Testing differend desktop environments

I'm a i3wm user and I love it but I'm bored and want to play with different DE. Usual recommendation is not to install several environments on one system to not to bloat it with different applications and some config files might go into conflict with each other. I've got it when I was using Ubuntu and I don't want to repeat it here. I try to keep my system clean so I thought about creating a new user account and do it there. My question is - when I install DE would it be available to all users? I want to keep it separately for every account. If I'll uninstall it later would it leave any unwanted traces in the system or on the disk? My main concern is to be able to go back to exactly the same state where I was before, after removing ED and deleting that additional user account.

PS. I don't want to use VM.


The DEs will be available for all users but as long as you are careful which account you use to login to each DE there should be no extra data written to the other users.

Of course, it is a pretty easy mistake to make.

If this is your goal you are better off testing in a VM. Removing a DE leaving no traces behind is not easy. Also, the settings packages all conflict with each other.

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I don't want to use VM because "trying" for me means using it all day long for a long time, that is why I thought about a new user account. I've read it somewhere that it's a "safer" option, but I wanted to ask first. The other option is to make a new installation on a different disk (on a laptop), but it's hdd, not ssd, and it would make an experience with a new DE a little bit daunting.

It is substantially safer, relatively speaking. However, if you want 0 risk, the best way to achieve that is with system backups or a separate install.

Thank You. I will install it somewhere else then.

My way of testing is install Manjaro into USB drives/SD cards and boot from there. It's actually quite smooth running on a SD card.

Pity there is not an effective way to sandbox different environments.
Let's work this out better.

  1. installing VM -> means terrible performance, or a super good hardware but anyway means suboptimizing the current possibilities
  2. a separate installation, cool, but then you are going to remove it eventually and have to do a lot of repartitioning, and then you need to reinstall again the sw
  3. Installing all the desktop environments in one place. Is my favorite solution, and I guess is possible to do it, as long as you are careful which account you use to login to each DE there should be no extra data written to the other users.

If I need to do another install is odd, because I need to install as duplicate the software i use, this is not efficient. I am really surprised that there is not ONE linux distro that takes into account this need, that is something everybody dreams.

If I well understand ou say what yis feasible to install different environments in different user directory. And that the mess comes ONLY if I am running a sw that has KDE dependencies under Gnome by mistake right?If I well understood what you mean.
Well in this case it would be sufficient to set execute permissions limited by different user directories, it is something difficult to do, that there is not one linux distro that does that, although is such a recurrent question?

I use Timeshift, but not in the way i'm about to describe [i use it exclusively to roll back a borked update if i can't fix it any other way including chroot].

The Timeshift Dev's website states [or at least it used to; i've not checked there for years] that one way to use TS is to make distro-hopping [& i therefore suggest also DE-hopping] easy & pain-free. Make a Snapshot of current system, then make the distro/DE change, later you can bounce back to the old system simply by restoring that snapshot... rinse & repeat for other alternatives.

IMO however if you do this, you would HAVE to use TS in another way also that i don't... you'd have to enable it to include your /home in its snapshots, given that all the user-config directories & files per DE get written here. In turn, this would expose you to a really significant hazard if you're careless... if you store all your docs etc in your /home, all changes since the last snapshot would vaporise each time you restored an older snapshot.

Ergo i suspect that prior to embarking on this adventure it'd be best for you to create a separate /data partition that is excluded from all TS snapshots, & ensure that all your critical personal docs & data reside there, not in their otherwise default /home places.


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