Regolith Linux isn’t your typical Linux distribution. It falls somewhere in between being a distribution and a desktop environment, as it is built on top of Ubuntu. And unlike most typical Linux distributions, Regolith doesn’t have to be installed as a standalone operating system. If you are already using Ubuntu as your operating system, then you can install Regolith on top of it for a preconfigured i3 experience.
Why Regolith Linux?
Regolith provides you with the ability to quickly and easily set up the i3 window manager while still allowing you to take advantage of all the benefits that Ubuntu and GNOME have to offer.
If you were to install i3 manually, then you would have to configure everything yourself. This can take quite some time, depending on what you wish to achieve with it. Even then, this still doesn’t guarantee that you will be able to get GNOME apps and tools working alongside i3.
However, Regolith is built so you don’t have to edit or tweak anything to start using it, while still being able to use any GNOME app you’re used to using with default Ubuntu.
Installing Regolith on Ubuntu
All you will need to install Regolith is Ubuntu, a working Internet connection, and the terminal.
First, add the Regolith repository in the form of a Personal Package Archive (PPA) by opening a terminal and entering the following command:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:regolith-linux/release
This will permanently add the repository to your system so that you will always be able to install Regolith and update it.
Now you’re ready to install Regolith. It’s important to note, however, that how you install Regolith will depend on whether you’re using a desktop or laptop.
You will need the standard installation if you are on a desktop. Install this version with the following command:
sudo apt install regolith-desktop-standard
For laptops, you will need to install the mobile version:
sudo apt install regolith-desktop-mobile
The install will continue the same as if you were installing any other software in Ubuntu. You will need to restart your computer finish the installation.
After your computer has finished restarting and you’re at the Ubuntu login screen, open the gear menu by clicking the small cog button to switch to Regolith.
Once you’ve opened the menu, you will see an option for Regolith. Select it, then log in as you normally would.
After you’re logged in, you will be greeted with your new installation of Regolith Linux!
Switching Back to Default Ubuntu
If, for whatever reason, you want to switch back to GNOME, return to the login screen and open the gear menu again. Only this time, select the Ubuntu option instead of Regolith. Once you log in, your system will switch back to GNOME with everything as it was before you installed Regolith.
However, if you decide that you’re not enjoying Regolith and wish to uninstall it completely, you will need to follow the installation steps in reverse.
First, log out of Regolith and switch to the default Ubuntu session, then open a terminal and run the following command:
sudo apt purge regolith-desktop && sudo apt autoremove
This will uninstall Regolith and remove all associated files. You will also want to remove the PPA from your system:
sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:regolith-linux/release
Once that has completed, you can safely remove the last remaining Regolith directory:
rm -rf ~/.config/regolith
Now you’re free to go back to the default Ubuntu environment as if nothing ever changed.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is it possible to install Regolith Linux without installing Ubuntu first?
Yes. If you visit the official website for Regolith Linux, you will be able to download the .iso version of Regolith and install it just as any other Linux distribution.
2. Can I customize how Regolith looks?
While Regolith is preconfigured by default, there is still much you can customize. You will find customization instructions in the official documentation.
3. Does Regolith work with other Linux distributions?
No. Regolith uses Ubuntu as its base and requires Ubuntu and GNOME to be installed so that it can use them as a framework.
Regolith offers an easy way to try out a pre-configured version of an i3 window manager from the comfort of your Ubuntu system. Read on to learn how to configure and customize the Openbox window manager in Linux.
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