I recently made a big mistake by upgrading ubuntu from 16.04 to 18.04. After the upgradation to 18.04, like many I also had the same high memory/cpu problems. My system started to lag and memory usage of gnome-shell increased as I work on the ubuntu. Because reinstallation was not an option, I followed this blog post to remove gnome-shell and install unity desktop. So far its working fine and unity become the default desktop environment.

I removed gnome using sudo apt remove gnome-shell but when I try locate gnome I still can see many files and folders associated with gnome. What is the safest way to completely remove gnome and its associated packages from ubuntu 18.04 without bricking the system?

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    Unity is built on GTK3 so many GNOME components exist in both Ubuntu 16.04/18.04 even if you're not using GNOME but only Unity. You didn't specify which files/folders you are talking about, but be very careful you're not talking about components required by Unity 7 which uses gnome's nautilus, gedit & other GNOME programs as well as GNOME infrastructure.
    – guiverc
    Commented Mar 8, 2020 at 10:31

1 Answer 1


Given that Unity is a graphical shell for the Gnome desktop, you will find that they use many packages in common. I even have quite a few in my KDE Plasma desktop!

This means that it is not safe to just remove any of the myriad packages with gnome in their name. However, once you did sudo apt remove gnome-shell, you can follow that with sudo apt autoremove to get rid of any dependencies that are otherwise no longer needed.

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