For you that have tested this, should we use Ubuntu and install different Desktop Environments (KDE/XFCE...) or we should install different distributions (Kubuntu/Xubuntu...). Are there any notable issues in performance / CPU consumption?


I know how to install them (already did), I wanted to know if anyone has any problems regarding the performance and what is better to install the desktop or to use the ditribution

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    I find KDE and GNOME / Unity refuse to play well with each other on my system. I would avoid installing them together, if I were you. I have had issues with the mouse cursor changing and refusing to change to default again, issues with the machine booting into KDM instead of lightdm or not booting at all after installing kde to check it out. – Mark Paskal May 23 '12 at 5:46
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    I currently have XFCE, Unity, KDE, and GNOME all playing nicely. I installed XFCE via the xubuntu-desktop package, KDE via apt-get install plasma-desktop (to be fair it was plasmoid when I installed it), and GNOME via apt-get install gnome-panel. They happily co-exist for me – RobotHumans May 23 '12 at 7:35
  • I can say that I have installed them all on a VM and the environments work fine – Remus Rigo May 23 '12 at 8:11
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    I've installed multiple desktop environments on several machines, both physical and virtual, over the course of several years and a number of Ubuntu releases, and I have never had a problem, except that applications and utilities that might not make sense to run while in one desktop environment will (of course) appear in application menus (or the equivalent) on other desktop environments, too. – Eliah Kagan May 23 '12 at 15:02
  • For some reason, Kubuntu would never work on my machine. But Ubuntu with KDE would. Also, users have complained about Kubuntu bein slow and slightly unresponsive when compared to Ubuntu running KDE. I don't know much about the other desktop environments, but the only problem with using more than one of them is that you have a FOREST of softwares. – Akshit Baunthiyal Aug 8 '12 at 3:48

Yes, You can install different desktop environment on the default system. For example, installing kubuntu-desktop package on Ubuntu system.

The difference is --

  1. When you install kubuntu-desktop package on Ubuntu, it will download all the packages of the kubuntu CD. so, more than one web-browser, office software (such as Abiword, Gnumeric installed with XFCE), chat software, partition editor, terminals and etc. So if you want a cleaner system, a clean install with only the preferred Desktop Environment is recommended.

  2. But you should be aware of the fact that you need to install your necessary software on each installed system. So, this method is a bit expensive.

  3. You should also aware of some incompatibility issue of firefox font-rendering between KDE and GNOME system. also exo-utils related workaround which occur with XFCE installation. Search Google and Ubuntu-forum for more information about these issue.

Note about Integration
I recently installed kubuntu-desktop in the default Ubuntu. The first point I noted is, The smooth integration between default Ubuntu and KDE. Also KDE more memory friendly now.

My Suggestion My Suggestion is Install Ubuntu and Kubuntu as separate system if you prefer smooth Integration. You can install lubuntu-desktop and xubuntu-desktop on the Ubuntu system. Because these use most of the Gnome libraries. But I installed kubuntu-desktop on top of Ubuntu, and I think this is good now.

Note 2
You can try only the Desktop Environment without installing many more extra softwares by using --no-install-recommends switch to apt-get command line. For example

For Kubuntu

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends kubuntu-desktop. Kubuntu Install kubuntu

For Xubuntu

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends xubuntu-desktop. Xubuntu Install xubuntu

For Lubuntu

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends lubuntu-desktop. Lubuntu Install lubuntu

  • Also, for Ubuntu GNOME: ubuntu-gnome-desktop – user423626 Apr 9 '16 at 10:38
  1. All *buntus are the SAME EXACT Operating System, the difference resides in
  2. The Desktop environments, and the default software all come with their own set of issues, and different performance.

Installing kubuntu-desktop, xubuntu-desktop, lubuntu-desktop will give you the same results.

The heavier environment would be KDE the lightest LXDE.

The results are the same regardless of which *buntu you have already installed, you'll only have the extra software you download + the one you already have. So installing Ubuntu and then downloading the corresponding KDE package is no different than having Kubuntu and downloading the corresping Ubuntu package.

  • This doesn't quite exhaustively describe the differences between different Ubuntu "distros." There is one other difference which you may want to add for completeness. Ubuntu Server is different from desktop versions of Ubuntu in that it has a different kernel that is optimized for server use (with the most significant difference being that it has a bigger time quantum, so background tasks perform better but a GUI, if you installed one, would be less responsive). – Eliah Kagan May 23 '12 at 15:05

There is a lot of difference between Xfce and Xubuntu-desktop and similarly with lxde and lubuntu-desktop , kubuntu-desktop and KDE .

these XFCE,KDE,LXDE just environments and these are not gonna give you any other pkg's . but Xubuntu-desktop,Lubuntu-desktop,Kubuntu-desktop will give you some applications along with desktop environments .

so if you try those environments then i would suggest you to just go with installation of those environments only, not the desktops .

and you can get those Environments in a easy way from software center by typing them on Search box .


Using Xubuntu or installing Xfce under Ubuntu is almost the same.

  • If you already have installed Ubuntu, is better to install the environment only.
  • If you haven't installed anything yet, install the flavor you prefer.

If you want to try or have many environments at the same time, is better to use Ubuntu as base for all of them.

  • I know, this is not my question, look at Mark Paskal's comment and raja.genupula's answer – Remus Rigo May 23 '12 at 7:02

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