Thursday, September 28, 2023
rated 0 times [  2] [ 0]  / answers: 1 / hits: 486  / 1 Year ago, tue, september 6, 2022, 7:10:35

I'm having a hard time understanding the dependencies of software on (the combination of) Ubuntu distributions, desktop environments, window managers, file managers and what have you.

What I'm particularly worried about is that I might install software that doesn't play nice with any of the aforementioned processes and that it messes up those processes and/or uses different config files, spread in different locations, etc.

Could you give a short overview of what elementary knowledge, about the architecture of linux systems, is needed to determine whether a software package is suitable for a particular set-up?

More From » package-management


Here's a quick overview of the Desktop Environments available:

├── Enlightenment
├── GNOME2 -> MATE
├── GNOME3
│   ├── Cinnamon
│   │   └── Muffin
│   ├── Gnome-Shell
│   │   └── Mutter
│   └── Unity
│   └── compiz
├── KDE
├── LXDE
├── MATE
└── XFCE

Gnome (both the erstwhile GNOME2 [now MATE] and GNOME3) and KDE are comprehensive suites, with components tightly integrated with each other. They can include a lot of things, even office suites. Enlightenment, XFCE and LXDE considerably lighter and have fewer apps under their respective umbrellas. Some rules of thumb:

  • If you install something from the heavyweight DEs, be prepared to have half the DE dragged in. This is very much component dependent - some lower-level components do not depend on a lot of things. For example:

    1. Gnome3 has three major shells that I know of - Unity, Gnome Shell and Cinnamon (developed by the friendly devs at Linux Mint) and two file explorers (Nautilus and Nemo). In the old days, Nemo used to depend on the Cinnamon shell itself, so you had to install it along with Nemo even if you didn't use it.

    2. Installing yakuake (a drop-down terminal) one my Gnome3-based setup drags in about 60 packages (and 301 on a headless server). For comparison, Terminator (an independent terminal) needed 2 (and 144 on the same headless server).

  • The lighter DEs have a much sparser feature set. LXDE doesn't even have its own Window Manager that I am aware of (it uses OpenBox).

  • In general, GNOME apps are developed in GTK, and KDE apps in Qt. Enlightenment apps use the EFL (Enlightenment Foundation Libraries).

  • In general, things should work even if you mix and match. Especially with XFCE and LXDE, you should have no problem using their components in the other DEs.

  • There might be themeing issues. These are the biggest headaches - every now and then you can see a question here asking how to get back the old look after installing kde-desktop on a standard Ubuntu. You can look around the answers to find out what goes where.

[#24131] Tuesday, September 6, 2022, 1 Year  [reply] [flag answer]
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