Best DE for multiple parallel User Sessions

I’m posting here, because all other categories do not fit.
i’m using Manjaro KDE plasma on a laptop and Manjaro Gnome on a media pc.
I like to switch between different user sessions frequently. So there are users for work (firefox, open office, vpn, RDP Client, virtual box) , private (firefox, foto editing and open office) and multimedia (firefox, mpv, steam, netflix, spotify).
Both having issues after switching sessions like gnome losing HDMI sound or KDE freezing after 2 or 3 switches.

Is there an DE that support multiple parallel sessions stable by default?

Not really regardless of claims otherwise. You want multiple DE’s do multiple OS installs each witrh a different DE. It seems that no matter which two DE’s you install in the same OS something gets messed up going back and fourth between them.

Thanks, i didn’t mean mixing multiple DE on one computer.
But i meant one DE per computer and using only that DE with multiple user sessions.
Is there any DE that can handle that?

AFAIK all DEs support parallel user sessions. If you have issues with any, it should be worth troubleshooting.

Besides this, have you considered simply sorting your activities by virtual desktops?
Also i know that KDE has a feature named Activities which may also suit you.

Thanks and yes i considered it, but eg at least at the multimedia pc there’s also our kids using it. And i want to separate them in a different user profile. Same goes for browsing/cookies with the work related user. It should be only work in that profile.

It seems not a usual scenario to use 2 different profiles at the same time.

I concur.

Alternatively, if it is actually the matter at hand, many DEs have an option for saving the state of a session when closing it. This way, since usually a single computer cannot be used by two users at the same time, rather than switching users, you may be able to close the session, let the other user do their things, then reopen your session with all the applications you had open last time.

This is called multiseat

If you want to search for it.

Linux per se is multi-user capable. But it is seldom used nowadays. I do use XFCE with 2 seats.
Most of the time 2 users are working simultaneously (my wive and i)

  • one PC , 8-core, >30GB RAM, btrfs-raid-1, snapper
  • 2 graphic cards (nvidia with nouveau as driver)
  • 2 monitors (4k) 60/30Hz with speaker
  • 2 Mice, 2 keyboard,
  • dedicated USB-Ports with cable for every seat
    (this also helps with keyboard/mice)
  • common sound card with micro / speaker
  • 2 webcams

This is work to set up, but it is easy to maintain.

  • Every seat has his own usb-ports where usb-sticks automount.
  • Every seat has his sound on his monitor (with possibility to plug a headphone)
  • Both seats are able to connect to zoom at the same time with their own cam
  • It is even possible to select the common soundcard as output from any of the seats
    … (some of my posts here are about mutiseat)

I am using KDE on two computers and XFCE on two computers.
On three computers there is also Windows 10 Pro x64 21H2 installed.

No freezes and lockups at all.

Not surprised by the lack of understanding of your problem @linuxer - sadly.

We have 4 manjaro boxes in the house 3 of which are used by multiple users (parents and children).

I only use Gnome and switching users works reasonably well now, my only comment would be that switching back again tends to result in a black screen with flashing cursor for 30s plus - enough to make you think it’s gone wrong when in fact with patience everything is fine.

User switching was more slick on OSX…but I’m not going back =D

So I have no solution for you - my desktop monitors (one per pc) are connected by DVI and the laptops have no external monitors connected. None of your fancy modern hdmi.

Part of the problem is that so many Linux desktop developers work in laptops or other single user systems, there is really no incentive or need from their point of view to make this work well. Plus they seem to assume that everyone has their own device.

I suspect this is compounded by the fact that the group with most need for user switching - parents - are also those with least time to contribute to development!

It seems not a usual scenario to use 2 different profiles at the same time.

I disagree. User account switching is a perfectly normal activity on a computer desktop - it was even possible on classic Mac OS 25 [EDIT: Fast user switching was introduced in OSX in 2003, 19 years ago - my memory was wrong] years ago, nothing novel about it.
It’s no more unusual than having children, it’s just that at any one time only a subset of the population are doing it :wink:


Thanks for the word and good to hear that even real simultaneous working is possible. This gets my hopes up!
The issues i’m having are occuring all the time, when switching between sessions on one monitor, keyboard, mouse.

Agree, as a parent i still want to use linux as a multimedia pc and this is configured in the little free time left.
I think most of nowaday users use a single user account and don’t even see the problem.
However i want to have it working like on mac or windows, where user switching simply works.

I think i will setup new to a new disk, after three years of using manjaro now. Good work for the winter holidays.

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On a single user account pc, there do exist a root and user account.

It is always a multi user pc.

We’re specifically talking about GUI Desktop environments and switching between graphical logins.

You’re not wrong @Keruskerfuerst - but that comment is not particularly relevant or helpful.

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linuxer has written:

I like to switch between different user sessions frequently. So there are users for work (firefox, open office, vpn, RDP Client, virtual box) , private (firefox, foto editing and open office) and multimedia (firefox, mpv, steam, netflix, spotify).

That’s the definition of why it is unusual, because very little amount of people are doing it (out of my butt I would say 99% of users have a “single user” system), contrary to having kids.

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open another tty than tt7

startx – :1

  • Do not do that with the same user ! (one different user by tty)
  • Respect the space between the “–”

That’s the definition of why it is unusual

Saying it’s unusual implies that it’s somehow odd or extraordinary, it’s really not.

(I was wrong about classic mac os above, the type of fast user switching we’re talking about was introduced in 2003 with OS X 10.3, so it’s only been 19 years.)

I’ve been doing this for nearly 2 decades, on OS X until 2017 and on Linux since then (when possible), several times a week. I just can’t conceive of such a common thing as ‘unusual’.

I’ll grant you I’m in a minority, particularly on Linux.

And there are obviously a lot of less computer savvy users that share devices but all use one account (on any desktop OS), but that’s less secure and they really ought to be using separate accounts and switching :slight_smile:

But we’ve descended into arguing about language so I’ll shut up now.

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Thanks, i’ll try that now and so far it seems to work well and switching with CTRL+ALT+Fx works fine and keeps HDMI audio available.
[edit: So it’s still working fine with Gnome on Pahvo. Just need to train everybody here not to use GDM, cause that opens a second session with the same user.
So using CTRL+ALT+Fx to switch between sessions.]

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