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How to change the Ubuntu GUI

How to install a new GUI in Ubuntu

For most people, when we venture into Linux, we first use Ubuntu. Wrongly, or rightly, it's a choice that many people including myself made.

So we first download the CD, then partition our HDD and then install Linux. Now what? Well, for many first time users it's just a case of learning the ropes. Installing DVD codecs to play back media, installing graphics drivers and maybe playing about with a few internal settings.

But beyond that, what is there to do? If you're like me and find exploring new operating systems fun, then maybe you will download and install a different version of Ubuntu such as Xubuntu or Kubuntu. These look different and may perform a little differently, but are built off Ubuntu and essentially the same. However, as you read in this guide there is more you can do to your default Ubuntu install to change things up a little, while learning and having fun at the same time!

Install a new Desktop Environment

Before we decide if we like the current desktop environment (DE) we need to know what a DE is. Basically, it is the GUI of the operating system.
If you went ahead and installed Ubuntu, if it's recent release (11.10 - 12.04 I think) then it will have "Unity" as the default DE. Unity. Remember that. Some people love it, others hate it. Me, I personally don't like it and choose to install something else. This is where it gets interesting. What to install? Well, we have a lot of options (I'll cover what I think is the most common)

Other GUI: (hover for name if you like)






Of course, there are lots more, but these are probably the most frequently used (correct me if I'm wrong)

Now we will go through how to install there.

On Ubuntu, go to Apps and type "terminal" and open the terminal emulator.

To install Gnome:
sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

To install Plasma Desktop:
sudo apt-get install plasma-desktop

To install XFCE:
sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

To install Cinnamon:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwendal-lebihan-dev/cinnamon-stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cinnamon

To install LXDE:
sudo apt-get install lxde

To activate the new DE, log out and then select it from the menu of environments. Log in and start exploring your new system!

Comments (3)

Anyone can edit this! Please add something if you notice that it's missing!
gotta love the lxde red desktop theme!
Thank you, very helpful and straightforward.
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