So something you often see on blogs and such are articles about how to install different DEs on your favorite Linux distributions. It kinda bothers me that people talk so casually about doing this, especially when they're addressing novice users, because in my experience all this does is lead to things breaking and theming configurations to be ruined. I remember installing KDE once on an Ubuntu Mate installation and it made all my windows unreadable and ugly. I just installed Cinnamon on my Unity partition the other day, and when I went back to Unity, the top panel no longer said "Unity Desktop" when no windows were active and the icons on the launcher no longer bounced, even though they were set to do so in the configuration application. I can only assume this happened because I installed Cinnamon.
So clearly every DE is going to assume that it's the only one installed, and it's going to change settings and configurations so its own liking, regardless of whatever other DE you have installed. My question is: are all these DEs writing to and reading from the same "core" configuration files, and if so, where are they? To me, it seems like something like that is going on considering how they conflict with each other. It would be really nice if I was able to install multiple desktop environments that didn't conflict or cause each other to break in some way.