newbie here. UX Designer learning to code. I did a search for this but couldn't find an answer so I'm sorry if this is a dumb question.

I'm running Ubuntu 16.04. I've been trying out a couple of different Desktop Environments and it's resulted in too many applications made for those desktop environments clogging up my application folders. I'm current using Plasma which I think I'll probably stick with it (though I'm also thinking about taking a look at KDE Neon too).

I already know how to remove stuff via the CLI I think, but I was hoping there was a GUI way so that I could see everything all at once maybe?

I also don't know if I'm actually removing them correctly because when I removed xfce4 it removed it but the xfce terminal is still available in the menu, so I don't know if that means I have to go through and uninstall manually every single part of the desktop environment separately?

  • Seems like you are actually asking how to manage package dependencies graphically, instead of Desktop Environments?
    – user535733
    Jul 6, 2018 at 1:52
  • AFAIK there is no such thing. Some DEs have common apps and some apps that come as default in one DE may work in another installed DE. So it won't fail dependency test and get removed if the original DE is removed as long as an alternate compatible DE is installed.
    – user68186
    Jul 6, 2018 at 2:10
  • It sounds like you are removing files and not packages (which install the files). The greeter (where you login) allows you to select from your DEsktops; if you removed files incorrectly the DE may not run, but the database of what's on your system will still report its there (you have errors to come because of this) thus its offered as an option. Dolphin is a file manager, Synaptic, Aptitude, Muon etc are package managers & remove packages (removing the files that contain the code & links, plus cleaning up the database of what's on your system).
    – guiverc
    Jul 6, 2018 at 2:17
  • Where you install apps via a package manager, you should use the package manager to remove your files. If you install files yourself (via tarball, or however) you can freely remove them yourself as there are no system records of their being there (outside of them being on the filesystem).
    – guiverc
    Jul 6, 2018 at 2:18
  • 2
    To pile on here, if you want to cleanly examine different desktop environments (DEs), install the respective distros separately on their own individual partitions or start off with a minimal CD install and use that in a virtual environment (VBox, qemu/kvm/etc) with the desktop environment you wish to test. Desktop environment "developers" are not under any obligation to ensure that their DE will play well with some other DE installed before or after on the same system.
    – DK Bose
    Jul 6, 2018 at 2:20

1 Answer 1


The answer to this question, as of August 2018 is "no" as far as I can tell. After my original foray into trying DEs I had to completely reinstall my system as things were acting so buggy. Since then I've learned a bit more and modified my default DE applications (like trying out lightdm for login instead of gdm etc) but mostly I've found it best to just stick with one DE and not mess with stuff to much.

I also did hear about an old project called crunchbang which is no longer running, but took an interesting extremely modular approach to DEs. It continues on under a couple of different projects by thge community, one named BunsenLabs if I remember correctly.

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