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How to try the Regolith Linux desktop on Ubuntu

nsRegolith Linux sports an i3-based desktop environment that is designed to make i3 easy to use. It succeeds, and many can’t imagine using the i3 window manager without it!

Regolith is built upon Ubuntu, so if you’re interested in trying the Regolith Linux desktop environment, there’s no need to clear out your hard drive, delete all of the data on it and install Regolith Linux. Instead, you can take it for a spin right on Ubuntu!

Note: want to install Regolith Linux to take it for a spin on your desktop or laptop? Head over to the official Regolith Linux website, and select “Download” to grab the latest ISO of the operating system.

Before we begin

The Regolith Linux desktop environment is installed via a Personal Package Archive (PPA) and is designed to work on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Ubuntu 19.04, and Ubuntu 19.10. That said, these Ubuntu releases are not the only ones that Regolith will work on. It’ll also work on Linux Mint, Elementary OS, Zorin OS, and many other Ubuntu-based distributions out there.

So, if you’re not using Ubuntu, but are using an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution, ensure you are using a release based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, 19.04, or 19.10 so that you can follow along with the instructions outlined below in this tutorial.

Installing the Regolith Desktop Environment

Installing the Regolith Desktop on Ubuntu will require all of the latest updates installed on the system. The reason? Installing a new desktop environment can be sketchy with out of date drivers, etc. By updating your system, you’ll ensure that everything is working at it’s best.

To update your Ubuntu system so that the newest updates are installed, launch a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. From there, use the update command to check for any updates available on Ubuntu.

sudo apt update

After checking for updates on Ubuntu, use the upgrade command to install all of the updates available. Keep in mind that this will take time depending on how long you’ve gone without updating.

sudo apt upgrade -y

Finally, after setting up all of the latest Ubuntu patches, it is time to add the Regolith Linux PPA to your system, using the add-apt-repository command below.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:regolith-linux/release

Once the Regolith Linux PPA is on your Ubuntu PC, it is time to re-run the update command. No, we won’t be installing more patches. Instead, this command must be run to add the PPA’s software info to the Ubuntu software database.

sudo apt update

Finally, after re-running the update command, use the apt install command to install the latest release of the Regolith desktop environment on your Ubuntu system.

sudo apt install regolith-desktop

Uninstalling the Regolith Desktop Environment

You may wish to uninstall the Regolith Desktop environment. To uninstall it, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, use the apt uninstall command below.

sudo apt remove regolith-desktop

Want to delete all of the configuration files for the Regolith desktop environment? Make use of the purge command, rather than the remove command. It will completely erase all config files.

sudo apt purge regolith-desktop

Logging into Regolith Desktop on Ubuntu

Now that Regolith is installed on your Ubuntu PC, you’ll probably want to know how to log into it. Find the “log out” button in your current desktop environment, and select it with the mouse. This action should exit your current session and return you to the Ubuntu login screen.

On the default spin of Ubuntu (Ubuntu Gnome,) you will see the Gnome Desktop Manager. In the Gnome Desktop Manager, look for a gear icon and click on it to reveal the session menu on your Ubuntu PC.

Inside of the session menu, you’ll see the default desktop environment (Ubuntu), as well as any other ones you may have installed. In this menu, you’ll also see Regolith. Click on it with the mouse to select it as a session.

After selecting Regolith as the session in the Gnome Desktop Manager, you will be able to log in. Click on your user from the list of users on the login screen. Then, enter the password associated with your account to log in.

Upon entering your password, the Regolith Desktop environment will load up, and you will have access to it.

Other Ubuntu spins

Not everyone uses the traditional Ubuntu release. If you are on Kubuntu, Xubuntu, or another Ubuntu spin, here’s how to log in to Regolith. First, find the logout menu, and click it to exit your current session.

Upon exiting the session, you will return to the login screen. Look around this login screen for “sessions,” or a similar menu that lists all available desktop environments, and click on it with the mouse.

Change the current session to Regolith, and select your user to log in.

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