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I am planning to switch my desktop environment and I am a noob with linux and ubuntu and I just use it as it is no other software is installed but now I want to change to a different desktop enviroment and my question is that will I still get updates or will it be rooting an android phone I will not get any updates. Also will I be able to keep the applications like Firefox and libre office to my new desktop (lxde).

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Changing your desktop system does not prevent your computer from getting updates.

You may no longer see notifications about updates, as they are targeted at displaying on the default desktop system. You also may find it harder to run graphical programs to perform updates, as they are built for Gnome.

You can always use the command line to do updates:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
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dist-upgrade only upgrades packages that either have new dependencies or will remove another package. For most updates sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade will do. –  Seth Feb 26 '13 at 23:16
    
Seth: correct. I updated the answer to include your better command. –  Stephen Ostermiller Feb 26 '13 at 23:18
    
"You may no longer see notifications about updates" can be avoided if OP just adds a new desktop. This way, all "desktops" will receive updates. Then, login time will provide the option to choose. Anyway, the question doesn't make clear whether OP wishes to remove the unnamed desktop and replace it with another desktop (lxde). Also, the reason for wanting to switch isn't mentioned :) –  user25656 Feb 27 '13 at 1:13
    
@Seth, I've switched from sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade to sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade a couple of months ago. I'm not seeing any downside (yet). –  user25656 Feb 27 '13 at 1:15
    
@vasa1 Using dist-upgrade as your main way of getting updates is not recommended because it will not double check with you if updating one package will remove another. If you don't pay enough attention packages/dependencies could go missing or break. –  Seth Feb 28 '13 at 4:25

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