Currently running an up to date stock Ubuntu 20.04 desktop with Gnome. In the past I've heard it can cause some problems/issues if one installs multiple desktop environments. Not sure if that sentiment is true or if it's still true today. With that said, if one wanted to install the Budgie DE on a stock Ubuntu 20.04 install, is that considered generally safe/ok? Low risk for serious issues?

  • 1
    My advice would be to save the list of installed packages before installing another desktop environment. (something like this : askubuntu.com/a/99151/743264 ) This way, if you don't like a DE, you can always come back to your original state, without having too many packages you don't need anymore. Sep 27, 2020 at 19:32

2 Answers 2


I've done it for years and never had problems with two desktops.

My existing install was a Ubuntu artful (beta) with default GNOME desktop (ie. ubuntu-desktop). On it I added

  • xubuntu-desktop (XFCE)
  • ubuntu-mate-desktop (MATE)
  • lubuntu-desktop (LXDE)

I also wanted to have kubuntu-desktop, but that created problems I was unable to resolve. I installed the desktops many times to work out the order I needed for all four to co-exist the happiest, then wiped my system & re-installed in the order I'd calculated was best.

That system is now groovy (what will be 20.10, though I'll bump to H a day or so post-release anyway). I've also removed the ubuntu-mate-desktop (running low on disk space mostly), so now I only have GNOME/XFCE/LXQt (Lubuntu switched from LXDE to LXQt)

I have installed desktops on most my systems, and in my experience I'll offer the following

  • first additional desktop; expect no issues, no risk in my opinion

  • second additional desktop; expect no issues, extremely minor risk

  • third additional desktop; minor problems should be expected, and order of desktop install seems to matter

  • fourth additional desktop, expect problems & desktop install order matters

  • fifth desktop; good luck! (easier on debian or opensuse for some reason)


  • extra bandwidth for downloads, as you'll have more packages requiring upgrading
  • release-upgrade requires more disk space, as more upgraded packages to download, unpack & then install, before the disk space can be re-claimed
  • upgrades etc take longer due to extra packages
  • more complex menus, as my own system has as editors "Featherpad" (LXQt), "Mousepad" (XFCE) .... etc and that occurs for nearly every application.
  • you're likely to use programs intended for one DE on a different DE, and the visual effects may mean a less cohesive experience to a single desktop install; subjective
  • make changes to settings in one (Budgie for example in your question) and you may find it changed GNOME too (due to shared toolkits/libs/settings)

Is it worth it - in my opinion for sure. If I decide my expected workflow on a day will be best with GNOME/Ubuntu, I can select it at login. My other choices are XFCE/Xubuntu or LXQt/Lubuntu (MATE until I removed it). I can also just use a different desktop for a change when I feel like it.

This is based on my experience, and maybe considered opinion. (I've multiple machines, and I think all have multiple desktops installed)

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    Another reason I did it (once upon a time); my ISP has bandwidth quotas, however downloading Ubuntu desktop was always quota free, flavors were not. I can update post-install free of quota, so I got in the habit of downloading main Ubuntu ISO (quota free) & adding the desktop I wanted post-install (quota free), and got tired of removing the packages just to achieve a single (non-Unity/GNOME3 desktop). Not many will relate to this.
    – guiverc
    Sep 27, 2020 at 8:30

It is ok as long as you don't accidentally remove anything part of GNOME. However, the disk space taken up might get higher and higher as you add more DEs.

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