Desktop Environment selection instead of several editions.

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cristopher0310
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Desktop Environment selection instead of several editions.

Post by cristopher0310 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:36 am

Hello.
I am new on the forums but I have used Linux Mint (LM)for several years.

My suggestion is to incorporate some kind of Desktop Environment (DE) management or selection during installation.
This way we can have a single edition of LM instead different editions for the different DEs: Cinnamon, XFCE and Mate.

This is inspired by the Debian installation process, which it let us choose the DEs we want to install at some point:

https://i.imgur.com/LoIiGP0.jpg

It may also manage some DEs that don't have LM Customization, like KDE, LXDE, openbox etc;
just making a clear distinction between those categories.
This DE manager may even be available post installation to add or remove DEs as we please.

Thanks.

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Pjotr
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Re: Desktop Environment selection instead of several editions.

Post by Pjotr » Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:40 am

That certainly does have the advantage that the Mint dev team will have to do less iso testing. It lightens their work load.

I'm not so sure that it's also an advantage for the end users: it means considerably bigger downloads. Fast cheap internet isn't available everywhere on the planet....
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gm10
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Re: Desktop Environment selection instead of several editions.

Post by gm10 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:13 am

cristopher0310 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:36 am
This DE manager may even be available post installation to add or remove DEs as we please.
You can already install other DEs via Software Manager post installation and you can switch to them on the login screen. The problem with changing DEs is really that you're sharing the same settings database in your home folder and that can create conflicts where DEs are closely related and use the same settings. Ideally you create a separate user profile for every DE, but even then you still get the applications from the other DE in your menu, so you'd have 3+ file managers, etc.

Regarding changing the installation medium, I guess it would be nice if users could try the different DE's from a single download, but I'm afraid the complications from having them all installed would just be confusing. And while there would be ways to make the programs from one DE invisible to another DE, that's not good, either, because a user may want to legitimately download and try them on another DE. Maybe there's a way here that I'm missing, I haven't really thought this through, but from where I stand right now I don't think it's viable.
Pjotr wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:40 am
That certainly does have the advantage that the Mint dev team will have to do less iso testing.
Not so sure about that - more complexity = more ways that things can go wrong.

I don't think the download size would be that much of a problem. It would add what, maybe 200 MB at most? Better than having to download the separate images.

cristopher0310
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Re: Desktop Environment selection instead of several editions.

Post by cristopher0310 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:52 am

Sorry for not answering earlier.
gm10 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:13 am
The problem with changing DEs is really that you're sharing the same settings database in your home folder and that can create conflicts where DEs are closely related and use the same settings. Ideally you create a separate user profile for every DE, but even then you still get the applications from the other DE in your menu, so you'd have 3+ file managers, etc.
Indeed, to me that seems like a flaw in the way DEs are managed in Linux (not just Mint)
That is why I was thinking that maybe a new way to handle DE is needed,
even though the main idea was to substitute multiple editions by a DE selection during installation.

gm10 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:13 am
I don't think the download size would be that much of a problem. It would add what, maybe 200 MB at most? Better than having to download the separate images.
I made a test: I have LM Cinnamon and ran the apt commands to install mint-meta-mate and mint-meta-xfce
The download size for XFCE is 6 514 kB and the space to use is 37.9MB
For MATE the download size is and 56.1 MB and it takes that 200 MB in the Hard Drive.
The only additional DE I had is LXDE.
Maybe I am missing something.

gm10 wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:13 am
You can already install other DEs via Software Manager post installation and you can switch to them on the login screen.
I removed LXDE via apt in terminal and after restarting is still on the login list.
I was even able to select it and open it, even if the meta-package is not installed.
I reinstalled the computer and removed it via software manager and the same happens.
Doesn't look like either can remove all leftover applications when you remove a DE, at least not without extra steps.
I did not try with a Mint supported DE because I am afraid the same will happen and I will have to remove all the elements manually.

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Re: Desktop Environment selection instead of several editions.

Post by gm10 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:01 am

cristopher0310 wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:52 am
I removed LXDE via apt in terminal and after restarting is still on the login list.
I was even able to select it and open it, even if the meta-package is not installed.
I reinstalled the computer and removed it via software manager and the same happens.
Doesn't look like either can remove all leftover applications when you remove a DE, at least not without extra steps.
I did not try with a Mint supported DE because I am afraid the same will happen and I will have to remove all the elements manually.
When you remove a meta-package like you did you do not necessarily remove all of the dependencies it installed. The easiest way is to take a timeshift system snapshot before you do the installation and then just go back to that. If that's not an option then your best option is to check your /var/log/apt/history.log (incl. archived variants if it was long ago) and see what packages actually got installed when you installed the meta package (or even better note them down when you first install the meta, it's everything after it tells you "the following new packages will be installed:". Then remove all of them manually. But pay attention that nothing else you still need goes with them because you may have installed something else in the meantime that depends on it.

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