Is there a way to have multiple concurrent desktop environments on Linux (on the same screen)? I have in mind the following use case:

  • tty1 has EXWM, a tiling WM that's great for work but lacks many features
  • tty2 has KDE Plasma, which I'd use when plugging into HDMI, using applications that pop up lots of windows, etc.

I'd switch between these using Ctrl+Alt+F(1,2). To clarify, this would happen all on the same physical display.

I'm using GDM on Arch Linux.

1 Answer 1


If you switch with Ctr+Alt+Fx you switch between sessions. E.g. you can easily open a pure text console. Any session can have it own window manager -- no problem. But they would always be 100% distinct, thus you would run different programs, different documents (or you will certainly run into ownership issues and conflicts), etc.

So, if you do very different kind of things in the different sessions this can be a good thing. Actually, I use this kind of setup: one session for normal work, another session just for online presentations. This avoids any kind of unwanted interferences during online sessions.

  • Thanks for this answer. I'm not sure how to set this up, though. Jun 16, 2021 at 16:16

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