Sunday, October 28, 2012

HOWTO Install Gnome 3 Desktop Environment on Ubuntu

GNOME 3 (a.k.a Gnome Shell) is the next major version of the GNOME desktop. After many years of a largely unchanged GNOME 2.x experience, GNOME 3 brings a fresh look and feel with gnome-shell. If you just installed Ubuntu 12.10, this will guide you in getting Gnome 3 installed on your system. NOTE: This tutorial is not for previous versions of Ubuntu.

The user experience of GNOME 3 is largely defined by gnome-shell, which is a compositing window manager and desktop shell. It replaces the GNOME 2 desktop shell, which consisted of metacity, gnome-panel, notification-daemon and nautilus.

gnome-shell provides the top bar on the screen, which hosts the ‘system status’ area in the top right, a clock in the center, and a hot corner that switches to the so-called ‘overview’ mode, which provides easy access to applications and windows.

In gnome-shell, notifications are displayed in the ‘messaging area’ which is an automatically hiding bar at the bottom of the screen. This is also where integrated chat functionality is provided.

Since the requirements of gnome-shell on the graphics system may not be met by certain hardware / driver combinations, GNOME 3 also support a ‘fallback mode’ in which we run gnome-panel, metacity and notification-daemon instead of gnome-shell. Note that this mode is not a ‘Classic GNOME’ mode; the panel configuration will be adjusted to be similar to the shell.

The Fallback will be handled automatically by gnome-session, which will detect insufficient graphics capabilities and run a different session.

Install the Gnome 3 Developers PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell gnome-session-fallback

Step Two: Check for any updates.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Step Three: Disable auto-login in ‘User accounts’ first before changing sessions, otherwise it will keep defaulting back to Unity each time you reboot your system. Now log out and select “GNOME” at the LightDM login screen. You need to click on the the little gear looking icon next to where you type your password to switch your session to Gnome 3 Desktop Environment.

Step Four: Save anything you were working on at this point. Reload GNOME Shell (press ALT + F2 and enter “r” or log out and log back in).

Optional: Use GNOME Tweak Tool to easily enable/disable extensions or switch between GNOME Shell themes on the fly – there’s no need to restart GNOME Shell anymore.

Special Note: If for some reason you don’t want Gnome 3 after you install everything, because I found that some things didn’t work anymore after I installed Gnome 3 on Ubuntu 12.10, here is how you can revert everything back to the way it was before you used the above tutorial (just in case).

How to Uninstall Gnome 3:

sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
sudo ppa-purge ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

Thanks to

Why Install Gnome 3 in Ubuntu if you already have Unity?

Here are some reasons that are worth to read: