Soapbox Stand: Why I hate Installing Multiple DE’s
This rant is mostly due to my constant desire to try things. I am a tinkerer by nature. Most people accept the default Desktop Environment, and move on. Not me, I am constantly in a state of flux, due to ADD, and the fact I always feel I have to keep moving. To be honest, I haven’t yet found that one DE, or seen “improvements” yet (*cough* gnome), that satisfy all my needs. Allow me to explain.
So many to choose from, so little time!
Sure, there are the prolific DEs such as Gnome, KDE, XFCE, LXDE, and so on. But, unknown to some are window managers such as AWESOME. The vast lot to choose from is mind boggling, but thankfully the major DEs are around and get a fair bit of attention in development as well. These major DE’s seem to go through the most changes, good or bad.
Where my impulsive nature gets me
I simply can’t decide on any one DE. What then happens, is you end up with configuration “dot” folders everywhere, and multiple configuration tools for the exact same thing. Sometimes, some of these tools and options are hidden from view, but other times, they are not. What then happens is this…
Removing DEs….Be Careful
Sure, you can find extensive options in your package manager of choice to remove the DE from your system, but often certain packages were installed, that depend on that environment. This can cause havoc in my experience, but not always. In the case of Arch Linux, ‘pacman -Runs gnome gnome-extra’ usually does the trick safely. This is not the case with all systems. Fling around the wrong package manager option, and you are left in turmoil. I have done this before, and it is NOT a good idea. So what happens then? Well, you can remove packages recursively, or without save, and also wipe them from /var/ cache. Moral of the story, just be careful
So what do you do?
The moral of the story, at least in my experience, is to try and stick with a DE when you do your install. Now, if you are a full fledged inpatient oddball like me, you only run into this problem on systems such as Arch, where you feel you can willy nilly install things here and there, because that is Arch’s philosophy, build your own. If you stick to 1 or 2 DE’s, you’ll often have less of a headache as well.
The best thing to do if you mess up your DE, is to start over with your username. This sounds radical, but often, even if you clean up your dot directories (.gnome, .mate, .kde and so on), there are often other things that exist that really make the said cleanups, not full “resets.” You will not lose /etc/ configs and such going to a new user, but you will have to transfer or redo some application settings, which for a home user, is not the end of the world.