnome-disk-utility gnome-icon-theme-full gnome-icon-theme-symbolic gnome-mplayer gnumeric gnumeric-common gnumeric-doc gpicview guvcview hardinfo libaacs0 libass4 libaudclient2 libaudcore1 libaudio2 libavcodec53 libavformat53 libavutil51 libbinio1ldbl libbluray1 libbs2b0 libcddb2 libcolamd2.7.1 libcompfaceg1 libcrack2 libcue1 libdca0 libdirectfb-1.2-9 libdiscid0 libdvdnav4 libdvdread4 libenca0 libept1.4.12 libfaad2 libfluidsynth1 libfm-data libfm-gtk-bin libfm-gtk-data libfm-gtk3 libfm3 libgif4 libgmlib0 libgmtk0 libgmtk0-data libgoffice-0.8-8 libgoffice-0.8-8-common libgpgme11 libgpod-common libgpod4 libgsm1 libguess1 libid3tag0 libimlib2 liblircclient0 libmenu-cache1 libmms0 libmodplug1 libmowgli2 libmp3lame0 libmpg123-0 libmtp-common libmtp-runtime libmtp9 libmusicbrainz3-6 libneon27-gnutls libobrender27 libobt0 libonig2 libopts25 libpisock9 libpostproc52 libpth20 libpwquality1 libresid-builder0c2a libschroedinger-1.0-0 libsdl1.2debian libsgutils2-2 libsidplay2 libswscale2 libts-0.0-0 libuniconf4.6 libva1 libvdpau1 libvpx1 libwebcam0 libwvstreams4.6-base libwvstreams4.6-extras libxvidcore4 lm-sensors lp-solve lubuntu-artwork lubuntu-artwork-12-10 lubuntu-core lubuntu-default-settings lubuntu-desktop lubuntu-icon-theme lubuntu-lxpanel-icons lubuntu-software-center lxappearance lxappearance-obconf lxinput lxkeymap lxlauncher lxmenu-data lxpanel lxpanel-indicator-applet-plugin lxrandr lxsession lxsession-data lxsession-edit lxshortcut lxtask lxterminal mplayer2 mtpaint ntp obconf openbox openbox-themes pcmanfm plymouth-theme-lubuntu-logo plymouth-theme-lubuntu-text python-pysqlite2 python-support python-xklavier scrot sylpheed sylpheed-doc sylpheed-i18n sylpheed-plugins synaptic transmission tsconf uvcdynctrl uvcdynctrl-data wvdial xfonts-100dpi xpad && sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

Note: As explained below, this applies only to Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal). If you're using 12.04, go here. If you're using 11.10, go here. If you're using 10.04, go here.

Once 13.04 is released, that will probably no longer point to the proper commands for 12.10 (but if not, you should be able to go there and click a link to get to the 12.10 version).

Keep in mind:

  • There's no need for you to run the commands to remove Kubuntu or Edubuntu because you don't have those.

  • The commands quoted here are for Ubuntu 12.10.

  • That page typically has the relevant commands for the latest stable release. That's currently Ubuntu 12.10, but for someone who wants to do this for an earlier version (or once an even later version comes out), it's important to navigate to the right page on that site. Once Ubuntu 13.04 comes out, it will be necessary to navigate to the 12.10 link to see the commands quoted here.

  • In case you're interested in more detail of how those commands work:

    They don't just remove packages. They also make sure the xubuntu-desktop pacakage gets reinstalled if it was removed as a consequence of the package uninstallations, which could potentially happen as part of apt-get's dependency resolution.

    (So theoretically it might be better to replace apt-get with aptitude in those commands as aptitude sometimes resolves dependencies better than apt-get, but I wouldn't recommend it as I don't think that's been tested and the effectiveness of this approach may rely on subtlety more than most acts of package management.)

    This is why sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop appears at the tail end of those commands. You'll notice sudo /usr/lib/lightdm/lightdm-set-defaults -g lightdm-gtk-greeter at the end of the first one, too. That configures the login screen to behave properly as an Xubuntu login screen.

Source: Getting Back to a Pure Xubuntu by Ubuntucat (one of the psychocats.net tutorials)

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