How to Install and Switch Desktop Environments in Fedora

Do you want to use or try a different desktop environment in Fedora Workstation spin, other than the default, GNOME 3. In this article, we will show how to install and switch desktop environments in Fedora Linux using the graphical user interface (GUI) and via the command line interface (CLI).

Installing Additional Desktop Environments in Fedora

To install different desktop environments in Fedora, first you need to list all the available desktop environments by running the following command.

$ dnf grouplist -v
List Desktop Environments in Fedora
List Desktop Environments in Fedora

From the output of the above command, look for the section called Available Environments Groups and install the chosen desktop environment using the dnf install command. Make sure to prefix with the @ sign, for example:

$ sudo dnf install @cinnamon-desktop-environment   # Install Cinnamon Desktop in Fedora
Install Cinnamon Desktop in Fedora
Install Cinnamon Desktop in Fedora

Switching Desktop Environments in Fedora

Before login, at the login screen, select your username (e.g TecMint) from the list of usernames (if there is no other user, the default username will appear). Then click on the Preferences icon right below the password field, near the Sign In button.

A window showing a list of several different desktop environments should appear. Select the desktop if you want, and enter the password to log in, as shown in the screenshot below.

Select Desktop Environment in Fedora
Select Desktop Environment in Fedora

After login, you should now have Cinnamon desktop environment as shown in the following screenshot.

Cinnamon Desktop Fedora
Cinnamon Desktop Fedora

Alternatively, install the switchdesk (used to switch desktop from command-line) and switchdesk-gui (used to switch desktop from GUI).

$ sudo dnf install switchdesk switchdesk-gui
Install Switchdesk in Fedora
Install Switchdesk in Fedora

Once you have installed the above programs, launch the desktop switching program switchdesk-gui by searching for it in the Activities search bar. After it opens, select the default desktop from the list of available desktop environments, and click OK.

Fedora Desktop Environment Switching
Fedora Desktop Environment Switching

You can also switch your Fedora desktop from the command-line by simply passing the selected desktop environment as the only argument to the switchdesk command, for example, to switch to cinnamon, run the following command.

$ sudo switchdesk cinnamon

That’s all! In this article, we have shown how to install and switch desktop environments in Fedora Linux. If you have any questions or queries, use the comment form below to ask us.

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10 thoughts on “How to Install and Switch Desktop Environments in Fedora”

  1. Thank you! It works just fine for me on Fedora 33. I didn’t opt to install the switching application. I just log out and switch at the login manager, then log back in. I left out the '@' at the beginning the first time and it gave me an error. But, when I properly included that, I was able to install multiple Desktop Environments without an issue.

  2. This doesn’t work under Fedora 32 anymore, despite being identical to Fedora’s documentation:

    [[email protected] ~]# dnf groupinstall mate-desktop-environment
    Last metadata expiration check: 0:05:46 ago on Sun 16 Aug 2020 12:43:47 PM PDT.
    No match for group package "xorg-x11-drv-omap"
    No match for group package "isdn4k-utils"
    No match for group package "xorg-x11-drv-armsoc"
    No match for group package "powerpc-utils"
    No match for group package "lsvpd"
     Problem: problem with installed package fedora-release-workstation-32-1.noarch
      - package fedora-release-workstation-32-1.noarch conflicts with 
    system-release provided by fedora-release-matecompiz-32-1.noarch
  3. However if I use KDE and then use gnome the gnome-session also has KDE programs running in the background, like Baloo and KDE launcher.. this seems to make it impractical to use different desktop environments with the same user.. or am I missing something?

  4. I noticed that your screenshot of switchdesk-gui does not list “Cinnamon.” That’s the same problem I have. I’ve installed MATE (mate-desktop-environment in Fedora 30), and I can select it from the gear icon on the login screen. But it doesn’t “stick” and it’s not listed as one of choices in switchdesk-gui.

  5. Well written, simple and straight-forward directions. Exactly what I was looking for to explore and enjoy the variety of desktops out now – nobody should be stuck with just one desktop flavor!


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