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Unity is good and fine, and does it's job (my machine running Ubuntu is simply my personal computer, no programming or anything being done) but sometimes it leaves a little to be desired. I have tweaked Unity about as much as I can since installing it but I'm still interested in trying out differnt DE's like Cinnamon and Gnome. The issue is the last two times I tried installing Gnome via PPA base on omgubuntu.com's instructions, it broke unity and I had to fresh install Ubuntu. Granted that was on 13.10. Now I am becoming interested in trying Cinnamon out, but don't want to risk compromising my computer...is it really as simple as this?

TL;DR Help me install Cinnamon ALONGSIDE my current unity without breaking system.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Jorge Castro, Eric Carvalho, mikewhatever, Warren Hill, Eliah Kagan Aug 18 at 0:27

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Everytime I tried to install another DE alongside it had left some trails that were problematic to clean. Be prepared. –  Barafu Albino Aug 9 at 2:36
    
You might want to ask this on Discourse. To the extent to which this is not a primarily opinion-based question, it's probably covered by How do I install the Cinnamon Desktop?. –  Eliah Kagan Aug 18 at 0:27

2 Answers 2

Generally, yes.

In the case of variants that are already in the main archive, the installation of the DE and related applications used by that variant (for example, KDE and its default applications in Kubuntu) is as easy as sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop. That being said, because there's no separations between the DE's, you will see programs that are default for Unity appear in KDE and programs that are default for KDE appear in Unity. You might even see two settings menus: one meant for Unity and one meant for KDE. (substitute KDE for Cinnamon here)

It may have been that since you were using a Gnome PPA, and since Unity is based at least in part by Gnome, different/unexpected versions of Gnome applications may have caused Unity to stop working. In general, this shouldn't happen for an unrelated DE.

On another note, since this is coming from a PPA, it falls on the PPA maintainer to make sure the packages are of a good quality and that there aren't any bugs at the packaging level.

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If you just want to try them out, I would highly recommend just booting a Live USB of Linux Mint or Ubuntu Gnome. In my experience, the actual distributions are much more reliable than sudo apt-get install xxx-desktop. Although this was also a few versions ago, I too had some really weird things after installing kubuntu-desktop.

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I agree with TheSchwa. Every time I've tried installing a DE to test, I've been left with oddities after the uninstall. –  amanthethy Aug 9 at 4:40
    
I disagree. Installing the *-desktop packages work well for me. –  Ramchandra Apte Aug 9 at 11:42

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