Flavours - Try before you buy

Try some out? How does one go about trying flavors without doing a full install or having to get a hold of a blank thumb drive or DVD-R?

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Hey @jsaiya, one easy way to test out the flavours before committing one to your hard drive is through VirtualBox. We have a nice guided tutorial on setting up an Ubuntu virtual machine that you could follow and just substitute the official version for a flavour of your choosing.

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Thanks, @aaronprisk. That does address that question.

My basic issue is still that I’d still like to know ahead of time what each flavor offers, and what particular use case it attempts to address.

If flavors are mostly about interface choices, colors, etc. then they’re only really practical if it’s easy to switch one out for another on your basic Ubuntu install. It’s not the kind of thing you should have to commit to upfront!

Sure, that’s totally understandable. I would certainly suggest taking a look at the Flavours page on our website and the flavour’s websites themselves to see what unique features they offer.

If you’re interested, I also published an Ubuntu Flavour Tour video last year providing a brief tour of each of our flavours and what they bring to the table. However, I do need to post an updated version as Edubuntu and Ubuntu Cinnamon became official flavours shortly after its recording.


This is very much unsupported by Ubuntu, but there is this interesting project that lets you run desktop Linux instances in the cloud and interact with them via the browser. https://distrosea.com/ Several official Ubuntu flavors are available there.

You can switch them out, though its very probable that ‘bits’ will get left behind that shows your history (such as plymouth wallpapers, or in my systems case, I used a Xubuntu ISO to install the Lubuntu system I’m now using).

Further you have multiple installed on a box and on the same install; selecting which you’ll use in a session when you login.

For years I had limited monthly bandwidth quotas at home, but I could download Ubuntu ISOs bandwidth free when I used the ISPs mirror… thus I always downloaded & installed a Ubuntu Desktop or Ubuntu Server system, modified my update-software mirror to use the ISP mirror (it was quota free), then changed the packages to match the Ubuntu flavor I wanted to try.

Biggest consequence of this is its very hard to really decide which flavor you like best… and in time I stopped removing prior flavor & became addicted a multi-desktop/flavor install.

On most of my boxes, I select at login time, which flavor I’ll use in that session. My current LXQt (Lubuntu) desktop is setup to look & act like my Xfce (Xubuntu) desktop, that Xfce setup influenced heavily by older Unity 7 desktop (and modern) Ubuntu GNOME) setup too.

You can even switch one flavor to another via non-destructive re-install (ie. don’t format your system, so your data & settings remain).


Now that seems to be more practical to me. Is the flavor selector a standard part of a basic Ubuntu install, or is that another app you install separately?

The various flavors desktops are packaged as packages eg. a quick search on my box shows

guiverc@d7050-next:~$   apt-cache search ubuntu-desktop
ubuntu-desktop - Ubuntu desktop system
ubuntu-desktop-minimal - Ubuntu desktop minimal system
wsl-setup - WSL setup snap launcher
edubuntu-desktop - educational desktop for Ubuntu
edubuntu-desktop-minimal - educational desktop for Ubuntu
kubuntu-desktop - Kubuntu Plasma Desktop/Netbook system
lubuntu-desktop - Lubuntu Desktop environment
xubuntu-desktop - Xubuntu desktop system
xubuntu-desktop-minimal - Xubuntu minimal system

which shows a few of them (wsl-setup isn’t one, and my search string won’t have found ubuntu-budgie-desktop, ubuntu-mate-desktop, ubuntustudio-desktop, etc). You can also search in package managers too (eg. I’d likely use aptitude).

Each of the flavors are created by separate teams, thus an easy tool to switch between them doesn’t fall under any one teams interest. But most of the work is done just by removing the unwanted package, and installing the one you prefer.

This is pretty complete; unless a user has caused the manually installed package flags to be something different, eg. if a user had lubuntu-desktop installed and had a problem with featherpad, and thus used a command like sudo apt install --reinstall featherpad in attempts to fix an issue; that package may no longer be associated with the lubuntu-desktop package install & thus no longer get removed if a user decides they no longer want lubuntu-desktop for example (as the system marked featherpad text editor as manually installed, and not due being included in the prior desktop package requirement)