Will different desktop environments for different logins create issues?

I use the i3wm version of Manjaro and think it is great.

However my partner is less of a fan and would like a different desktop environment for their login (we both have separate logins).

Would each login having its own DE be likely to cause an issue regards configurations etc, if we were both to stick to our chosen DE? A previous post:


makes me think it could do? (NB - the forum didn’t allow me to include this as a link, sorry, so just pasting title)

If it shouldn’t cause problems then how would I go about this? Is it as simple as logging into their account running pamac install xfce4, then logging out and logging in (whilst selecting a login window)?

A supplementary question is what are the install commands for the other supported editions, I’m assuming it is pamac install gnome and pamac install plasma?

Xfce and Gnome can co-exist.

I am not so sure KDE plays nicely with Gnome - but experience tells me - even if you use separate users - you may run into weird issues.

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While not representative, I didn’t experience any issues with cinnamon, xfce and i3.
But i run primarily xfce

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While the 2 users will have the same packages, it should work better with them having 2 separate /home directories where all the configs like gtkrc will reside.
It is true that some DE’s play nicer with others. IIRC the worst combination is Plasma and Gnome.
(though that may no longer be the case)
Whereas a WM (like i3) should be fine to mix with just about anything else.

Heres some stuff on ‘adding’ DEs:


No need to log in to their account.
The software gets installed system wide - all users have access to it once it is installed.

You might want to peruse the pre-made configuration that each DE in Manjaro comes with.

If you want your wifes account to have this, you must manually copy the relevant files that are as a template in /etc/skel/* to her $HOME

This is most easily done from her account
cp -r /etc/skel/* ~/
otherwise, permission issues could arise
preferrably from TTY - before the first login into that account with the new DE installed,
as a running DE can interfere and prevent the configuration to be changed that way.

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I don’t think there is any problem, as I have done it several times before. During login, each user (having separate home directory) should chose the DE they want to use.

I have used several DE’s for the same user many times, and didn’t face any problem.
Therefore, for two separate users (and two separate Home Directories), there shouldn’t be any problem, as each DE will have its config files in a separate place…

All the best.

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So just to follow up.

I logged into my partners account. Ran pamac install xfce4. Rebooted. Selected xfce on the login screen for the other account and logged in.

All appears to be fine. Both accounts appear to be working as intended. Thanks for everyone’s help.

You could even have installed xfce4 from your account :wink: .
It wouldn’t change anything as long as you pick your DE from the login screen.

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You are undoubtedly right. It just felt wrong to do it from a different account. Kind of like having a drink when urinating. Technically nothing wrong with it, just feels a bit weird. :wink:

A follow-up to my follow-up.

There is one noticeable difference, I’ve now realised. The screenlock from my XFCE account is muscling in on my i3 account. So now after 5 min or so of activity on my i3 account the screen locks - but when I unlock it I have to enter my password twice, first to unlock the i3 lock then to unlock the XFCE lock which appears immediately after. I am not sure if this appears at all times; but it has happened a number of times. I don’t think it happens in reverse (e.g. the i3 lock appears on XFCE), but I haven’t deep dived this.

I tried commenting out my i3 lock from my i3 config file, but this just resulted in no lock at all! If anyone is interested then my i3 config lock looks like this (I did change it from default which I remember wasn’t working that well):

exec_always --no-startup-id xautolock -detectsleep -time 5 -locker "i3lock -n -c 2F4F4F" -killtime 10 -killer "systemctl suspend" &

This is such a minor issue (plus I’ve kind of got a lot of things going on at the moment) that I’m not going to bother to fix it. But thought it would be good to document anyhow. If I do figure it out in twelve months or so, if I remember I’ll try and post what I did. Feel free to leave suggestions, but due to more pressing matters, please forgive me if I don’t respond.

since you are using i3, why not keep the i3 lock configuration, and go to xfce power management, and disable xfce lock ? I think this makes sense.
having done this on your account does not affect your partner’s account, as they has completely different config files in their home directory.

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There will be conflict between multiple desktop environments installed on same system. There are applications, like you found, that could conflict (like the ones added to autostart /etc/xdg/autostart/), and maybe some system services.

go to xfce power management, and disable xfce lock

Great idea. I went to Power Manager → System → Security and unticked the ‘Lock screen when system is going to sleep’ and I’m back to how it was. Thanks for the suggestion.