A frequently used environment is GNOME. This HOWTO tries to describe all aspects of GNOME, including installation, configuration, usage, ...
What is GNOME?
The GNOME project is a free software project dedicated to the development of GNOME, a Unix/Linux desktop suite and development platform. The GNOME Foundation coordinates the development and other aspects of the GNOME Project.
GNOME is a desktop environment and a development platform. This piece of free software is the desktop of choice for several industry leaders. It is interesting both for business users, home users as well as developers.
Like with any big free software project, GNOME has an extensive user and development base. GnomePlanet is a popular blog aggregator for GNOME hackers and contributors whereas Developer.Gnome.Org is for the GNOME developers. GNOME Library contains a huge list of GNOME resources for end users. The World of GNOME is also a popular aggregator for GNOME-related news.
What do you need?
First read and follow the instructions in the X Server Configuration Howto to setup your X environment.
Before you start installing GNOME, you might want to edit your USE variables. Make sure that
gtk , and
gnome are in your USE variable listed in /etc/portage/make.conf . If you want support for
dbus , a system message bus Gnome uses extensively, add it to your USE flags. If you don't want KDE support (the other big desktop environment), remove
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You can add the
branding USE flag to get a lovely Gentoo-branded splashscreen instead of the default GNOME splashscreen:
echo "gnome-base/gnome-session branding" >> /etc/portage/package.use
If you use a
desktop/gnomeprofile, these USE flags will be set for you. You can check your profile by running
eselect profile listand
eselect profile set <profile-name>as root.
Once done, start installing GNOME by emerging
You can also opt for a minimal GNOME installation using
gnome-light. If you do so, you will have a lightweight GNOME installation without the additional tools that a full GNOME installation provides so you might need to install additional packages afterwards.
This will take a while, so you might want to start reading all those books your mother bought you but you never opened. Done? Great, now update your environment variables:
env-update && source /etc/profile
Next we'll clean up the remaining services and user groups.
rc-update add dbus default
Check if the plugdev group exists. If it does, it is adviseable to make yourself member of that group, but this is optional (the group is not that common anymore).
getent group plugdev
Substitute yourUserName with your user name.
gpasswd -a yourUserName plugdev
Let us first take a look at what we just built. Exit your root shell and log on as a regular user. We will configure our session to run GNOME when we issue the
startx command (see also Using startx in the X Server Configuration Howto ):
echo "exec gnome-session" > ~/.xinitrc
gnome-base/gnome-session-2.26.2 , you will need to prepend the XDG_MENU_PREFIX variable to get the GNOME menus if you're using the ~/.xinitrc method to start your desktop. (If you're not using ~/.xinitrc, it will be handled automatically for you; no additional configuration is needed.)
sed -i '1i\export XDG_MENU_PREFIX=gnome-' ~/.xinitrc
Now start your graphical environment by running
If all goes well, you should be greeted by GNOME. Congratulations. Now let us take a look at how you can configure GNOME to suit your needs.
- The gdm page describes how to setup the Gnome Display Manager to automatically boot into a graphical environment (rather than starting a GNOME session through
We would like to thank the following authors and editors for their contributions to this guide:
- Sven Vermeulen
- Lars Strojny