This video says you can just switch your DE?

So can you & have no issues?

In theory you can, you install the second DE and it will appear on the login screen. In practice i doubt it will go without aaaaany problem. Maybe on different user accounts it will be unproblematic. But on one user account maybe something will conflict somewhere. Like the famous portal-gnome or portal-gtk.

It IS an EXTREMELY bad idea one to have two or more DE’s. Two to install a second DE and remove the old DE. You are better off and far safer installing the OS with the DE you want to try.

Why? This forum is full of this opinion but noone ever gave an actual example of a failing system because two different DEs are installed.

You can. With no issue? Well, that depends; mainly on whatever other accumulated cruft you have installed that might potentially cause issues. You would simply need to be aware of any possible complications beforehand.

Wherever possible, you would need to choose DE’s with at the very least a mutually compatible Display Manager: The DM of choice for KDE, for example, is SDDM. A more lightweight DM such as LightDM might be used for Xfce, or other more lightweight DE’s. LightDM will function with KDE, but likely will have issues. Xfce, Budgie and Mate might all support LightDM, and coexist peacefully; and so on.

So, basically, do your homework before committing to using two (or more) Display Environments on one system.

@Teo raises a valid concern with using multiple DE’s, in that it allows the likelyhood of your user profile being trashed, beyond repair, due to incompatible requirements and theming of each respective DE.

To avoid that possibility, use separate (per DE) user accounts; and create a shared partition for those user accounts, if needed.

OMG - the modern world learning from the University of Youtube is a very depressing concept.

My first problems with multiple desktops was with XFCE and Cinnamon - Cinnamon got messed up so that I ended up reinstalling to clean it up.

I flirted again later on - with better backups - but despite initial good signs, there were still quite a few bugs and glitches just waiting to be uncovered.

In short - just not worth the hassle.

If you really fancy doing an experiment, then I’d suggest you prepare a partition and do a separate clean install and reboot between them. I did this with Cinnamon and KDE. When I decided to go with KDE, I removed it, then installed on the Cinnamon partition clean, then restored settings etc from the backup - no point having more than one desktop for day to day use.

Short answer:

  • If you’re asking, then the answer is probably NO.
  • If you’re a real guru then the answer is - POSSIBLY, but not guaranteed.
  • KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid - or… Keep it Separate, See?)

Not even remotely true. Actually search more than the forum. I myself have on more than one occasion tried two different DE’s in the past and every time one bled into the other changing settings in it.

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Well, there you have it, Edward78.

Yes, you can; but should you? It’s always better to err on the side of caution.

Anything’s possible, but:

Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it.

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You can - but depending on your choices - expect issues.

  • Xfce and Gnome - based on GTK - likely no issues.
  • LXQt and Plasma - based on Qt - likely no issues.
  • Plasma and Gnome - different toolkits - different view of world - likely to create issues.

It depends on which is mixed - Plasma and Gnome is an example of systems which do not play well together. You will not get a failing system but some weird behavior may appear.

Mixing Qt toolkit (Plasma) with Gnome toolkit (GTK) is a recipe for a bad looking desktop - weird theming issues - different and sometimes conflicting apps auto started.

The reason can be seen in /etc/xdg which contains various scripts which is run no matter the chosen DE.

Plasma and Gnome each have their own scripts and apps which is holding keys and passwords.

Those will collide at some point - not that things will be failing as such - but you will encounter weird issues - and that is why it is not recommended.

When you encounter such weird behaviour the first thing you do is creating a topic on the forum - and it can be very hard to provide any meaningful response to such issues simply because the post doesn’t know that the mix of Plasma and Gnome may be in play and therefore does not say anything about it.

But if you know what you are doing - then mix ahead … but don’t come to the forum with un-explainable issues rising from the mix.

I have to ask


The apps are the same - they function exactly identical - the only difference is the look and feel - and with Gnome an - almost - complete lack of customisation - which is intended to increase the stability.

In that sentiment - expect extreme Plasma customisation to cause issues at some point.


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