I Have Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and recently installed LXDE. I had heard that it could damage the Unity... but there was no confermation of the bug i havent had issues yet but was wrorried that they could arise...

Tech info: OS:Ubuntu 12.04 LTS , Memory: 993.1 Mib Processer intel (r) CPU T2050 (Dual Core) @ 1.6 GHZ (1600Mhz), Os:32 bit.... im using an HP Pavillion DV5220us

I have a clean install (was done within a day of this post)

I am not dual booting

I installed LXDE via USC

Package installed : LXDE (the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment)

Add ons:

Archiver for .arj


Minmalist music player for LXDE (lxmusic)

Freedesktop.org menue compliant window manager scripts

Package manager for rpm

Command Line screen capture utility

Automatic screensaver for X

package version : lxde 0.5.0-4ubuntu3

License: Open source


Whenever you add or update a package, it's possible that the package or its dependences will have bugs that can affect how the rest of your system preforms. The most common way this happens is that currently working customized configuration files are over written by the default version upon installation of an updated package (the bug I mention below is a result of this).

However, especially when a user is trying to install a package that is no longer maintained, or one that hasn't yet been accepted to the general repository, it's not all that uncommon to come across dependency related issues.

The most simple form of this is a versioning issue that is caused when the package you want to install has a co-dependancies with other packages on your system that can only be satisfied by installing an downstream or upstream version of a file on your system.

While usually not a problem, package-maintainers often claim that their package has indefinite forward compatibly with packages they are dependant on. However if the maintainer of the package depended on makes an unexpected change upstream, this can break your system (and indeed has caused me problems when adding new desktop environments to saucy)

In other cases, the dependences required by the package you are installing conflict with what's already installed on your system. When this happens the package manager may ask you to remove some packages that you may be relying on in order to install and satisfy the dependencies of the new packages. This can be avoided by carefully reviewing the purpose any packages that are requested for removal.

In some rare cases where packages on your system did not adequately declare all of their dependencies, you may find some packages no longer work even though they claim to have all their dependencies satisfied.

If you always use either synaptic, or aptitude to do your package installs, then you'll have a better chance of recovering form this situation. Unlike apt-get, synaptic, and aptitude keep a log of exactly what was installed and removed, and thus allow you to easily revert to your previous state.

I have personally experienced a problem with trying to co-install Unity and another lightweight desktop environment, so I wouldn't be surprised to hear that LXDE also doesn't work well with unity installed. That said, the likely hood is low and recovery via aptitude (or synaptic provide you can still access the GUI) is easy.

Nevertheless, I found the fight to keep unity happy with openbox and enlightenment really wasn't worth it to me, especially considering the extremely slow performance of Unity's dash.

After trying a plethora of other environments and distros, I settled on KDE via Kubuntu and/or LinuxMint as a better choice to replace Unity as a full fledged desktop because it still provides access to ubuntu support channels, and overall seemes to be better suited for traditional desktop use. I do, however, still run Unity on my lower powered netbooks/nettops/tablets where I'm less likely to use dash anyway.

  • When the concern is specifically about dependencies, you can run sudo apt-get update and then apt-get -s install <package>. This simulates an installation (because of the -s flag). The absence of sudo in the second command is intentional. Like attempting to install the package, that reveals any dependencies first. Unlike attempting to install it, there's essentially no risk of accidentally going ahead and installing the package even if you don't like what other changes would be made. And the output of apt-get -s ... can be posted to Ask Ubuntu for advice on its significance. – Eliah Kagan Jan 7 '14 at 7:07
  • Indeed, but dependencies change with updates, and thus one can never be sure that different desktop interfaces won't conflict. – virtualxtc Jan 7 '14 at 7:10
  • They shouldn't change. That would typically be considered a serious bug and ought to be very rare. If you're know of a specific situation where this has happened and broke something for anyone (in a still-supported release), I highly recommend filing a bug. Within a single, stable Ubuntu release, only updates to for security bugs and serious stability problems are provided. Updates introducing new features, which are the sort one would expect to alter dependencies--as well as any updates bringing major changes--are deferred to future releases. – Eliah Kagan Jan 7 '14 at 7:42
  • @EliahKagan I checked and there was bug was already filed and confirmed, which seems to be the OPs concern. – virtualxtc Jan 7 '14 at 7:45
  • here's one of the many bugs that you might find by installing an alternate desktop environment: bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/unity-greeter/+bug/1059235 – virtualxtc Jan 7 '14 at 8:18

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