This tag should be used for questions relating to desktop environments, and not a specific desktop environment such as Gnome Shell, KDE, XFCE, LXDE, Unity.

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205
votes
22answers
253k views

What kinds of desktop environments and shells are available?

This question exists as it fills a specific criterion. While you are encouraged to help maintain its answers, please understand that "big list" questions are not generally allowed on Ask Ubuntu ...
35
votes
4answers
45k views

How do I install and switch to the Unity 2D desktop?

I read that there is now a 2D version of Unity built on Qt. How do I install it, and once it's installed, how do I switch to it?
35
votes
4answers
11k views

What is the difference between a desktop environment and a window manager?

As the title says. I'm having a really hard time trying to understand what the differences between a desktop environment and a window manager are? EDIT: This is what I found out later. There are ...
32
votes
1answer
11k views

Why is Unity a “slow” desktop environment?

Background First of all, this is not a question about opinions. I am assuming that we are talking about Unity 3D and on a computer with decent graphics configuration. By "desktop environment", I am ...
31
votes
5answers
1k views

How to safely try KDE?

There's a way to safely try KDE on top of an Ubuntu installation, keeping the possibility to revert the changes in case I dislike how it runs?
23
votes
3answers
24k views

What is the difference between Ubuntu+XFCE and Xubuntu?

There are many derivatives to Ubuntu, of which Xubuntu is one, using XFCE as a desktop environment. One can install Xubuntu directly from an ISO or install XFCE as an alternative session on Ubuntu. I ...
22
votes
5answers
21k views

How do I install MATE (the desktop environment)?

I have seen several youtube videos that are showing MATE (The Gnome 2.x fork) installed in 11.10. How can I install it to test it out in 11.10 and above. If it helps the only sources I know of are: ...
22
votes
3answers
30k views

How do I switch to Xubuntu?

I'd like to use Xubuntu in 11.10 instead of Unity, how do I install it and switch to it?
21
votes
3answers
63k views

Switching window manager/desktop environments?

In general what is the approach to switch the desktop environment or window manager on Ubuntu? The main difference between stock Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Lubuntu is supposedly the use of Unity vs. KDE vs. ...
19
votes
8answers
41k views

How do I install Enlightenment (E17)?

Has anybody tried E17 on Ubuntu, as an alternative to Gnome/KDE? How does one install it?
18
votes
2answers
10k views

Open application in specific workspace

I would like to have some applications always appear in a specific workspace. For example: I would like my mp3 player on the bottom left workspace, and terminal application on the bottom right one; I ...
17
votes
8answers
41k views

What's the lightest Ubuntu desktop environment? [duplicate]

My computer has 1GB ram and a very low graphic card, but I don't know how much powerful it is. My computer is very slow with Ubuntu Unity and I saw that there are many desktop environments which are ...
16
votes
5answers
56k views

An easy way to create a desktop shortcut?

I wonder, isn't there still an easy way to create a desktop shortcut in Ubuntu 14.04 (or Unity)? There is no context menu on desktop doing this. So I tried the following: I looked for an app I want ...
15
votes
2answers
31k views

How do I install LXDE / Lubuntu?

I want to install lubuntu on my current (pre-existing) Ubuntu Install because of it's light-weight footprint. Can I preserve currently installed apps after installation?
15
votes
3answers
11k views

How many Ubuntu users are there worldwide ?

Was just wondering if there is any solid data available as to how many people are using ubuntu. I was also interested in the attrition rate with ubuntu users, etc.
15
votes
2answers
810 views

Is it possible to put a GUI to more than just TTY7?

My question is pretty much the title. I often use TTYs for handling different matters in parallel. This could be for instance: something local on TTY1 per SSH on ServerA on TTY2 per SSH on ServerB ...
13
votes
5answers
11k views

How can I make Ubuntu/GNOME look better i.e more smaller and compact?

I like Ubuntu and I don't use Windows except at office but I have always felt that every thing in Ubuntu/Gnome is a bit bigger than it should be i.e the fonts, desktop icons, the window borders and ...
12
votes
2answers
9k views

what is KDE, GTK, GTK+, QT, and/or GNOME?

I'm new to Ubuntu (and linux in general). Some times when looking at programs in the Ubuntu Software Center, I see things about the programs being 'for the GTK+ environment', or 'for GNOME', or a ...
12
votes
3answers
37k views

How to remove desktop environments?

I installed few environments that I wanted to try out on Ubuntu 12.04, but none of them worked at all. It could be that I installed them all at the same time, meaning the OS didn't get a chance to ...
12
votes
3answers
28k views

Difference between Unity and GNOME

I often come across the terms Unity and GNOME while reading about Ubuntu. I understand that Unity is the default desktop environment for Ubuntu. What is GNOME and how is it related to/different from ...
12
votes
2answers
816 views

Is there a dynamic-multiple-monitor friendly desktop environment available for Ubuntu?

I use a laptop and like to migrate during the day from one (physical) workplace to another and connect to an external monitor if available. I also must multitask a lot, so I have a lot of windows ...
11
votes
6answers
13k views

How can I find which desktop enviroment I am using? [duplicate]

as the title: How can I find which desktop environment I am using? I want to accomplish this using command line.
11
votes
4answers
585 views

Is Unity a Desktop Environment?

I read somewere that Unity is a DE, is that true or not?
10
votes
5answers
705 views

Will Ubuntu TV be offered in different desktop environments?

Will Ubuntu TV run on all available desktop environments? Which environments will Ubuntu TV run at?
10
votes
2answers
474 views

Auto switch workspaces

I have several monitoring applications that we would like to project using a projector in the IT area of our office. One of the apps is a Java application (so auto switching tabs in a browser will ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

How to quick switch between desktop environments in the running desktop session?

Is there a way to quick switch (preferably from command line) between one desktop environment to other; say, from Unity to classical GNOME without having to close any of the running applications in ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I make the login screens and boot splashes match when installing different desktops?

I wanted to try out different desktop environments so I installed XFCE, KDE, GNOME, etc on top of Unity in Ubuntu 12.04 After a while I decided that I didn't like those other DEs and would stick to ...
10
votes
5answers
817 views

How to make multiple DEs less messy? Specifically KDE on Ubuntu

On one of my laptops, I installed all of the popular DEs because I like to experiment with them. I have Unity, GNOME Shell, KDE, and xfce all installed. It seems that KDE and GNOME don't "get ...
9
votes
1answer
5k views

Is it possible to use multiple desktop environments on same system?

I am using Ubuntu 12.04. I want to try out KDE and other desktop environments. But I'm not sure if I'll like them enough to switch permanently. I want to be safe and make a transition in a piecemeal ...
9
votes
6answers
5k views

Is there an android-like live wallpaper for unity?

Is there any program which can run a 'live wallpaper' like the ones in Android? I've searched quite a bit but haven't found anything usable yet. anibg looks promising, but it is not working in 12.10. ...
9
votes
2answers
793 views

Setting different default applications for different Desktop Environments

I am using Ubuntu 12.04 with default Unity interface. I installed later the KDE desktop, XFCE, LXDE, gnome-shell and Cinnamon. The KDE comes with different default applications than Unity, such as ...
9
votes
3answers
741 views

How can I switch my current session between Unity, Unity 2D, and Gnome?

If I am currently logged in to Unity, is there a way for me to switch my current session to Unity 2D or Gnome without logging out and in again? I know I can restart Unity by running unity --replace. ...
8
votes
3answers
6k views

What is the difference between Lubuntu and LXDE?

I am planning on using lubuntu, or lxde. One is a distro, one is a de, both are the same? I am confused. What would be the best way to go about installing? Fresh from terminal after installing ...
8
votes
1answer
24k views

Remove ubuntu-gnome-desktop?

I've recently installed ubuntu-gnome-desktop on my Ubuntu 12.10 32 bit system. It all worked, but now I would like to remove it again, since I like Unity better. This includes undoing all changes like ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Do different desktop environments affect game performance?

I am in the midst of building my own Ubuntu gaming computer, and I was wondering: If I used a variation of Ubuntu, such as Lubuntu, would more resources be put into the game(s), because the operating ...
8
votes
3answers
648 views

Lubuntu as an official derivative of Ubuntu

The four main desktop environments are GNOME, KDE, XFCE and LXDE. While Kubuntu and Xubuntu are considered official derivatives of Ubuntu, Lubuntu is not. Why is that so? Update: Lubuntu has gained ...
8
votes
6answers
18k views

How heavy on resources is Cinnamon desktop environment?

I have a 1GB RAM PC running Lubuntu. In Xubuntu is still ok, but in KDE and Unity it is not. (The condition of my PC appears clearly in this answer). Compared to these DE-s, where stands Cinnamon? I ...
8
votes
1answer
214 views

Will there still be a separate Netbook edition after Unity becomes the default desktop environment?

After a long time of enjoying the bliss of ignorance I've been reading up a bit on the developments in the land of desktop environments. One thing I didn't find was whether there will still be (a need ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Installing MATE desktop environment without installing the applications

I want to install MATE desktop only, without applications. I already have apps from GNOME 3 - nautilus, file-roller, gedit. But when I sudo apt-get install mate-core, it asks to install caja, pluma, ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

lightweight window manager/desktop environment similar to Unity

I am looking for a lightweight window manager/desktop environment similar to Unity, but not Unity/Unity-2D GNOME or KDE. Specifically, I'm looking for something light with the following features: ...
7
votes
1answer
774 views

KDE, GNOME, XFCE, Unity, ad-nauseum… Can a GUI app run in X without any of these?

This upcoming Ubuntu move to Unity as its Desktop Manager, got me wondering where the modular line lies between a Desktop Manager and X. My understanding is that X is a window manager, and window ...
7
votes
2answers
223 views

autocomplete at desktop level

I often type the same words in several applications: Editor (emacs, vi) Webbrowser Shells It would be great to have an autocomplete of the words I typed during the last week available in all the ...
7
votes
4answers
952 views

Is there a tablet-centric desktop available for Ubuntu?

I have a Lenovo x61 tablet PC running Ubuntu 10.04. I've got Karol Krizka's auto-rotate daemon working, along with a variety of other applications like cellwriter, though for some reason even when ...
6
votes
2answers
8k views

How to return the login screen to the default

I've been experimenting with various Desktop Environments, including LXDE, XFCE, KDE. I'm returning to Unity, and I would like my login screen back to the default for 12.04. I think that it changed ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a Unity alternative?

I've been using natty since it came out now. I'm a developer and unity doesn't fit my workflow. I figured out how to disable unity (from the login screen) a week ago, but everything seems to be ...
6
votes
4answers
13k views

Start ubuntu without a desktop environment but start an X application

I want to do a small computer just for internet browsing. I dont want to load a desktop environment to keep RAM, CPU and GPU ussage as low as possible. The computer is going to run on a ARM CPU. I ...
6
votes
3answers
16k views

Completely Remove LXDE/Lubuntu Desktop Environment

I've install LXDE on my laptop due to Unity's disappointing performance. But now, I want to completely remove LXDE including it's entire list of programs that came installed with it. How do I go about ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Change launcher icon opacity/brightness

Is there any way to reduce the opacity/brightness of launcher icons in Ubuntu 12? They are too vivid and colorful, which distracts me a little. Coders will know. It wouldn't bother me if the ...
6
votes
3answers
576 views

Do apps designed for a different desktop environment (GNOME, XFCE, LXDE, …) break?

Is it true that each app is designed for its own desktop environment (like GNOME, XFCE, LXDE, etc.)? If I try to use an app that's made for a different desktop than I'm using (like using a GNOME app ...
6
votes
1answer
4k views

Run a GUI program at startup on top of X with no window manager

I want to start a program on top of X after startup. I want no desktop manager, nor window manager, but I just want to start a single program like Firefox after startup. Is there a standard way to do ...