Ubuntu, a popular Linux distribution, comes with a variety of desktop environments. One of them is Gnome Flashback, a lightweight and highly customizable desktop environment. This article will guide you on how to set Gnome Flashback as the default desktop environment on Ubuntu 18.04.
To set Gnome Flashback as the default desktop environment on Ubuntu 18.04, you can use the
update-alternatives command to select Gnome Flashback as the session manager, modify the user account file to set the value of "xsession" to "gnome-flashback-metacity", or reconfigure the default display manager to choose Gnome Flashback.
What is Gnome Flashback?
Gnome Flashback is a session for GNOME 3 which was initially called “GNOME Fallback”, and shipped as a stand-alone session in Debian and Ubuntu. It provides a similar user experience to the GNOME 2.x series sessions. The differences to the MATE project are that Gnome Flashback has not forked any code, does not install any new libraries, and remains tightly integrated with GNOME 3.
Installing Gnome Flashback
Before we can set Gnome Flashback as the default, we need to install it. Open a terminal and run the following command:
sudo apt-get install gnome-session-flashback
This command uses the
apt-get package manager to install the
gnome-session-flashback package. The
sudo command is used to run the command with root privileges.
Setting Gnome Flashback as the Default
update-alternatives command in Ubuntu allows you to manage and maintain symbolic links. We can use this command to set the default session manager. Open a terminal and run the following command:
sudo update-alternatives --config x-session-manager
This command will present you with a list of session managers that are currently installed on your system. Each option will have a number next to it. Select the number corresponding to Gnome Flashback and press Enter.
Modifying the User Account File
Another way to set the default desktop environment is by modifying the user account file. Navigate to the user account files directory by running the following command in the terminal:
Find the file corresponding to your user account and open it with a text editor. Look for the line that starts with “xsession” and change its value to “gnome-flashback-metacity”.
Save the file and exit the text editor. The next time you log in, Gnome Flashback will be the default desktop environment.
Reconfiguring the Default Display Manager
If you want to change the display manager, you can do so by reconfiguring it. Open a terminal and run the following command:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure gdm3
This command will open a dialog box where you can select the desired display manager. For example, you can choose “lightdm” as the default display manager.
If you prefer using LightDM as the display manager, you can install it by running the following command in the terminal:
sudo apt-get install lightdm
After the installation, you may need to disable and re-enable autologin if necessary. This will create a working configuration that remembers your selected desktop environment.
Setting the default desktop environment on Ubuntu 18.04 is a straightforward process. Whether you prefer using
update-alternatives, modifying the user account file, or reconfiguring the default display manager, you have several options at your disposal. By following the steps in this guide, you should be able to set Gnome Flashback as your default desktop environment on Ubuntu 18.04.
Gnome Flashback and MATE are both desktop environments that provide a similar user experience to the GNOME 2.x series sessions. However, Gnome Flashback does not fork any code or install new libraries, while MATE is a separate project that has forked the original GNOME 2 codebase.
Yes, Gnome Flashback can be installed on other Ubuntu versions, not just 18.04. The installation process may vary slightly depending on the version, but the general steps should remain the same.
If you want to switch back to the default Ubuntu desktop environment, you can do so by reconfiguring the default display manager or by selecting the desired session manager using the
update-alternatives command. Alternatively, you can uninstall Gnome Flashback and revert to the default desktop environment.
Yes, Gnome Flashback is highly customizable. You can modify the panel layout, add or remove applets, change the theme, and customize various other aspects of the desktop environment. You can access the settings by right-clicking on the panel or using the System Settings application.
Installing Gnome Flashback should not affect your existing files and applications. It is simply a different desktop environment that you can choose to use. Your files and applications will remain intact, and you can switch between desktop environments without any issues.