I wanted to remove unity-settings-daemon because thats the only unity-package I have it besides unity-greeter. I run a gnome-shell, hence do not need unity. However, when I try to remove unity-settings-daemon, dpkg would also like to remove ubuntu-session. Is it safe to do it, or would I break my display manager or something else?

dpkg -L ubuntu-session 


Also, is there a way to show which files would be removed when I do a sudo apt-get remove --dry-run PackageName ? At the moment, I see which packages would be removed, but not which files would be removed.

  • So, in short, you only want to have gnome desktop, correct ? – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Aug 10 '16 at 16:27
  • yes, I want to have gnome-desktop-environment only. – infoclogged Aug 10 '16 at 19:14

I have successfully removed unity completely from my system and just have the gnome-desktop-environment with gdm as my default display manager. I did not have to install any packages such as ubuntu-desktop or gnome-ubuntu-desktop for not breaking any dependacies.

dpkg -L ubuntu-session

shows that gnome-session is a part of the package, but actually it is not. Only by explicitly removing gnome-session via sudo apt-get remove gnome-session, the gnome-session would be removed, otherwise not. Finally, I have a poor gnome desktop environment without any unity parasites :)


You can install ubuntu-gnome-desktop metapackage and remove ubuntu-desktop metapackage. Some time ago I tested this approach in Ubuntu Virtual Machine, and it has proven to work appropriately. Use the following steps to do that:

  1. Go to TTY1 via Ctrl+Alt+F1 keyboard shortcut. Login
  2. Run sudo apt-get install ubuntu-gnome-desktop. The command will install complete set of packages used in Ubuntu Gnome edition. The boot up screen and various configurations will be altered to suit the Ubuntu Gnome. Login screen should be set to gdm , but you can alternatively keep lightdm without penalty to the user experience.
  3. Once it is installed , reboot to ensure changes have taken effect. If you are satisfied with the result, from TTY1 (same as in step #1 ) run sudo apt-get remove ubuntu-desktop. If you wish to keep unity as backup desktop environment, skip this step.

Sidenote: for best results run sudo apt-get update prior to installing the Ubuntu Gnome metapackage

  • Thanks for your reply and time, but it still does not answer my question. If removing unity-settings-daemon break my display manager? And also a second question, if there is any way, that I can know, which files would be explicitly removed ( using a dry-run method ) when a paket is attempted to be removed. – infoclogged Aug 10 '16 at 20:28
  • Just saw, that ubuntu-desktop on my system is already removed. – infoclogged Aug 10 '16 at 20:33
  • OK, would have been nice if that info was provided earlier in the question. So now you can try to remove unity-settings-daemon manually via sudo apt-get --remove unity-settings-daemon. It probably will remove some dependencies as well, which is why it is important that you have ubuntu-gnome-desktop installed to keep the system usable – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Aug 10 '16 at 20:54

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