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In a previous version of Ubuntu, I had installed Gnome (classic) as well as Gnome Shell. Now, after upgrading to 12.10, I'm satisfied with Unity and would like to remove the Gnome packages that are no longer needed. However, I'm concerned that I'll break Unity...

How can I safely remove Gnome classic and Gnome Shell from my system?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

you can do it with

sudo apt-get remove gnome-shell

and for gnome-classic

sudo apt-get remove gnome-session-fallback

this won't break unity.

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Depending upon how you installed the Gnome Classic, you might also need to remove gnome-panel. Also, remember to purge unused dependencies after these commands with sudo apt-get autoremove. – Jorge Suárez de Lis Jan 20 '13 at 17:37
@JorgeSuárezdeLis I agree with you .+1. – Raja Jan 20 '13 at 17:38
I've confirmed that this removes Gnome, Gnome Classic, and a whole pile of dependencies. Unity unaffected. Thanks! – rcourtna Jan 20 '13 at 20:50
@rcourtna you're welcome Friend. – Raja Jan 21 '13 at 1:36

The easy way

Look for a "meta package" that was installed as the "desktop", and by uninstalling this, apt should remove all packages that comprise the meta package. (I still need to confirm this, but just read it in a few posts here

The hard way

I went after the GNOME Desktop Manager

sudo apt-get purge gdm

and then to cleanup the leftovers

sudo apt-get autoremove

NOTE: autoremove removes unneeded files associated to most recent purge/remove, so it needs to be run each and every time.

These two commands may not remove everything though, so to look for remaining items, I did

dpkg-query -l *desktop*
dpkg-query -l *gnome*

and purged the remaining packages from these lists (also using autoremove aftwards).

To check your progress, after each purge/remove/uninstall, flip back to GUI login screen (ctl-alt-f7) and watch it be dismantled.

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