I accidentally erased the plymouth package which removed many more packages. The system would still boot but the console hung. I added the packages lightdm and lightdm-gtk-greeter, and now I do get a kind of graphical desktop. Still things are not what they should be:
I do not have the vertical line of icons at the left of the screen, isn't that called the "launcher"? Well, it is missing.
I can start a terminal after right-clicking in the desktop, and from that terminal I can start an application, Firefox or whatever. The application is however started at the same screen position as where it was at last closure, and I cannot drag it around. It also doesn't have the top line where I can click to close/minimise/maximise it;
the mouse cursor looks normal inside an application; but when hovering over the desktop it becomes a big X like in the early days of X
the desktop doesn't show the usual top line, where the time and such are displayed
How to get back to my usual desktop? Environment is ubuntu 16.04.5 / lightdm 1.18.3
Things tried: dpkg-reconfigure lightdm , dpkg-reconfigure lightdm-gtk-greeter. Both returned silently, no errors, no messages.