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I'm interested in installing multiple desktop environments, however I am also worried about possible conflicts between different desktop environments. I can't seem to find any information about what specific conflicts that exist between specific desktop environments.

The desktop environments that I'm interested in are KDE Plasma, Budgie, Xfce, LXQt, Trinity, and Gnome which is already installed.

For fairly obvious reasons, I don't expect to be able to install all of these at once, but I do want to know which specific ones have incompatibilities.

I'm using Ubuntu 19.10.

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    What OS/release are you starting with? Issues where the do exist, relate to specific releases. My own Ubuntu has LXQt (Lubuntu), XFCE (Xubuntu), MATE (Ubuntu-MATE) added and also had LXDE (legacy Lubuntu) so regularly do it, but impacts differ from one release to the next...
    – guiverc
    Dec 10, 2019 at 21:53
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    As I don't have, nor have ever added Budgie/Trinity to anything - I can't speak to those. In my experience when you add the second you'll be unlikely to have problems, the chance of problems increases as you add more. I had problems with KDE & MATE on my box (LXDE & XFCE & GNOME already there), but if [all] my other desktops weren't installed KDE & MATE went perfectly together. I also found the order they are installed matters; I played with what I wanted (decided to drop KDE & just use MATE; if re-doing today I'd go the other way & keep KDE)
    – guiverc
    Dec 10, 2019 at 21:59
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    Would suggest instead maybe messing with your primary OS, to set up a copy on a VM or maybe a second partition and dual boot. Can play with installing different desktops and see if any combinations break stuff.
    – crip659
    Dec 10, 2019 at 22:31
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    Dual booting only uses one OS at a time. You won't lose any more resources, because it will just be the second OS using resources. Maybe try installng Xubuntu(for XFCE ) for second OS if your computer is weak.
    – crip659
    Dec 10, 2019 at 23:55
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    @michaelB I understand that you don't think this is a duplicate question, I'll leave that to others to determine, it IS however, too broad. The vast number of DE's available make the number of combinations your vaguely worded question covers far too high for anyone to completely answer. My best advice to you is to backup any critical information and run your own tests, secure in the knowledge that whatever happens you can go back to square one with more knowledge than you started with. If this question is still open, feel free to share your results in a self-answer here. Cheers!
    – Elder Geek
    Dec 11, 2019 at 21:45

2 Answers 2

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My own Ubuntu started with Ubuntu 17.10 (pre-release) where I added LXDE (Lubuntu), XFCE (Xubuntu), MATE (Ubuntu-MATE). It's now been release-upgraded a few times and am now on 20.04 with the LXDE being replaced by LXQt.

As I don't have, nor have ever added Budgie/Trinity to anything - I can't speak to those.

In my experience when you add the second desktop you'll be unlikely to have problems, the chance of problems increases as you add more.

I had problems with KDE & MATE on my box (LXDE & XFCE & GNOME already there), but if [all] my other desktops weren't installed KDE & MATE went perfectly together.

I also found the order they are installed matters; I played with what I wanted (decided to drop KDE & just use MATE; if re-doing today I'd go the other way & keep KDE)

On the KDE/MATE clash, I couldn't find the clash (to raise bug report) as I loaded KDE/MATE combinations easily in testing with any other base desktop; the issue only occurred with my wanted desktops... ie. the more you have the more problems you should expect.

I use many boxes, and nearly all have multiple desktops; I'd expect very minor problems only when adding >2, and more as the number increases.

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GNOME shell, KDE Plasma, MATE, XFCE should cooperate without conflicts.

I don't know about Trinity and i have never tested LXQt + KDE Plasma. GNOME Shell and Budgie use the same configs so conflicts often happens.

If you install KDE Plasma you can have visual problems with QT and GTK themes.

BTW i think 19.10 is the most stable release for installing multiple DE.

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  • What types of conflicts can Gnome and Budgie having the same config have?If they have the same config wouldn't that just mean they share settings?
    – MichaelB
    Dec 10, 2019 at 22:17
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    Well GNOME and Budgie can cooperate but for example if you disable minimise and maximise buttons on GNOME, it will be activated the next time you start Budgie (in both DE) wich can be a little annoying. Of course that's not big issues but it doesn't appears with Plasma/MATE/XFCE.
    – Jerare
    Dec 10, 2019 at 22:23

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