GNOME is a popular desktop environment. This guide tries to describe all aspects of GNOME, including installation, configuration, usage, and more!
- 1 What is GNOME?
- 2 Prerequisites
- 3 Installation
- 4 First impressions
- 5 Customizing Gnome
- 6 Removal
- 7 Troubleshooting
- 8 External resources
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, and developers.
Like with any big free software project, GNOME has an extensive user and development base. GNOME Planet 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 WOGUE is also a popular aggregator for GNOME-related news.
Before the GNOME install process, first read and follow the instructions in the Xorg guide to setup a X environment. X is the standard base for all desktop environments in Linux. Also, be sure to read and comply with all the settings from the systemd article.
If the reader does not want to use GNOME with systemd, please read the GNOME without systemd article.
Before installing GNOME, editing the system's USE variables is a good idea. Make sure that
gnome are in the USE variable located in /etc/portage/make.conf. It is recommended to enable support for D-Bus system-wide. Systemd includes this system message bus. Add
systemd to the USE variable as well (D-Bus is a system message bus that GNOME uses extensively). If no KDE support is required, remove
kde from USE. USE flags can be removed by adding a minus sign (
-) in front of them. See the example below for the minus sign used properly.
USE="-qt4 -qt5 -kde X gtk gnome systemd"
branding USE flag provides a lovely Gentoo-branded splash screen instead of the default GNOME splash screen:
echo "gnome-base/gnome-session branding" >> /etc/portage/package.use
When using the
desktop/gnome/systemdprofile, these USE flags will be set automatically. It is possible to check the system profile by running eselect profile list. Modifications can be made by running eselect profile set <profile-name> as root. Be sure to replace "<profile-name>" with the number or name of the desired profile.
Once finished, begin the GNOME installation by emerging GNOME:
emerge --ask gnome-base/gnome
For a minimal GNOME installation install the gnome-base/gnome-light package. This option provides a lightweight GNOME installation without pulling in the full GNOME desktop environment. Most people may need to install additional packages afterwards.
emerge --ask gnome-base/gnome-light
This will take a while, so start reading some books. Done? Great, now update environment variables:
env-update && source /etc/profile
Next the remaining services and user groups will be cleaned.
plugdev group exists. If it does, it is advisable to make each GNOME user member of that group, but step this is optional (the group is not common anymore).
getent group plugdev
<username> in the next command with each GNOME user's user name:
gpasswd -a <username> plugdev
It is time to take a look at what was just built. Either configure the session manager to run GNOME when the the startx command is invoked (see using startx in the Xorg guide for more information), or enable the GDM service, for a more convenient way to start Gnome.
To start GDM upon boot:
systemctl enable gdm.service
To start GDM immediately, run:
systemctl start gdm.service
The following command both enables and starts GDM immediately:
systemctl enable --now gdm.service
Another suggestion is to activate Network Manager, in case no other network managing service is activated.
OpenRC provides a script, XDM, to start up display managers. The following edit will set GDM as the default display manager:
To start GDM on boot, add the XDM init script to the system's default runlevel:
rc-update add xdm default
To start GDM immediately, run:
Again, a good suggestion is to activate Network Manager, in case no other network managing service is activated.
Exit the root shell and log in as a regular user. The next step is to configure the session manager to run GNOME when the the startx command is invoked (see using startx in the Xorg guide for more information).
echo "exec gnome-session" > ~/.xinitrc
Starting with gnome-base/gnome-session-2.26.2, users will need to prepend the XDG_MENU_PREFIX variable to get the GNOME menus when using the ~/.xinitrc method to start the desktop. If ~/.xinitrc is not being used it will be handled automatically; no additional configuration is needed.
sed -i '1i\export XDG_MENU_PREFIX=gnome-' ~/.xinitrc
Now start the graphical environment by issuing startx:
If all goes well GNOME should happily provide a greeting. Congratulations on setting up GNOME!
For extra configuration options in GNOME 3 install the gnome-extra/gnome-tweak-tool package. The tweak tool allows customization at a deeper level than the standard Settings frame.
Widgets in GNOME 3
By default in Gentoo Gnome 3 does not support widgets. For users who wish to obtain widget functionality a separate package is available:
emerge --ask gnome-extra/gnome-shell-extensions
After the Shell Extensions are installed, eselect can be used to control defaults on a global level:
eselect gnome-shell-extensions list
Available extensions (* means enabled for all users by default):  firstname.lastname@example.org  email@example.com  firstname.lastname@example.org  email@example.com  firstname.lastname@example.org  email@example.com  firstname.lastname@example.org  email@example.com  firstname.lastname@example.org  email@example.com  windowsNavigator@gnome-shell-extensions.gcampax.github.com  firstname.lastname@example.org
A possible way to completely remove a GNOME installation is by explicitly uninstalling the gnome-base/gnome package, then cleaning the dependencies of that package.
In order to do this sanely make sure the main Portage repository has been synced:
Next, run a world update so that the system is fully up-to-date:
emerge --ask --update --newuse --deep --with-bdeps=y @world
Unmerge the GNOME base package:
emerge --ask --depclean gnome-base/gnome
Finally, depclean the system:
emerge --ask --depclean
GNOME should now be removed.
Oh no something has gone wrong
One source of this error can be the permissions for the video device. When logging in fails and a message appears that says "Oh no, something has gone wrong", then try to become a member of the video group. Add the user to the video group with gpasswd like so:
gpasswd -a <user> video
- https://plus.google.com/+WorldofGnomeOrg - The World of GNOME Google+ page.
- https://github.com/dantrell/gentoo-project-gnome-without-systemd - GNOME without Systemd
This article is based on a document formerly found on our main website gentoo.org.
The following people contributed to the original document: Lars Strojny, nightmorph
They are listed here as the Wiki history does not allow for any external attribution. If you edit the Wiki article, please do not add yourself here; your contributions are recorded on the history page.