I kind of new to linux and don't know much about window and desktop managers and that's why I am getting confused.

Since Ubuntu 12.04 relies on Unity, why are there so much Gnome Lib file and settings present when viewed through synaptic package manager (I'm viewing currently installed ones)

Also while browsing the software center I saw compiz and metacity there, why are they there and can I uninstall them? (What is unity by the way?).

  • Unity is a compiz plugin. So it relies heavily on it! Jul 14, 2012 at 15:05

2 Answers 2


Unity is a shell interface (think GUI for the OS) for Gnome. You have lots of Gnome libraries because Ubuntu is still Gnome-based behind-the-scenes, it just doesn't use Gnome's shell. Don't uninstall the Gnome libraries because Ubuntu relies on them.


You can uninstall whatever you like, but you cannot remove things and expect them to still work. You can save a few megabytes of disk space by removing software that isn't in use, but you're also likely to cause serious issues if you don't know what you're doing.

If the goal is to explore a Linux system, then I'd rather recommend that you start with a basic system and try to build yourself something nice by adding bits and pieces to the base. That way, you'll see the effect the components have in your system. If instead you explore by taking things away, you won't really know what effect they have, because you'll break other components that depend on them.

Ubuntu is still based on Gnome, which is a fairly huge platform consisting of much more than you see. The file manager, Nautilus, for instance, is part of it. And libraries are shared between applications. So, for instance, if you replaced Nautilus with some other application, you wouldn't be able to remove all libraries that Nautilus uses, because you still have Totem.

  • Actually I was trying to reduce the bloated Ubuntu system, I was getting confused with Unity and Gnome, I though they were different (noob mistake), thanks for guiding me in the right direction though, I would try what you said :) Jul 14, 2012 at 17:24
  • It is easy to get confused these days, because there's been so many big changes in a short time. Add to that, people have different goals and therefore use words differently. It's actually quite difficult to discuss these things because of the confusion. For instance, it's nearly impossible to know what people are referring to when they say they don't like Gnome 3. It can mean so many different things. Jul 14, 2012 at 18:38

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