Historic Linux destktop environment question

This topic was created by Kiwi .

  1. Kiwi Silver badge

    Historic Linux destktop environment question

    Hi there,

    Wanting to settle an argument and would be happy to be proven wrong.

    I've been using Linux for some time, and as my main desktop for most of that time. I've used various display managers and desktop environments in that time, including having several set up on one machine. I can recall using Super Karamba (sp) for some display effects perhaps back as far as 2005 (maybe earlier, maybe NOT that far back), and also earlier KDE and Gnome, plus others (eg whatever earlier Knoppix was based around).

    I do not recall being able to change DE without at least logging out, and perhaps even having to restart the machine (or at least re-start X).

    I have a friend who insists that you used to be able to change desktop environment while logged in, without logging out. He claims he can remember using a menu while logged in to make the change. I myself am quite certain that the architecture would not allow this although I am also aware I can run "kde-only" programs under Mate with the appropriate packages installed.

    I'd love for any of the older hands to confirm either side. I'm quite happy to learn in these matters and have no objections to being proven wrong or even being proven a total idiot from time to time :)

    Much thanks for any responses.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Historic Linux destktop environment question

      "you used to be able to change desktop environment while logged in, without logging out."

      Still can. Easiest way is to boot into run level 3 (command prompt instead of GUI), login, then start your GUI. When you want to use another GUI., stop the first (which takes you back to your shell prompt without logging you out) and fire up your preferred alternate. This can easily be scripted.

      Or fire up the second GUI alongside the first on a second virtual console, and then hot-key between them. Back in the day when I was doing more dev work on Slackware, I often had xfce, gnome, kde and fvwm running concurrently. Drops tones of .files and .directories in your home directory, though. Suggest you create a throw-away login before playing with this option.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: Historic Linux destktop environment question


        I'm so used to using display managers I'd never thought of doing it this way. I can see how it works.

        I'll have a play on the weekend, I think it could be fun (also meaning to play with Slackware as well so might create a couple of VMs).

        I do feel that the different desktops don't play as well together as they used to, especially on some of the "friendlier" distributions. But that could also be a function/special gift of systemd - I know I've swapped DE's on Devuan many times without issue but tried it on a recent Zorin without luck. XFCE isn't there, haven't looked at fvwm, Cinamon is there but didn't work (the only one I've tried).

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