SOLVED - Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

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jollyjack
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SOLVED - Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by jollyjack »

I'm thinking of changing from Cinnamon to XFCE.

I read somewhere that it's advisable to install the complete XFCE package, rather than just replacing the Cinnamon DE with the XFCE DE. Is that correct? (I guess a clean install isn't a bad idea, anyway...)

As I have separate / and Home partitions, can I just install XFCE into the / partition, and tell XFCE to use the existing Home partition? (I'm nervous that it might insist on its own Home, and ignore or wipe my existing Home.....)

Is it as simple as that?

Thanks
Last edited by jollyjack on Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
Cosmo.
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Re: Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by Cosmo. »

jollyjack wrote:I read somewhere that it's advisable to install the complete XFCE package, rather than just replacing the Cinnamon DE with the XFCE DE. Is that correct?
If you mean with "package" the edition (= the ISO download): yes.
jollyjack wrote:As I have separate / and Home partitions, can I just install XFCE into the / partition, and tell XFCE to use the existing Home partition? (I'm nervous that it might insist on its own Home, and ignore or wipe my existing Home.....)
Yes, that is as simple. Select as installation method "Something else", select there the partition for home, set it as the mount point and make sure to not format this partition. (The / partition has to get formatted).

Addition: Although this will work without problem, you should make at first a backup of your user data. Failures can always happen (user failure, sudden power loss, ...). Only backed up data is needed data.
jollyjack
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Re: Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by jollyjack »

Thanks, Cosmo. I feel more confident, now.

Cheers
jollyjack
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Re: Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by jollyjack »

Another question, please.

I've been playing with XFCE in a separate partition, but that's not the same as real use.

If I install the XFCE DE (XFCE4, via Synaptic Package Manager for example) alongside Cinnamon, will that let me use all my day-to-day apps - mail, web browser, etc - as they are now? EG a unified intray in Thunderbird?

Cheers
Hoser Rob
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Re: Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by Hoser Rob »

jollyjack wrote:Another question, please.

I've been playing with XFCE in a separate partition, but that's not the same as real use.

If I install the XFCE DE (XFCE4, via Synaptic Package Manager for example) alongside Cinnamon, will that let me use all my day-to-day apps - mail, web browser, etc - as they are now? EG a unified intray in Thunderbird?

Cheers
Don't. You will get some supporting this idea but that is my personal fave among dumb noob recommendations. It's a very good way to break your OS, and the way you will be instructed to fix that is a clean reinstall anyway.
jollyjack
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Re: Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by jollyjack »

Thanks Hoser Bob.

I thought that might be a way of testing it "in production", so I could decide if I liked it or not, but if it's going to break my machine......

OK, I guess I just go for it - a clean install as Cosmo described. I have images of /and Home, so if I change my mind, I can always roll back to Cinnamon. At least, I think I can - it'll be a good test of my disaster plan!

Cheers
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karlchen
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Re: Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by karlchen »

<irony>
I am very happy to be appointed a dumb noob finally and publically.
If I install the XFCE DE [...] alongside Cinnamon [...]
You will get some supporting this idea but that is my personal fave among dumb noob recommendations. It's a very good way to break your OS, [...]
Reluctantly, I confess that I am running such a combination of Cinnamon plus xfce on my Mint 17.1 for quite a time now.
It really makes me sad that so far I have not been able to break my OS by doing so.
If any of the experts who keep on proclaiming that this is a good way of breaking my OS could finally be bothered to give me the exact steps of doing so, I would really appreciate.
I really want to break my OS. Please. Do not let me die as an ignorant noob.
</irony>
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Cosmo.
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Re: Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by Cosmo. »

I support the answer by Hoser Rob. Some users say, that it works without problems. others report the contrary. If a user asks about it, telling to not mix 2 DEs is on the safe site.
jollyjack wrote:I thought that might be a way of testing it "in production", so I could decide if I liked it or not, but if it's going to break my machine......
This is doable. Install virtualbox and install Mint with xfce inside as a guest system. Now you can test and experiment as you wish without breaking the host system.
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Re: Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by jollyjack »

Another question, I'm afraid.

At the moment, I'm triple-booting. In order of installation, W10 first, then Cinnamon, then XFCE. This means, I believe , that XFCE "owns" GRUB.

How can I de-install XFCE, so that Cinnamon gets back control of GRUB? If I can do that, I can then replace Cinnamon with a clean installation of XFCE, retaining the existing HOME partition, as discussed above.

Thanks
Cosmo.
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Re: Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by Cosmo. »

You don't need to uninstall Cinnamon for that. Always the last installed system has the control of grub. So if you overwrite the Cinnamon installation wit a new one, this will take control for grub.

Besides that you can give control to another installed Linux system by booting into this system, than you run sudo grub-install /dev/sda; this assumes, that the bootloader is placed on the first drive (= sda).
jollyjack
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Re: Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by jollyjack »

Thanks, Cosmo, I was hoping it was as simple as that.

Right, I'm off to install XFCE over Cinnamon, as discussed

Cheers
acerimusdux
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Re: Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by acerimusdux »

jollyjack wrote:Thanks Hoser Bob.

I thought that might be a way of testing it "in production", so I could decide if I liked it or not, but if it's going to break my machine......
As a rule, it's not. There have been some problems in the past when mixing some Gnome forks, like Cinnamon or Mate, with Gnome (or each other), but these problems when they occur should be considered serious bugs which fundamentally break Unix standards.

And in any case I haven't heard of there ever being problems with mixing Cinnamon with unrelated DEs like XFCE, KDE, LXDE, Enlightenment, etc. You could install all 5 of those and users will be able to choose which they want at login. That's kind of what display managers are for.
jollyjack
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Re: Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by jollyjack »

OK, I've done a clean install of XFCE. All seems to be good, some tidying up to be done.

However, one important panel applet seems to be missing. I think it's called "Windows List" - it shows all the open windows/apps on whichever workspace is open. I can't find it to add to the panel, and I'll miss it badly if it's not available.

Help

EDIT: Found it! It's called Windows Buttons. Yeh!
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Dngrsone
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Re: Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by Dngrsone »

From personal experiencce, mixing KDE with anything else can and does lead to problems. The biggest being merely a lot of resources being used to maintain two DEs at the same time. If you've 16GB of RAM on a desktop machine, then you may not care, but if you are nursing along a laptop with 2GB, this can have a significant impact on performance.

Here's how it works: Say you have a Cinnamon installed and decide to try KDE. So you use the command-line to install KDE:

[command]sudo apt-get install kdm[/command]

But you shortly find out that that doesn't install all of the KDE components you need, so you have to do a complete install:

[command]sudo apt-get install kde-full[/command]

So now you are running KDE. But you like using nemo instead of dolphin. Which is fine: nemo is still there, right? Except nemo is integrated into Cinnamon so now you have Plasma (KDEs desktop manager) running, and by calling up nemo now Cinnamon is also running in the background. You will occasionally see this when shutting down the system: you may get a glimpse of your old Cinnamon desktop flash on the screen as it is shutting down.

Other things can happen: settings change for no apparent reason, or drivers break. Your /home folder starts to gain weight, and sometimes your logs will explode. This can become a bit of a problem if you only allot, say 30GB for your partitions. If the logs fill up the root partition, then your OS will no longer boot (or it might boot up, but then break and restart in a very vicious cycle).

Been there, done that. My recommendation, particularly if you have a large hard drive, is to install your new or testing OS alongside in a new set of partitions. You can easily copy your data between the two installs (or do something weird like place all your data into an agnostic /data partition accessible by any of the OSes, which might require some judicious use of symbolic links), and you will keep these problems from occurring. Plus, it's always nice to start with a fresh Operating System, explore the differences and learn how to break (not break) it while still having a fully functional OS available when you do break something hard.
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jollyjack
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Re: SOLVED - Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by jollyjack »

Dngrsone, I started off as you recommend - putting a different Linux Mint in a separate partition. That's OK as far as it goes, but I wanted to try XFCE as a production system. That meant that running two DEs (Cinnamon and KDE or XFCE) alongside each other. I was hoping to try it as a way of seeing if I liked XFCE. Since I couldn't get it to work, I decided just to go ahead and replace Cinnamon with XFCE.

I found I like it, so I'm keeping it. But, I have replaced Thunar with Nemo - I think it's better

Thanks
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Dngrsone
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Re: SOLVED - Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by Dngrsone »

I do like Thunar's mass-rename function. Unfortunately, just installing Thunar into my KDE does not bring the full power of that file manager.
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Re: SOLVED - Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by Spearmint2 »

Dngrsone wrote:I do like Thunar's mass-rename function. Unfortunately, just installing Thunar into my KDE does not bring the full power of that file manager.
dolphin doesn't do mass renaming? Pretty sure it did in past.
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Dngrsone
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Re: SOLVED - Changing from Cinnamon to XFCE

Post by Dngrsone »

Not as well as Thunar. When running in xfce, Thunar can look at a music folder and suggest renames based on the music metadata, allowing for a more-or-less consistent naming scheme throughout one's collection. Dolphin's rename will allow you to add or subtract prefixes or suffixes, or renumber a bunch of files, but it's not nearly as versatile with media.
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