I thought that I had changed my Ubuntu to a Xubuntu by switching to xfce desktop (Ubuntu 20.04). Though, when I enter gnome-shell --version in the terminal, I get GNOME Shell 3.36.1.

When I enter printenv | grep XDG I get:

XDG_CONFIG_DIRS=/etc/xdg/xdg-xubuntu:/etc/xdg XDG_SESSION_PATH=/org/freedesktop/DisplayManager/Session0 XDG_SESSION_DESKTOP=xubuntu XDG_SESSION_TYPE=x11 XDG_GREETER_DATA_DIR=/var/lib/lightdm-data/mafalda XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=XFCE XDG_SEAT_PATH=/org/freedesktop/DisplayManager/Seat0 XDG_SESSION_CLASS=user XDG_RUNTIME_DIR=/run/user/1000 XDG_DATA_DIRS=/usr/share/xfce4:/usr/share/xubuntu:/usr/local/share:/usr/share:/var/lib/snapd/desktop

And sudo dpkg -l | grep gnome lists a lot of GNOME packages.

Is that normal? I am trying to tidy up my system a little after recognizing I had several screensavers installed that were maybe interfering with each other.

Does Xfce need the GNOME packages (like gnome-bluetooth, gnome-power-manager...), or can I uninstall them?

1 Answer 1


Xfce is well-designed desktop, so it have needed components for bluetooth, power and so on.
I would recommend to save GNOME Disk Utility in your Xfce system (gnome-disk-utility package).

If not sure what to remove - you can always run a simulation of packages removal with special APT option:

apt-get remove --simulate gnome-control-center

and then decide to remove the package with sudo apt-get remove gnome-control-center or not.

If you want to remove GNOME Stuff completely - you can use the list from my other answer here, but be careful.

  • In your link, what does the ^ in sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop^ do?
    – ema
    May 20, 2020 at 13:25
  • It installs big meta-package (really task) with all needed dependencies for Xubuntu.
    – N0rbert
    May 20, 2020 at 13:32
  • And another question: If I do remove GNOME entirely, e.g. by sudo apt-get --purge remove ubuntu-desktop, or by the long part of code you posted in the linked thread, could it break the software I installed, the preferences I set (in non-GNOME apps) or sth similar? I would really like to clean up unnecessary double applications, but am still a bit afraid ;)
    – ema
    May 20, 2020 at 13:33
  • The configuration files in your home-folder (something like ~/.config and other dot-folders) will remain here, GSettings and Dcont settings will not be changed. I have tested the long command in linked tread on VM, but if you are unsure - you can run it with --simulate first and then edit final list of packages to be removed.
    – N0rbert
    May 20, 2020 at 13:45
  • Ok, now I ran sudo apt-get purge --simulate with the list of all the GNOME packages from your link, except gnome-disk-utility. What seems strange to me is that according to the terminal, it tries to purge several xfce4 packages. Why is that? And: When does it start (or stop) to "simulate"?
    – ema
    May 20, 2020 at 14:01

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