I am using XUbuntu 11.10 with XFCE and am willing to give Unity a try, but don't want to loose my well-tuned system and desktop. I don't think LiveCD is what I need: I want to try the behaviour of applications missing on it. What should I do? Can I install Unity, choose a desktop environment in some config file, reboot and get Unity, then set it back, reboot, and get XFCE?

  • 1
    yes you can. Just install it, then while logging in you can choose the DE you want and your choice will be remembered. For example I had gnome3/gnome2/unity2d/unity (now only gnome3/gnome2). – Yrogirg Mar 9 '12 at 9:37
  • askubuntu.com/questions/64241/how-do-i-switch-to-xubuntu Its the similar thing, Just install unity and choose at login. – sagarchalise Mar 9 '12 at 9:43
  • in synaptic manager you can install this too. but you should consider the bigger memory use in unity (I would say that to feel at ease you need at least 2-4 GB of RAM.) And whatch that gnome/unity tend to come with nautilus as default and this one tries to take over the Xfce desktop from time to time even if you are back to Xfce. – user47206 Mar 21 '12 at 17:43

you can install a desktop interface for example gnome3 like so

sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

and you can choose it from the login screen which desktop interface you want to use.

to install unity search for unity in the software-center or run this in the gnome-terminal

sudo apt-get install unity
  • 4
    This can cause a poor experience. You should install ubuntu-desktop to get a well working unity, and that might still mess with your xfce files (a tiny amount), since xfce reads gnome's startup list. – MarkovCh1 May 23 '12 at 16:14
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    @MarkovCh1 Care to elaborate on how/why ubuntu-desktop is better than unity in this context? I'm curious as to the specifics. – Baku9 Mar 22 '16 at 17:51

OK, I take no more credit than simply finding this via Google, but the following XFCE on Ubuntu 12.04 instructions might help you (NB. this is probably best viewed at the original site, due to highlighting):

A. Installation

  • Establish internet connection

Click on the grey Ubuntu logo (Dash home), in the top of the side panel. Use the query Terminal Click on Terminal

Type (use copy/paste, that's safer): sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

Press Enter. Type your password. Your password will remain entirely invisible. not even dots will show, this is normal. Press Enter again.

Now an intensive operation is being launched; simply wait.

B. Log in to Xubuntu

  • When the installation is complete: log out of Ubuntu. Note: log out, don't shut down!

  • In the login window, click on the Ubuntu logo next to your user name. Select Xubuntu Session.

  • Enter your password and press Enter. Now the Xubuntu desktop appears! It doesn't look pretty yet: darkish and gloomy, with probably a lot of icons on the desktop. But all that is easily changeable (more about that that later on).

First: the Great Cleanup!

C. Cleanup

  • Now it's time for cleanup, in order to prevent system pollution problems. Click on the mouse icon (top left) - Accessories - Terminal Emulator

Type (use copy/paste, that's both easier and safer): sudo apt-get remove nautilus gnome-power-manager compiz compiz-gnome unity gwibber gwibber-service zeitgeist gnome-control-center gnome-screenshot

Press Enter. Type your password. Your password will remain entirely invisible, not even dots will show, this is normal. Press Enter again.

Then, when it's finished, in the terminal (copy/paste): gksudo leafpad /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf

Press Enter.

In the text file that opens, you'll see the following line (the last one): user-session=

Change it into: user-session=xubuntu

Save the file and close it.

  • Reboot your computer (full reboot).

This completes the transition: your Ubuntu has almost entirely been turned into Xubuntu!

D. Beautify and tweak Xubuntu

Tips on beautifying and tweaking Xubuntu can be @ https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/xubuntu.

  • 2
    The question is for the opposite: installing Unity on XUbuntu. – ignis Jan 9 '13 at 4:23
  • That's what I get for not reading the question fully. I don't know if I should leave my answer here OR not, don't want to be marked down ;-) . Oh Well... – Big Rich Jan 9 '13 at 14:25
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    I think that it would fit well in a XUbuntu-over-Unity question, for example this one. :) I'd +1 if it were in the right context. – ignis Jan 9 '13 at 23:10
  • I did +1 eventhough it's not the right context since it answered the question I had for which I found this question as a proxy for some reason. – DRF Jul 14 '15 at 7:44

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