Multiple Desktop Enviroments

I installed KDE, Not loving it, don't want to give up on it.

I want to try XFCE and Cinnamon.

What would be the best way to install XFCE and Cinnamon,

are there any concerns or conflicts?

IF you're going to try this, I highly recommend you use different usernames for each one - which should cut down the possibility of configuration conflicts. I know of people who do this, apparently successfully.

I don't recommend to add in extra DEs on the SAME user - as the resulting errors can not only be strange, but hard to track down!

Alternative methods of trying things include running virtual environments for test purposes, or multi-boot installs (using the same data directories) which is my own method. If you need more details, feel free to ask. Oh - and to add in a DE once you are in a position to do so, there are pre-designated groupings for installation for most DE's - in the case of XFCE the packages are xfce4 and xfce4-goodies if I remember correctly (easily checked online)

And welcome!

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and the package for cinnamon is literally called Cinnamon more for both on their arch wiki pages
XFCE and cinnamon

I decided to go the multi-boot. I like KDE but used to cinnamon, and need to get stuff done.

How would i share the same data directories?

Sorry, Even though I have used linux regularly for 5+ years I still am lost.

I will say I have experimented with at least a dozen distros in the last year and I am LOVING Garuda.

What I do to share data directories across multi-boots is to dedicate a partition to the purpose, and mount it in /etc/fstab - like so:

UUID=45dc179b-b738-46a5-92c5-aa888f9d0e03 /mnt/data      ext4    defaults,noatime 0 2

Obviously, the UUID wil be different on your setup, and can be found by sudo blkid. Then you can run a script similar to this (or just follow the steps) from my new /home/username directory (username to be replaced, of course). This will remove the 'standard directories' from ~ and soft link them to entries in the new data partition. Add in any others you expect to need.

rmdir Documents
ln -s /mnt/data/Documents Documents
rmdir Downloads
ln -s /mnt/data/Downloads Downloads
rmdir Music
ln -s /mnt/data/Music Music
rmdir Pictures
ln -s /mnt/data/Pictures Pictures
rmdir Videos
ln -s /mnt/data/Videos Videos

Of course, the directories would have to empty at the time! Hope that helps. I find it very useful to have the same data accessible from all distros, and of course makes it simple to back it up as well. Another advantage is that a re-install, or the addition of a new distro does not affect the data at all...

Personally, I think you should be very careful if you're doing this stuff, as it can lead to problems if you don't know what you are doing.

Likewise, messing with fstab can result in an unbootable system if you make a mistake. I would highly recommend using the nofail option in fstab for any data drives you mount, especially if they are external drives. Otherwise your boot will hang if the drive is not present.

I'm not telling you not to do this, just giving you fair warning. If your system acts up in any manner after making these kinds of changes be sure to make it clear up front in any help thread exactly what you've done.

IMO you should do more research before making changes like this. My general rule of thumb for this is, if you have to ask, you probably shouldn't.

Only experienced users should make these kinds of changes IMO. Be sure you back up important data before doing anything like this, and if you break it, you fix it. I don't think you'll find a lot of volunteers willing to help you fix your system if you do go down this road.

If you require your system to get work done, then I think this is a poor idea. Multi-booting is itself fraught with its own perils, and again, I feel this is only for advanced users. I personally think you should experiment in a VM if your computer is essential to you.

That being said, the only way you become an experienced user is by breaking stuff.

Have fun, and welcome to the forum. :smile:


Hmm - I could be wrong - but I thought the risks were quite low as there isn't any data generated yet! Quite correct to mention the external drive risk though - I rarely think of that as I only use them for an extra backup, and didn't mention the possibility...

As for general use, quite easy to do, and quite easy to redo, as the only writes on the link end (data just sits there).

Low risk for you, because you are a very experienced user. I'm not saying there's a risk of his computer bursting into flames or anything, but depending on the users experience level there are plenty of pitfalls that can be encountered.

If the machine is non-essential then, sure flyatter by all means. If you need your machine for school or work I would think twice about the possible consequences if you mess things up.


extremely good point. For now I will leave the things as is, use cinnamon which I am familiar with, mess with KDE when I am in the mood. BUT if I ever switch to KDE or start to use them regularly. I will definitely follow @freebird54 advice. Heck, I think its a good idea regardless.

HONESTLY this is something I always wanted. It may be crazy but I carry a M.2 usb drive with me everywhere. I honestly hate the idea that I physically leave my data places and I jump between 3 laptops through out the day.

To be able to set up links to my USB thumb drive seems like a no brainer. I assume there will be issues if the drive is lost or dies, but hey its a neat idea.

I am simply BLOWN away how cool you both are, you both are so helpful and generally are trying to make my life better and understand where I am coming from. I am not a sissy guy but I an genuinely moved and a bit confused.

I guess good people use good distros.

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So awesome, I am definitely going to use this information, one of my laptops has a single physical SSD that is actually 3 Drives, not partitions but 3 drives. Its an old sony and the drive has a built in raid controller to give better performance. Anyways, I use it to test out new distros all the time so I can break stuff and fix it. I am definitely going to make one drive the data drive and link to it and then use the other 2 drives for testing and playing around.

On my main laptop I am going to keep using cinnamon, until I have KDE set up and understand all the keystrokes, when I switch to KDE or what ever I will definitely make a Data partition. such a great idea.

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I hate to be a negative Nelly, but if this is a laptop you use for work I think you're making the right decision by playing it safe. Mess with this kind of stuff on a non-critical machine or in a VM.

Sorry to rain on your parade. It's definitely worth playing with this setup to learn how to do things. I'd just play on a machine that isn't relied upon for work.

Welcome to the distro.

Sorry for bashing your advice @freebird54, I know you are super competent and your advice on how to do this was good. It's just that not everyone is at your level of experience, so I tend to advise caution with this for those trying it for the first time.


That is a great plan, have fun. :+1:

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Yes If I needed any of my laptops or work I wouldn't be messing around.

I actually don't work in any real way.. I make some money but I am mostly retired for the time being. The only reason why I am trying linux is to learn new skills.

I don't like the stress of breaking things, but honestly its something I am REALLY good at.

I know you are new and focused on making cool stuff, but let me know when you start selling merch and stickers.

Keep up the amazing work.

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Now THAT was an exaggeration! :grin: I just dive in and try stuff (after making backups (multi)) and eventually I end up with some knowledge and good practices. It is just a matter of deciding whether it applies!

In most of my setups, I have NVME and/or SSDs for the system(s), and good old inexpensive spinner(s) for the data - and this was the easiest way to reliably access the spinners without potential damage. A broken soft link is an inconvenience at worst - and the drive is still accessible from elsewhere (another distro, or even a live session) using the same easy technique. If the spinner has trouble, a backup drive can be substituted, often without any changes but the UUID.

I guess I developed it as a response to years of building my own machines with a limited budget - although the early ones were small fast spinners joined with slow, bigger ones!

I use a somewhat similar arrangement to yourself. However, I use an SSD hotswap rack instead of multibooting (with large spinner drives for the data). I really never have to worry about breakages as all I have to do is shut down and swap in an alternate SSD with the OS on it and reboot, Easy peasey.

I'd go a step further and even say, "Yer gonna screw the pooch on this one, partner."

There's just no way this ends well, considering the level of competency your questions indicate. I'm sorry--it's just one person's opinion--but if others won't tell you theirs, I'll tell you mine.

There are multiple ways of accomplishing what you are contemplating and what others have suggested. But is it what you really want to do? I thought you said you wanted to learn the various Desktops (there's also WMs), right?

Well, how about doing them one at a time? Because, I guarantee you, you won't be accomplishing your real goal by mixing DEs. That's my best advice, and I only want to save you the heart-ache that I and many others here have gone through by doing pretty much what you're contemplating--and ending up with a real mess. Sometimes ending with data loss, and that can be a heart breaker. I speak from experience. Others can speak from theirs.

Keep your data totally separate from your OS. That means on a separate partition or, better yet, a separate drive. Keep it in folders of the same names every Linux DE uses; Documents, Downloads, Music, etc. Soft-link to them as a fellow up above showed you, or simply use whatever File Manager comes with the DE to do it graphically, it's not hard. Never, ever, keep program configuration files/folders on that separate partition/drive--protect your data.

Anyway, I've ranted long enough. You're gonna do what your gonna do, but don't say I didn't warn you!

The rest of you friggen bums--get off my friggen lawn! :fu: