Turn Ubuntu 20.04 into Xubuntu


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From Gnome Shell to Xfce: Ubuntu 20.04 becomes Xubuntu 20.04

Maybe you don't like the appearance of Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa, with the Gnome Shell desktop. There's no accounting for tastes...

In that case, you have several options for changing your desktop and its looks, for Linux is all about choice. An easy method is, to install in Ubuntu the more traditional desktop of Xubuntu (Xfce). This way, you can avoid a fresh installation of Xubuntu (although a clean installation is technically a slightly better option).

Normally I'm against installing other desktops next to the original one. Because this always causes system pollution and increases the chance of malfunctions.

But installing the Xubuntu desktop (Xfce) in Ubuntu (Gnome) gives hardly any problems, because they are very much alike "under the hood". Furthermore, you can hugely decrease the inevitable system pollution by a couple of simple actions.


Clean and easy

The Xubuntu desktop has a clean, professional and functional look. Easy to operate and complete. Without useless frills, which is one of the reasons why Xubuntu is very stable and reliable.

Especially former Windows users will be able to adjust to the Xubuntu desktop very quickly. Rapid access to all of your applications, and you're productive in no time at all!


Screenshot

Below you see a screenshot of Xubuntu. With the default wallpaper, which can of course be changed easily.

A click on the "mouse head" icon in the upper left corner of the screen, launches the menu (click on the image to enlarge it):



How-to

This is how you transform your Ubuntu 20.04 into Xubuntu 20.04:


1. Installation of the Xubuntu desktop

a. Establish internet connection.

b. Click on the big square button with the rows of white dots (Show Applications) on the bottom left. Use the query Terminal
Click on Terminal

c. Copy/paste the following line into the terminal (it's one line!):

sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop synaptic

Press Enter. Type your password. Your password will remain entirely invisible, not even dots will show when you type it, that's normal. Press Enter again.

Now an intensive operation is being launched; simply wait.

d. Afterwards, remove gdm3, because you want Xubuntu's LightDM instead. Use this terminal command:

sudo apt-get remove gdm3

Press Enter. When requested, type your password. Your password will remain entirely invisible, not even dots will show when you type it, that's normal. Press Enter again.

This will also remove some useless meta packages for the Ubuntu desktop, which is intentional.

e. If you have a small keyboard with no separate numeric key pad (numpad): remove the package numlockx, because otherwise your keyboard might give you a nasty surprise. Use this terminal command:

sudo apt-get remove numlockx

f. When the above has been done: reboot your computer. A full reboot is required: a simple logout won't do.


2. Log in to the Xubuntu desktop

a. After the reboot, you end up in the login window of LightDM. Before logging in, click on the mouse logo, in the top right of the panel. Select Xubuntu Session.

b. Enter your password and press Enter. Now the Xubuntu desktop appears! Perhaps it doesn't look pretty yet, but all that is easily changeable.

First: the Great Cleanup!


3. The big cleanup

Now it's time for cleanup, in order to prevent system pollution problems.

Note: the cleanup will remove as much as possible of Ubuntu's desktop environment Gnome Shell, so afterwards you won't be able to use Gnome Shell anymore!

a. Click on the mouse icon (top left in the panel) - Accessories - Terminal Emulator

b. Copy/paste the following line into the terminal, that's both easier and safer than typing (it's one line!):

sudo apt-get remove nautilus nautilus-* gnome-power-manager gnome-screensaver gnome-termina* gnome-pane* gnome-applet* gnome-bluetooth gnome-desktop* gnome-sessio* gnome-user* gnome-shell-common zeitgeist-core libzeitgeist* gnome-control-center gnome-screenshot && sudo apt-get autoremove

Press Enter. Type your password. Your password will remain entirely invisible, not even dots will show when you type it, that's normal. Press Enter again.

c. Reboot your computer. After this reboot you should see a much cleaner system.

d. That's it! Your Ubuntu has almost completely changed into Xubuntu by now.


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