Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ubuntu Alternate Desktops

Ubuntu Insecurity

The default Ubuntu Linux Unity desktop is insecure and sends data to Canonical and others.  It can be configured so it won’t do that, but there is no easy way to prove that the fix actually works and any Unity desktop is automatically suspect.  Therefore it is best avoided altogether.

All Linux distributions allow you to install multiple desktop systems and then select the one you want to use when you log in.  So, if you really want a nice and slow system and receive targeted spam, select Unity.  Otherwise, for a more responsive and secure system, select something else.

Fix it

Click the lens at the top left, search for a 'terminal' and install the XFCE desktop:
$ sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r) build-essential xubuntu-desktop

That lot will ensure that you can use the system for software development as well. 

Similarly, you can also experiment with LXDE, an even more snappy and somewhat simpler desktop alternative:
$ sudo apt-get install  lubuntu-desktop

Restart Using XFCE

$ sudo reboot

When you log in, select the XFCE desktop in the round little thingy to the right of your user name.

As a bonus, your system will now run a hundred times faster as well.

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