Ubuntu 12.04 – How to Install the Xubuntu Desktop

These instructions are for installing the Xubuntu Desktop in Ubuntu 12.04 running the Unity Desktop.

Installation instructions may be the same or similar for other versions of Ubuntu or for other Linux distros, but no guarantee is made.

Installing Xubuntu Desktop is like having installed Xubuntu originally.

It will install the desktop and all the applications that make up Xubuntu.

It does not remove any applications that are part of Ubuntu. This means you will have new applications that perform the same or similar functions as applications already installed with Ubuntu 12.04. (For example, the word processor AbiWord). This can lead to bloat on your system.

The Xubuntu Desktop is a custom configured version of the Xfce Desktop.

Xfce is much smaller than Xubuntu Desktop. It also installs fewer applications. Some of these applications duplicate the functionality of applications already installed in Ubuntu 12.04. Installation instructions can be found here.

An article listing alternative desktops for Ubuntu 12.04 can be found here.

If you are changing desktops because you are totally lost / confused by Unity, I suggest reading this tutorial and giving Unity a chance.

Of course, if you really hate Unity, then Xubuntu Desktop is an alternative desktop.

Xubuntu Desktop will install 283MB of files and data to your hard disk.

Some images may be clicked for full sized versions.

What it Looks Like

The basic, straight-out-of-the-box, look of the desktop is:

Note: the launcher at the bottom only appears when the mouse cursor is near the bottom of the screen. Otherwise, the launcher is hidden.

Installing From the Command Line

If you are comfortable with Linux and know how to use the command line and apt-get then the command is:

sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

Detailed instructions for accessing a command line can be found here.

Afterwards, restart your system. It should be enough to just log out and the log back in with the new desktop, but it doesn’t hurt to restart.

Installing From the Ubuntu Software Center

Some images may be clicked for full sized versions.

1) Launch the Ubuntu Software Center by clicking the icon on the Launcher:

2) Enter xubuntu-desktop into the search field. This will bring up related entries.

3) Click on the entry Xubuntu desktop system – this will highlight it in orange:

4) Click on Install:

5) Enter your password and click Authenticate:

6) After installation is finished, click on the System icon in the upper right corner of the desktop and select Shut Down… from the drop down menu:

Note: it may be enough to just log out and log back in using the new desktop, but it doesn’t hurt to restart either.

7) Click on Restart:

Selecting the Desktop

After the system has restarted, it is necessary to select the new desktop from the login screen.

It is only necessary to select the desktop the first time after installation. Ubuntu will remember your your desktop for future logins.

You can even install multiple desktops and switch between them.

8) Click the icon in the top right of the Login box:

9) Select Xubuntu Session:

Xubuntu is a customized version of Xfce. This is why an Xfce session appears as well.

If you select Xfce Session then you will get the standard Xfce desktop.

10) Login:

Notice the icon in the upper right hand corner has changed to a different icon. Some, not all, desktop environments will present an icon there.

If an icon is present, this provides a quick way to see which desktop environment you are logging into.