I don’t think there’s anywhere else to file this idea so I’m going to put it here:
There should be a user friendly app for switching desktop environments in Ubuntu. I think in the Ubuntu Software Center it was possible to search for alternative desktop environments and install them, but this doesn’t seem to be possible in GNOME Software. Using the command-line isn’t particularly user-friendly. More ambitiously, said software perhaps could also give the option for a clean switch between two DEs by customizing DEs so that they can’t see the apps from a different DE suite (the app could make this fine grained) so they don’t clutter up their menu, this software could also remove DEs (perhaps it could time a task to remove the current DE is the user is on when they load up another DE) and do full removals by removing apps from that DE app suite (the app could make this fine grained).
This is particularly important given the recent controversial GNOME Files changes and the fact that the developers (at least, in the nautilus IRC) recommend people switching to an alternative desktop environment if they don’t like GNOME’s design decisions (and they say that GNOME celebrates this because other DEs are good!). There’s currently no user-friendly way of doing this, having an app to handle this would make this process more user-friendly since someone could search for ‘desktop environments’ or ‘KDE’ or ‘MATE’ etc in GNOME Software and they would find this app.
The app should use the flavour meta-packages to switch desktop environments so that they look good and Ubuntu-y, but the app could also have the option of just installing the plain more upstream packages.
The app could also do a little animation after installing a different DE showing how to login to it from the desktop manager that the user decides to use.
I’m not a developer and shouldn’t have much time. I learnt some qBASIC and Little Man Computer (an Assembly simulator written in Java) in GCSE but aside from that haven’t got very far with programming. Obviously someone who actually wants to do this work should do it and if no-one is able or willing to then this will never happen, it’s just a suggestion
Alternatively, it should be possible for GNOME Software to see flavour metapackages, presumably this would be an Ubuntu bug rather than an upstream one? I think searching for ‘KDE’ and it bringing up a more useful fine-grained app would be a better user experience though because switching DE is quite complex.