As GDM is GNOME Display Manager but it installs the GNOME desktop also when I replaces it with LightDM So what is the difference between installing GDM or installing Gnome-desktop environment?

2 Answers 2


Installing gnome-desktop gives you the GNOME desktop environment. You can access it through lightdm desktop manager (Ubuntu's default) even if you don't have gdm. On the other hand, gdm is merely login screen. Surprisingly enough, if you do apt-cache show gdm it reports that gnome-shell is one of the dependencies, but apt-cache show gnome-desktop reports that gdm is only a recommended package. Why is it so ? I don't know, and probably only the developers can tell you.

  • But installing GDM is giving me whole GNOME Desktop environment not just login-screen along with Ubuntu desktop and unity Jun 22, 2015 at 16:42
  • @MuditKapil That's because gdm depends on gnome as it is said.
    – Pilot6
    Jun 22, 2015 at 16:44
  • 1
    @MuditKapil Desktop environment can be stand alone. For example, I have gnome, unity, openbox, blackbox. Those packages don't care about what login screen you use. But desktop manager (the login screen) does care, apparently. Jun 22, 2015 at 16:46
  • @Serg I think GDM is display manager with gnome-shell,the difference is between gnome-shell and gnome-desktop Jun 22, 2015 at 17:12

lightdm and GDM are both 'display managers'. They govern how and when your 'desktop environment' loads.

Gnome, KDE and XFCE are all examples of desktop environments, and should be compatible with both lightdm and GDM.

  • Who is downvoting? This is the correct answer.
    – Pilot6
    Jun 22, 2015 at 16:59
  • 1
    @Pilot6 while technically correct, this answer isn't complete. The OP wants to know why installing gdm also gave him access to gnome-desktop. I will upvote this answer, but it misses the core of OP's question. Jun 22, 2015 at 17:09
  • @MuditKapil lets not be rude in the comments. Just help people understand better what you exactly wanted. Everybody be peaceful :) Jun 22, 2015 at 17:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.