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I noticed that Ubuntu Unity (13.04) uses a lot of gnome related packages, even with no added stuff to its configuration. In a first install of Unity, I messed up with my configuration because I tried to install Gnome Shell, and when I finally tried to get rid of that, deleting lots of Gnome related stuff, I ended up with a broken Unity experience. In the end, no Unity at all!

So I'd like to understand the relation between the Ubuntu Unity desktop experience and the Gnome related packages.

I understood that GDM has been replaced with LightDM, but, among other things, is it safe to install Gnome utilies like Gnome Tweak Tool? Or the Gnome themes and background packages? Or will it finally mess up the Unity experience in the end?

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Extreamly. 99% of everything in Ubuntu (standard) is GTK/Gnome based. There are other flavors. You can view the list here

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Unity is not a replacement of GNOME. Rather, it runs on top of GNOME.

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Thanks, so Ubuntu "out of the box" is not Ubuntu Gnome, but relies a lot on Gnome anyway. It's something not really clear for the new user I guess. – greguti Jul 11 '13 at 14:09

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