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I'm waiting for a hard drive to come in tomorrow and then will be switching over my main system to Linux. I'm planning to go with Ubuntu, as that distro ...
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  1. #1
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    [Solved] Add/Remove Programs, DEs and Distros


    I'm waiting for a hard drive to come in tomorrow and then will be switching over my main system to Linux.

    I'm planning to go with Ubuntu, as that distro seems to have the most users and places for me to get help when I run into problems. So I have some general questions:

    1) In Windows, adding and removing programs often leaves behind remnants in the registry, data files, DLLs and all sorts of other stuff. I've heard that Linux is not like that, and that if I remove a program, it is cleanly removed. So, for instance, if I wanted to try out 6 different mail clients, I can add and remove programs willy nilly without leaving a trail of crap behind. Is that accurate?

    2) What about changing DEs? I'll start with the Ubuntu default Unity, but what if I wanted to try KDE or whatever. Is that a problem? Can I switch among DE's easily?

    3) What if down the line I want to ditch Ubuntu and try Mint or another distro? What is involved there? Would I need to format the hard drive and install all the software etc. from scratch?

    Edit - thanks for the great answers!
    Last edited by PenguinHatchling; 01-23-2013 at 03:38 PM.

  2. #2
    Administrator jayd512's Avatar
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    1. When removing an application from Linux, it removes cleanly. The only thing left behind is maybe a small config file (small meaning a few KB). So try them to your hearts content.
    2. Switching DEs to try new ones is quite simple. When you boot your system, and you get to the login screen, you'll have the option to choose which DE you want to log on with.
    3. You have several options. I usually leave a small partition when I install my main distro. Having an unallocated partition of about 20 or 30 GB gives you an easy way to try different distros. Alternatively, you can use a tool like Parted Magic to resize your existing system, then install Mint in the newly created space.
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    In addition to the advice above, I would suggest that you read a few tutorials on installing Ubuntu before you try it to familiarize your self with it and know what to expect, particularly if you haven't done it before. You will learn a lot more if you select the 'Something Else' option but it is a manual or Advanced option, your choice. The link below is to the Ubuntu site:

    //www.ubuntu.com/download/help/install-desktop-latest

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    Quote Originally Posted by jayd512 View Post
    [LIST=1][*]You have several options. I usually leave a small partition when I install my main distro. Having an unallocated partition of about 20 or 30 GB gives you an easy way to try different distros. Alternatively, you can use a tool like Parted Magic to resize your existing system, then install Mint in the newly created space.
    Leaving a "disposable" partition to test drive different distros sounds like a good idea. I will do that. Is 30 GB for that "plenty big?" I have more HD capacity than I need, so I can afford to be extravagant if it would work better that way.

    So if I do eventually want to leave Ubuntu, would changing over to Mint, for instance, require a reformat and reinstallation of all software?

    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    In addition to the advice above, I would suggest that you read a few tutorials on installing Ubuntu before you try it to familiarize your self with it and know what to expect, particularly if you haven't done it before. You will learn a lot more if you select the 'Something Else' option but it is a manual or Advanced option, your choice. The link below is to the Ubuntu site:

    (...censored...)/install-desktop-latest
    Thanks for the advice. I have installed Ubuntu a few times, believe it or not, to a live USB and also attempted to install it on my hard drive, but I could never get it to work with my motherboad's RAID setup. So I'm getting rid of the RAID array and putting in a normal hard drive instead.

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    Administrator jayd512's Avatar
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    30 GB is just what I happen to use for a distro testing partition. And it's more than enough room for a full install, additional software, and room for other stuff. But if you have more to spare, go for it.
    So if I do eventually want to leave Ubuntu, would changing over to Mint, for instance, require a reformat and reinstallation of all software?
    That would be the most straight-forward method, although formatting isn't really necessary. Just install Mint over Ubuntu.
    Or, you can use GParted or Parted Magic to remove Ubuntu, and resize your Mint install to an appropriate size. Install GRUB to the Mint partition.
    Should be good to go.
    Jay

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