Was running xUbuntu 18.0.4 LTS and upgraded (re-install via DVD) to Ubuntu 20.0.4. I'd like to get back to the XFCE Desktop as it find gnome unusable for my application. In particular I have a lot of problems with Nautilus but really liked Thunar. These are the File Manager programs.

I attempted to install it (xfce) following an article on Linuxconfig.org which gave the following procedure:

sudo apt install tasksel

sudo tasksel install xubuntu-desktop

This may or may not have installed xfce but it mentions there is then some step to select the desktop to use. Unfortunately I can find no selector anywhere nor do I wish to have go thru the selection process every time I reboot. I am still running "Files" (aka Nautilus) as an app.

Is there any way I can install the XFCE making my system xUbuntu and remove gnome or as much of gnome as is possible? Of course this pertains to Focal Fossa: i.e. Ubuntu 20.0.4. If I have to I can do a new install presuming I can find a xUbuntu 20.0.4 release.

  • You can install thunar simply with the command sudo apt install thunar. Jan 10, 2021 at 23:27
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    At the DM (display manager) or greeter, or login screen you select which you want to use. During installation of xubuntu-desktop I would have expected you to be asked a question as to which DM you wish to use (ubuntu-desktop uses gdm3 as the greeter & DM, Xubuntu does not) which will impact how it's selected. The selection is not when you boot, but when you enter your username & password. I suspect you've got all you need, just haven't found out where the selector is on your greeter (which varies on what you selected at a prompt in your second listed command).
    – guiverc
    Jan 11, 2021 at 0:41
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    I would suggest that you instead install Xubuntu which is the official flavor of Ubuntu that includes the Xfce desktop. There's a good reason why Ubuntu releases several flavors with different desktops: it's very messy to attempt to change desktop environments on an installed system.
    – Nmath
    Jan 11, 2021 at 4:21
  • This is quite useful. I may do this and burn a xUbuntu 20.0.4 DVD and reinstall from there... I think I'm also going to order a bigger flash boot drive as mine is just 128 and I have Windows10 64 bit on it too. Jan 11, 2021 at 14:51
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    FYI: Ubuntu releases are year.month (yy.mm) in format for desktop & server releases (eg. Ubuntu 20.04 means the 2020-April release; no extra dot). There are also snap only specialist releases which are yy only, but these are a different product, eg. Ubuntu Core 20 (based on the 20.04 release, with many features removed, snap only, ideal for device, appliance, or cloud use)
    – guiverc
    Jan 11, 2021 at 21:20

1 Answer 1

  1. Install xfce4 desktop

    sudo apt install xfce4
  2. Log out.

  3. In the login screen, click your name, a gear icon will appear in the right bottom corner, click it and you can choose the desktop to use.

  • Thanks, it worked. I can now get Thunar and see stuff. I was required to upgrade to Flossing Fossil (20.0.4) for work but the upgrade command did'nt work. Thus I had to burn a DVD and do a fresh install. I may not remove Unity quite yet in case I need something for my programs to run. Jan 11, 2021 at 14:47
  • Eventually when things settle down I may just try to burn a xUbuntu 20.0.4 DVD and do a clean install: maybe after installing a bigger boot drive to my laptop. Linux will span multiple disks with a partition so it's more forgiving than Windows in this regard. Jan 11, 2021 at 14:57
  • Actually I apparently installed XFCE over Gnome so am doing a fresh install of 20.04.2 from a bootable DVD. xubuntu20.04 is extremely buggy tho. Feb 18, 2021 at 4:43

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