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It is trivial to try out a different desktop environment on Linux. The process doesn't commit you, and you can back out to your previous environment at any time.

1. Install the environment(s) you want to try.

2. Log out of your present desktop session and select the new alternative at your display manager (log-in) prompt.

That's it.

Or, if you don't want to log out entirely, create a new test account, and use that (with a new session -- yes, you _can_ run multiple desktop sessions at a time) and try out different desktop environments / window managers.

Or, use Xephyr, a nesting X server, to run X within your present X session.

Or, use a virtual machine to test a different OS entirely (heavier weight than other options).

Lots of alternatives.




I don't think the OP has a problem figuring out how to try a new DE. The question was whether it's worth it. The nuanced answers of users with considerable experience is more valuable (IMHO) than just firing up Xfce for a session or two.


The effort to do so is so low that yes, if you're curious, it's worth it.


If you use lvm snapshots (which are very well documented in the arch wiki), you can try horrible system-destroying changes and just roll back if you don't like it or want to have another go. I had a lot of fun doing that when I first tried arch.


That presumes you're using LVM partitions in the first place. I've generally found those to be a level of fussery that's sufficiently 1) advanced and 2) rarely exercised that I prefer _not_ dealing with them. Easier to either rely on a package management system which doesn't betray you (among the reasons I tend to like Debian and its derivatives -- and no, I haven't played with Arch or its PM, though the OP clearly is), or set up a specific test account for such things.


Its trivial to install another desktop but I swapped (I think from Cinnamon to Gnome on Mint), and it messed up all my themes and fonts when I swapped back. Its not always as perfect as it sounds. (Saying that I think my fix was to move to XFCE, which has had far less problems overall.)


Point that.


Not entirely true. Installing xubuntu-desktop on Ubuntu, changes the greeter (the login screen) and it takes some googling and editing config files to get back the more modern looking Unity greeter. If one cares about such details.


Fair point that. lightdm got itself installed on my Debian laptop a ways back, it's sufficiently non-annoying that I've left it be. The GNOME desktop manager bugs the crap out of me. I'm old-school enough to still somewhat like xdm, though I've used wdm (windowmaker / GNUStep) and kdm.

I interact with any of them so infrequently that it's really not a concern.




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