Multiple DE/WM's

Hi all, after distro hopping for a while, I've decided I'm coming back to manjaro, as I love arch but want something that looks good and is configured out of the box.

I've been through all the different options and have narrowed it down to 3 WM's to pick from. I really like the stock config of all 3 but I'm not sure which one I want.

I'm installing the i3 version as I have to install one of them, but I also want to try out bspwm and open box, but I want to install them with their 'Community Edition' configuration, as if I had installed that version to begin with.

My aim is to try switch between all 3 until I find the one I prefer and which works for me. What is the best way around doing this? What I mean is if I install the i3 edition, and then install open box I will have a blank open box WM, I want to install it and have it configured the way the Open box edition is configured.

I know I'm being specific and probably a little ridiculous but I like default set-ups and I'm hoping there's a way I can do this (even if I have to download the edition, run the live environment and cope the config files to my actual Hard Drive, but hopefully there's an easier way than this). Thanks in advance!

Install Virtualbox and install them.
Then you don't have to worry about the installing 3 WMs mess.

But then I can't use any of my files/games while in the VM? I understand your point but I want to test them for a longer period to find my favourite. Having 3 WM's isn't really a "mess" or problem, it's just having the default community edition config that's my issue

You can setup share folders, drag&drop, and clipboard sharing with VMs.

As I understand it, the mess comes from the fact that the config files are called the same thing across all the WM/DEs. So you can't really do what you're wanting to do.

Using VMs is the only way I can think to solve this other than having three computers or just setting a "trial time". Try one for a month, switch to the next for a month, then the next.

Perhaps someone has a better idea but VMs is really the easiest as far as I can tell.

Or you could temporarily repartition your hard drive and install all 3 as distinct OS's and boot to whichever you feel like. But if it were me I would use a Live CD or USB of each for 2-3 days and make a decision on which one suits me best and then keep it simple and just install the one. Otherwise your computing life will just get confusing...

1 Like

Another option would be to install your varies choices to and SDcard or USB and boot into it.
Very much like a live environment but by installing to a USB/SD card you can make changes to it and its persistent where a liveUSB isn't.

If that's of interest I'm sure there's a tutorial here somewhere on the forums with a step by step.

Another potential option... Testing differend desktop environments

1 Like

@lagagnon that's actually a pretty good solution, with having 3 kids 3 and under I only get to go on it after they go to bed so it's only really a gaming/if I need to do something laptop. I don't go on it every night so I wanted something more permanent until I decide which 1 I like. I also have 90GB of unpartitioned SSD as I was going to install windows on it (Nvidia shield streaming doesn't have a Linux option yet) but I won't get around to that for a while, thanks, don't know why I didn't think of that, then if I narrow it down to 2 I can just copy the config files/wallpaper over and set it up. Thanks!

Install one of them then install the other 2 DE then boot the live iso of the 2 DE you installed and copy the config files and place them into your installed system. Reboot into the installed system and you should have the configuration of the desktop environments from the iso's you just copied from. I have done it with openbox and with themes. If i see a theme i like on a distro i will copy the theme folder from the live system to my installed system. It usually works. You just have to make sure you copy eveything, images, icons, fonts etc.