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Changing the Default Window Manager in Linux: KDE and Gnome Anyone?

written by: •edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 7/4/2011

Ubuntu by default comes with Gnome as its desktop manager, Kubuntu with KDE. However, it is possible to run KDE and/or Gnome on either distro and switch between the two with relative ease. These are just two examples, so if you want to change you default windows manager, here’s how.

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    Ubuntu & KDE, Kubuntu & Gnome

    The most popular Linux distro in current times, Ubuntu comes with Gnome as its default desktop manager. However one luxury that Linux users enjoy over Windows users is the choice of a desktop management system, and there are several desktop managers to chose from which are in use today.

    One such choice is KDE, and although the default desktop for Ubuntu is Gnome, you can use KDE if you wish. Oppositely you can have Gnome if you are using Kubuntu which has a default KDE install. Both are easily transferable and effective on either distro.

    To use both Gnome and KDE you need to download and install KDE on Ubuntu or Gnome if you are on Kubuntu. This way you have two desktop managers which you can switch between as and when you wish. Setting up an Ubuntu environment with both Gnome and KDE is a pretty easy task. Here’s how to go about it.

    If you are on Ubuntu then the first step would be to download and install KDE. To install KDE fire up the terminal and type

    sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

    Alternatively, if you are using Kubuntu you can install Gnome by typing

    sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

    You will be prompted to enter your password, after which you are be asked if you want to continue with the installation. Type in 'Y' and press enter. The installation will continue. It will take a while to download and install KDE/Gnome and once it is installed the next step is to reboot your system.

    After rebooting your system choose which session (KDE or Gnome) you want to log into in the login screen.

    When presented with the login screen, click on the 'Options' or press F10 to bring up the options menu. Click on 'Select Session' menu item which provides you with a list of all the available sessions you can log into. Select KDE or Gnome and click 'Change Session'. You will be asked if you want to make the desktop manager you choose, as your default desktop manager. Click 'Make Default' or 'Just For This session' if you want to run your choice of desktop manager only for that particular session.

    That’s it. Now, you have both Gnome and KDE installed on your system and you can switch between the two with consummate ease.