2010-07-24 Ubuntu to Xubuntu

I have an Ubuntu install and being interested in saving some CPU cycles I decided I wanted to give Xubuntu a try. I tried installing the xubuntu-desktop meta-package and other stuff, logged in using the Xubuntu session, but I’ve noticed that some sort of Gnome (Nautilus?) is still running: I changed my desktop to something other than the Ubuntu default. When I log in, I see the login prompt (gdm?) with the Ubuntu background, then the Xubuntu background as my processes start up, then it switches to the Ubuntu background again and the image files on my desktop are replaced with big preview icons (!), and then it switches to the Xubuntu background again and the image files on my desktop are once again represented with a simple icon.

Indeed, ps tells me I have a nautilus --sm-client-id 2e119a910-0da7-475b-bff1-ea6cb80fe0a9 --sm-client-state-file /home/alex/.config/session-state/nautilus-1279962295.desktop running. That’s not cool. How did it get there? How can I get rid of it? Who’s starting it? Grrr.

In fact, I’d like a clean Xubuntu desktop and remove all the Ubuntu stuff. Is this possible? When I run sudo tasksel and pick the Xubuntu Desktop option, it runs for a bit and then it aborts. I’ve just restarted it as sudo tasksel install xubuntu-desktop instead of picking stuff interactively and it has been running for a few minutes now. We’ll see how it goes. :)

Update: Well, the first part went just fine. Then, in my foolishness, I decided that I needed to tasksel remove ubuntu-desktop – and it took me many minutes to realize that this was basically wiping most of my system. Not good. I interrupted this by watching the output of top and figuring out the pid of the dpkg process responsible for it all. Then I spent a lot of time starting apt-cache and aptitude trying to fix things. I had gotten the idea that maybe I needed to tasksel install server – the most basic option – before doing anything else. But again, it would abort a few seconds after starting. Finally I decided to run sudo tasksel install xubuntu-desktop again and it works, apparently. I fear the laptop will keep installing packages for another hour or two.

What a waste of time. :(

Update: Running sudo apt-get remove ubuntu-desktop and sudo apt-get autoremove. I have a bad feeling about this. Will my self-compiled Emacs still work? Apparently it won’t! But there’s no more Nautilus around! So that’s a win.



  1. try to get htop, which is top in comfortable (you don’t have to find out the HUD anymore to do stuff with the programs, I mostly use it to terminate frozen programs)
  2. uninstalling ubuntu-desktop should actually not do anything, as far as I know that’s just a package with all the right dependencies to install the whole gnome package
  3. you might want to get an alternative for nautilus, any of the other file managers. or better: you should change the settng from nautilus to the other one. right now your system still thinks nautilus is the goto file manager. might have something to do with your wallpaper settings. on the other hand i normally use nautilus even in xfce because it’s just more comfortable

Thanks. Must take a look at htop.

Uninstalling ubuntu-desktop does nothing, you are right. But the subsequent apt-get autoremove removes all dependencies no longer required. Which are most of the packages required by ubuntu-desktop.

That apparently got rid of nautilus. Right now I’m using thunar. I guess I’ll return once I realize what features I’m actually missing. All I noticed up to now was that gvfs support was missing. I had to create a folder for every remote host I’m interested in and add appropriate “folder actions” to mount it.

AlexSchroeder 2010-07-28 08:48 UTC

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