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My girlfriend is running Ubuntu 14.04 on her entry level laptop. Ubuntu uses more system resources than some other desktop environments, particularly MATE.

I'd like to increase the performance of her system by installing MATE on her computer but it occurred to me I could just install the mate-desktop package on her machine and have her log in with that.

Would fewer resources be used if I wiped Ubuntu and install Ubuntu MATE or would selecting MATE from the DE selection window in lightdm at login be just as lightweight?

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Ubuntu MATE will surely use less resources than just choosing MATE from DE since Ubuntu-Desktop installs many packages with unity and Ubuntu-MATE has very few dependencies.

Thus if you just install MATE DE in default Ubuntu, the packages which were installed with unity will be there and some of them maybe running in background, thereby using more resources than Ubuntu MATE fresh install.

But if you want to convert Ubuntu into Ubuntu MATE without wiping you may follow steps below, it will have the same effect as that of installing a fresh instance of Ubuntu MATE.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/ppa
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/trusty-mate
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-mate-core ubuntu-mate-desktop
sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment-extras

Also install gdm by this command :

sudo apt-get install gdm

Then you may remove ubuntu-desktop by following command :

sudo apt-get remove ubuntu-desktop --purge
sudo apt-get remove compizconfig-settings-manager
sudo apt-get remove compiz-fusion-plugins-extra
sudo apt-get remove compiz-plugins-extra
sudo apt-get purge compiz*
sudo apt-get remove unity
sudo apt-get remove unity-2d
rm -rf .config .gnome .gnome2 .compiz .cache

An alternative to Ubuntu MATE is lubuntu which is even light-weight than Ubuntu MATE, choice is yours.

| improve this answer | |
  • You didn't answer the question, though I appreciate the instructions to transition from one DE to another. – Insperatus Mar 25 '15 at 1:35
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    It is the required answer. I mean you should follow these steps rather than fresh install of Ubuntu MATE – Faizan Akram Dar Mar 25 '15 at 1:51
  • @Insperatus in this scenario unity and Ubuntu-desktop are removed its not just a transition from one DE to another – Mudit Kapil Mar 25 '15 at 3:40
  • though choosing a DE or full installation is a matter of choice but I found suggested answer by @Faizan useful. – Mudit Kapil Mar 25 '15 at 4:06
  • Here's the question guys: Would fewer resources be used if I wiped Ubuntu and install Ubuntu MATE or would selecting MATE from the DE selection window in lightdm at login be just as lightweight? – Insperatus Mar 25 '15 at 12:43

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