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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318
votes
25answers
475k 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 and ...
49
votes
8answers
218k views

An easy way to create a desktop shortcut?

I wonder, isn't still there 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 ...
44
votes
4answers
23k 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 ...
40
votes
4answers
56k 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?
37
votes
3answers
58k 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 ...
36
votes
8answers
124k views

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

My computer has 1GB ram and a very end low graphics card, but I don't know how much power it has. Unity is very slow on my computer, and I saw that there are many desktop environments which are much ...
34
votes
4answers
121k 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. ...
33
votes
1answer
15k 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 ...
33
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?
31
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
30
votes
3answers
37k 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 ...
28
votes
3answers
50k 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?
28
votes
6answers
54k 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.
25
votes
6answers
39k 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: ...
24
votes
5answers
18k 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.
23
votes
2answers
22k views

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

I'm new to Ubuntu (and Linux in general). Sometimes 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
15k 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 ...
20
votes
8answers
45k views

How do I install Enlightenment (E17)?

Has anybody tried E17 on Ubuntu, as an alternative to Gnome/KDE? How does one install it?
20
votes
1answer
953 views

HUD in other window managers (especially xmonad)

It seems that HUD (Heads Up Display) is tightly tied to Unity. However I just use xmonad as a window manager, especially I don't use unity. Is there a way to use HUD within xmonad (or more generally ...
19
votes
2answers
45k 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?
19
votes
5answers
62k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Why does software differ from desktop to desktop environment?

I'm wondering why there are so many applications for the same purpose but for different desktop environments. Like the burning software Brasero for Gnome and K3B for KDE. Isn't this reinventing the ...
15
votes
1answer
9k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

What desktop environment is best suited for small children? [closed]

I've donated my old laptop to my 3 year old kid. Are there any desktop environments designed especially for this age group?
14
votes
5answers
14k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
47k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
29k views

Ubuntu 14.04 Desktop under Windows 8.1 Hyper-V

Is it possibly to speed up the graphics of Ubuntu 14.04 Desktop under Windows 8.1 Hyper-V anyhow? I've already decreased the screen resolution and disabled the COMPIZ video effects, but it's still ...
13
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
27k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
672 views

Is Unity a Desktop Environment?

I read somewere that Unity is a DE, is that true or not?
10
votes
2answers
8k views

Wallpaper is not changing and right click does not work on desktop in Ubuntu 14.04

Sorry if this question is already answered in some links; but I have already searched so much to find solution to my problem. Recently I installed gnome-shell and ubuntu-gnome-desktop to try gnome. I ...
10
votes
4answers
36k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
742 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
1k 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
6k 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
2k 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
1k 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 along",...
9
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
14k views

Switching from Server to Desktop

I have Ubuntu server 12.10 and I would like to switch to desktop and would like to know how? Thanks
9
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
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
3answers
411 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
938 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
794 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
2answers
9k views

Can I change my Ubuntu install into a different flavour (like Kubuntu)?

Can I convert Ubuntu into another form of Ubuntu like Kubuntu or Ubuntu Studio and the system recognize itself as the new form? UPDATE: After getting an answer and talking with people, I managed to ...
8
votes
2answers
13k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
6k views

list all installed desktop Environments in Ubuntu

I am Using Ubuntu 13.04 and I have installed many desktops environments to try them. Now I want to know is there any way I can list all the installed desktop environments from the command line tool.
8
votes
3answers
6k 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: ...
8
votes
5answers
64k views

Ubuntu boots on terminal only, how do I recover the GUI desktop?

Where is my Ubuntu desktop? Its booting and going always default to terminal screen, if i press Ctrl+Alt+F7 still in terminal Ctrl+Alt+F1 still in terminal. No GUI, how do I recover it? EDIT: sun@...
8
votes
3answers
668 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 ...