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Hybryde Linux lets you switch Desktop Environment on the fly

by Rob Zwetsloot

Newly released Ubuntu based distribution Hybryde allows you to switch between desktop environments without even logging out, and comes with Unity, KDE, and LXDE by default

A brand new Linux distribution is on the scene, and this one comes with a neat party trick. Hybryde Linux is an Ubuntu-based distro with a twist – it allows for users to change Desktop Environments without the need for logging out of the system with its unique Hy-menu application.

Hybryde Evolution Linux Desktop Environment Switch
The Hy-menu allows you to quickly switch Desktop Environments on the fly

The French developers have just released Hybryde Evolution v1, based on Ubuntu 12.04, and coming with nine different desktop environments by default. These include KDE, GNOME 3, GNOME Classic, Unity, Elightenment 17, LXDE, XFCE, Openbox, and FVWM. The system smartly and fluidly transfers over open windows and applications to the new Desktop.

It’s great way to try out different Desktop Environments with a lot less commitment, and should be good for developers wanting to check how there applications work on different environments. In the current atmosphere of animosity towards standard Desktop Environments, it will hopefully be a step in the right direction for distributions to come.

You can download a 32-bit ISO from the Hybryde website.

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    • digi_owl

      i seem to recall being able to do this with FVWM and some others back in the day, before things shifted from WMs to DEs. And it was largely thanks to how X is responsible for the content of the windows while the WM provides the interactive graphics around the edges. But with the move to compositors and such i suspect this has become a much more troublesome affair. And i wonder what effect Wayland will have on said state of affairs.

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    • Arne Anka

      Well, tried to install it, but the process just stop halfway through… (!o!)

    • ned flanders

      About time!!!

      Actually, its something that will make switching people to Linux faster for me.
      Unlike many people who are too obsessed with ‘their’ favorite desktop to be able to offer another to a newbie, i like to show people 2-3 different desktops to find one that suits THEM because as the old saying goes “Consumer-user is always right”.
      I either have to use multple laptops or have to start them in virtualbox.
      Now I can just go “do you like this one or… this one?” just like I do when it comes to fonts, themes, windows, etc…

      Switching people to Linux is about finding what they are comfortable with unlike some people’s belief that EVERYONE loves vanilla ice cream because thats what they like.

      This just made the whole process of choosing a desktop much, much easier.

      I will definitely give it a look.

    • airdrik

      as digi_owl pointed out, this has been possible for practically forever: killall &&
      The only things to make this work with DEs is that you need to close/open more than just the window manager, you also need to make sure that the DE-specific services are all stopped/started as well, but even that can be done with a couple well-written scripts.

      OTOH, I don’t think this is really that big of a deal anyway, since logging out and logging back doesn’t take very long (longer if you are using a heavier desktop, but then again doing this hot-switching will take a similar amount of time, I’d imagine) especially compared to the amount of time you expect to spend exploring the new desktop environment. And you generally only ever do much switching between desktops when you are first familiarizing yourself with the options, but after you’ve made your decision of which one fits you, you typically just stick to that option. Developers wanting to double-check their applications on multiple desktops can use the already-baked-in feature of multiple desktop sessions to log in to each desktop in a different X session and use ctrl+alt+F7(8) – F12 to switch between them (well, it may depend on which DM you’re using, KDM supports this I know).

    • I installed this disro for a review that I plan to do for our weekly podcast –Sunday Morning Linux Review– and noted that open applications do NOT seem to transition between desktops. LibreOffice Writer went into recovery mode every time. Not sure how others were able to accomplish this but for me it was impossible.

    • hello

      thank you for your presentation of Hybryde, our project has been done to propose
      a new concept first and to enjoy ourself.
      We did not think to appear on Distrowatch so quickly.

      To work Hybryde, it’s some scripts (bash) which slowly kill a list of process before launch another.
      But the first things to do is to start on an empty desktop.

      Thank you

      Olivier from Hybryde Team

      ps: please may you escuse my english

    • Gee

      Like the article wish I had a way to share it on google+ please add the G+ link

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    • I LOVE this distro! If you want to know how to change it to English from French while still live – check out

      This is my new favorite Ubuntu distro and it is going on my PC tomorrow!

    • buggy bug bug

      how much memory is required with this futuristic option? are all desktops/window managers listed held within RAM? If I switch to Openbox WM do I have more RAM available to be used or does it matter at all? Their site is not in English so that’s not very helpful.

    • iam waiting for the new release,which could be set on hard drive,in english with arabic language support.i think this distro will will unite linux.bravo and thanks to the makers