I have deployed a few Ubuntu 10.04 LTS systems for small business users. It uses Gnome 2 DE and users are happy with it. With upcoming new LTS release I have a problem - default DE Unity is not suitable for small business environment. Most work is done with LibreOffice programs, internet browser, email client and file manager. Current options are either Kubuntu or Xubuntu. Each option has its own drawbacks - KDE might be too complicated and have some desktop compositing problems on low end systems, while Xubuntu lacks some features as it is preconfigured with alternative, lighter, software. Are there any other options of stable and supported desktop environments?

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  • What has LibreOffice, browser, email client and file manager to do with the choice of the DE? You (can) have them on all Ubuntu derivatives. And why is Unity not suitable? Granted, it need some getting used to. – Marc-André Appel Jan 30 '12 at 16:05
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    Some users found it difficult to work on more than one office document open at once in Unity - switching between them can be tricky using overview as they all look very similar, and alt-tab takes more time, than just selecting correct one from panel. – joshas Jan 30 '12 at 18:51
  • I work all the time with a minimum of 3 Libreoffice documents open and I am using 12.04 with Unity. I would not agree that Unity is not suitable for a small business environment. It does not take much effort for a competent person to change the way they work. Have you thought of setting up 11.10 as a dual boot so these users can get used to the new environment and switch back as need be? Prepare for migration. I assume that your clients will still want Long Term support. Is that not the most important thing? – grahammechanical Jan 30 '12 at 21:31

I'd strongly suggest going for Xubuntu. If the only concern is about the softwares installed, then you can remove and install the ones you like, provided the number of laptops are not much otherwise it'll be a tedious job.

  • you "strongly suggest", but give absolutely no reason. – Corey Goldberg Jun 7 '15 at 22:03

If your users are used to Gnome 2 I would recommend opting for Ubuntu and then installing 'gnome-session', this will allow users to choose the Gnome 3 fall-back mode at login which is similar to Gnome 2 in appearance and functions with all Gnome applications.

  • Damn, you beat me to this answer. Well, +1 I guess. – k0pernikus Jan 30 '12 at 16:11
  • Will gnome-session will be long term supported? I heard that it is going to be removed soon. – joshas Jan 30 '12 at 18:52
  • I was under the impression that it would be staying around, although it may only be community supported. – Ashley Jan 30 '12 at 22:51

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