Ubuntu will automatically detect and install drivers, I don't have a problem with doing that myself, but the complications I ran into with previous versions of Fedora caused me to switch. The philosophy is the same: Both point to online repositories. Both track dependencies, etc etc. But instead of 'apt-get install', you do 'yum install'. The Cinnamon and MATE desktop environments included with Linux Mint aren’t available in Ubuntu’s repositories, so you’d have to use a PPA to install them on Ubuntu. The process is basically the same on Linux Mint, but you’d search for the package in the Software Manager application instead.
Linux allows users to switch entire desktop environments in case the default DE doesn’t suit you. This is true for any Linux distribution including Ubuntu. For a while, Ubuntu had Unity as the default desktop and now it has switched to GNOME. Neither of these is exactly very resource friendly and take up around 300MB or more of RAM. If you have an older PC or a PC with not so good hardware GNOME might not be the best performer. A lightweight alternative, the Xfce desktop environment can be really useful here.
Ubuntu’s default Unity desktop environment is designed to provide a single interface that will work well on computers, tablets, smartphones and TVs, while Linux Mint‘s Cinnamon desktop environment is designed to provide a more traditional Linux desktop experience. How to Install and Run Pantheon Desktop on Ubuntu By Nick Congleton – Posted on Nov 29, 2018 Nov 28, 2018 in Linux Ubuntu comes in a lot of flavors, all of which are based around a popular desktop environment.
This article will describe multiple procedures on how to install various GUI desktop environments on Ubuntu Linux 14.04 LTS (Trusty Thar). The article assumes that no desktop manager nor display manager is currently installed on your system. Furthermore, If the display manager needs to be installed explicitly we will install lightweight XDM. It is the default desktop environment for Xubuntu, an official lightweight Ubuntu flavor. Xubuntu is lighter than Ubuntu, despite installing Xfce and removing GNOME. It has less pre-installed apps and even lesser number of pre-installed packages.
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Let’s be clear though, despite being known for their resource-heavy nature, Ubuntu with GNOME, Unity or even KDE is quite less demanding compared to other operating system platforms. Chances are if you’re coming from Windows or MacOS, installing Ubuntu will itself do wonders for your aging hardware. In case that the default Ubuntu with GNOME is still too much for your system, Xfce desktop environment is a great choice.
XFCE Desktop Environment
Xfce stands for XForms Common Environment. It is the default desktop environment for Xubuntu, an official lightweight Ubuntu flavor. Xubuntu is lighter than Ubuntu, despite installing Xfce and removing GNOME. It has less pre-installed apps and even lesser number of pre-installed packages.
Xfce is based on the GTK toolkit but it is not a GNOME fork. It uses the Xfwm window manager and its configuration is entirely mouse-driven, with the configuration files hidden from the casual user. By default, Xfce does not feature any desktop animations which is expected because Xfce is lightweight by choice. Animations are one of the biggest draws on system resources.
It does support compositing though so you can always install something like Compiz. Not only can you get animations but even the fanciest of animations that’ll attract anyone’s eyeballs.
When you install Xfce, you can still keep your default desktop so you’re not losing out on anything in case you don’t like Xfce. You can choose which desktop environment to log into during boot. Although, once you’ve used Xfce and decide that you like it, you’ll probably want to uninstall the older DE if your computer isn’t big on resources.
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The latest version of Xfce is Xfce4 and installing it requires downloading and installing several packages that it is dependent on and that it makes use of. All of this only amounts to about 112MB compared to more than 500MB of packages required for installing something like GNOME. Below is a full list of all the packages that will be downloaded and installed.
- desktop-base exo-utils
- liborbit-2-0 libthunarx-2-0
- orage pavucontrol
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How to install Xfce desktop environment Ubuntu
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Installing Xfce desktop on Ubuntu used to require installing the entire Xubuntu desktop packages which was pretty much like installing Xubuntu on top of Ubuntu. That’s not the case anymore and you can install the Xfce desktop simply with a simple command. Launch Terminal and enter the following command.
You’ll be asked to enter your password and then you’ll need to press y on your keyboard to confirm the installation. Once installed, log out of your current desktop session and you’ll be able to select Xfce from the login screen. The selection menu can be located differently on different login managers such as gdm3 or sddm.
Since GNOME uses gdm3 and it is the default desktop environment on Ubuntu, we’ll assume you probably have the gdm3 login manager installed.
Click on the gear icon next to the Sign in button and select Xfce from the list. You can switch back to GNOME or any other desktop the same way. On your first login, you’ll be asked to choose a configuration. Click on Use default config.
Ubuntu comes in a lot of flavors, all of which are based around a popular desktop environment. There are a couple of notable omissions, though, and those are usually the result of a distribution based on Ubuntu using that desktop. Linux Mint is one great example, with the Cinnamon desktop. Elemantary OS and its popular Pantheon desktop environment is another.
Because Elemantary OS is based directly off of LTS releases of Ubuntu, it’s not too hard to get Pantheon on Ubuntu. In fact, it’s available in a PPA maintained by the Elementary developers. But there is one major question that you need to ask yourself.
If you plan on using an LTS version of Ubuntu, you might want to use Elementary OS instead. Elementary is essentially Ubuntu tailored to work around Pantheon with some other nice quality of life improvements. If you’d rather use the latest versions of Ubuntu with Pantheon, adding the PPA is your best option. Just be forewarned that the packages are built for the latest LTS.
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Add the PPA
To start, add the PPA to your Ubuntu system. If you’re on Bionic or earlier, it’ll be easier. Add the PPA with Apt.
If you’re on a release beyond Bionic, like Cosmic, you’re going to need to do this manually. So, create a new file for your configuration.
Now, add the following lines to the file.
Once you have that, import the key for the repository.
Whichever way you arrived, update Apt, and get ready to install Pantheon.
With that PPA, you have the ability to pull nearly anything from Elementary OS to your Ubuntu system. As a result, there are a couple of ways that you can approach this. First, you can just install everything in one shot.
During the install process, Apt will stop to ask you which login manager you want to use. Select LightDM. It’s the same one Ubuntu used to use with Unity, and it works fine when you want to switch back to GNOME, too.
Next, you can just pull the destkop setup.
If you want all of the Elementary themes and icons, you can pull in what you want there, too.
You can install any of the other packages from Pantheon with the PPA. You can find the whole listing on the Launchpad page.
When you’re done, it’d be a good idea to update Ubuntu to see if any other packages should be updated to match the versions in the PPA.
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Reboot into Pantheon
When you’re done installing Pantheon and updating Ubuntu, you can reboot Ubuntu. When Ubuntu finishes booting back up, you should arrive in LightDM instead of GDM, which was the default. That’s a good sign that everything worked properly. Click on the desktop icon to change the environment you want to log in to. Pantheon should be listed there as an available option, and you should choose it.
When you log in to your new Pantheon desktop, you’ll be greeted with something that looks like a cross between Ubuntu and Elementary OS. You can use the settings to change the theme however you would like. Pantheon is a GTK desktop based on GNOME, so most themes that are compatible will work with Pantheon.
Since this is done through a PPA that’s actively maintained by the Elementary OS developers for Elementary, there’s no real risk of your Pantheon desktop ever falling too far out of date or being dropped. Instead, you’ll be able to keep Pantheon updated alongside Ubuntu and receive the latest benefits straight from Elementary OS. You may need to change your repository file to reflect new releases when they arrive, but that’s about all.