GNOME3 on Ubuntu

I already blogged about this some time ago but since some people keep asking, I’d thought about giving it more publicity.

So, in case you don’t know, next Ubuntu version won’t ship GNOME 3, but we have been working in the last few months on providing GNOME 3 packages for anyone interested in running GNOME 3 on Ubuntu. The packages are in the GNOME 3 PPA, and although it still doesn’t include everything GNOME 3ish, it includes the stuff that has changed the most, like the new control center, gnome-shell and other core desktop things and some applications. Thanks to Allan Day, here are some instructions on how to use a PPA.

It still misses lots of apps and some core desktop things, like gnome-session, but should be ready for daily usage (using it myself on my systems).

You can report any problem you find on the PPA via the GNOME 3 team mailing list or directly to me, as you like.

36 thoughts on “GNOME3 on Ubuntu”

  1. Hi!

    As I already pointed out ( it would be great to have Anjuta 3.0 and Glade 3.10 in the repository with up-to-date beta versions. The tutorials that will be published with the revamp will rely on those available so people can get started with GNOME development.

    I think it is in the interest of the Ubuntu community to enable people to write many and good applications for GNOME and as such for Ubuntu even if Ubuntu want to run it’s own Quickly initiative in parallel.


  2. Hi, tried it out 2 days ago. Problem was, classic gnome is somewhat broken because nautilus refuses to manage the desktop and some applets are broken (e.g. volume control). So i downgraded again after trying it out.

    Gnome shell is progressing nicely. Some things that i would find to improve the experience.
    * Right now it is only possible to move windows to new virtual desktops at the end of the list. Sometimes its nice to have them before the first desktop.
    * Having devilspie-ish functionality included, where i can group windows in a virtual desktop and then save the arrangement for future use.
    * Option to have virtual desktop list visible all the time in overview mode.
    * Option to have virtual desktop list visible in normal mode (autohide mode).
    * Alt-tab (window switching) is powerful, but is somewhat clumsy to use in combination with the cursor keys. I’d like to map it to alt-tab to capslock, which was not possible.

    The really bad:
    * performance when using search in overview mode is really bad
    * intel performance (GMA945, mac mini series 2) is still a disaster for high resolutions (1920×1200).

    For overview mode it would be nice to maybe reuse something like kupfer, which has many additional plugins. Kupfer also allows to switch windows, which could inspire keyboard navigation for alt-tab (window switching).

  3. Sorry, I would like to clarify: Ubuntu in 11.04 will ship GNOME 2.32 or GNOME 3 except GNOME Shell?

  4. Sending mail to the mailing list seems to only work if one is a member of the launchpad group. I am not.

    Shall I just email you directly?

    p.s. do you have plans to package any of the following
    * tracker 0.10.0 (packages available in debian experimental)
    * evolution-3/2.9x

    I also notice none of the symbolic icons are working.

  5. Hello,
    I’m not really attached to my distribution but I’m very much attached to GNOME. Can you recommend a distribution for someone who wants the proper, out of the box, GNOME 3 experience with the ease of use of Ubuntu ?


  6. Hello,

    so if I understand correctly Ubuntu will not even provide packages to use Gnome3? This is sad because I am really excited with Gnome3, it is a sort of revolution like the one Mac users had when going from Mac OS 9 to X. I don’t like the Unity shell, even on a netbook, I liked their older netbook shell (for netbooks). Gnome 3 is the future (for me anyways :-)). When do you think your PPA will be stable enough to use?

    Thanks for the good work,

  7. GNOME 3 is definitely nothing like 2.2x or 2.3x- be warned that because of major changes, desktop customization needs to be done through dconf or through editing config files. yes, thats dconf, not gconf (although you may still need to use gconf for certain things).

    The new desktop interface is pretty interesting- but none the less strange to those familiar with more classic-style desktops. Many people will likely be complaining because of radical changes like this, not to mention the user will be left waiting for new applications to be written to make GNOME 3 a more mature desktop.

    It is definitely not a complete failure- it is pretty flashy and a somewhat original idea for the desktop. There is promise, but I don’t suspect we’ll see it until a later (much later) release. In the mean time, I plan to stick with KDE 4.6.1 as KDE is finally proving itself useful again.

  8. @Sebastien

    Fedora 15 will be the first of the big distros with GNOME 3.0 support and right now is what I recommend. If you prefer debian packages, you can use Debian sid. Another alternatives are Gentoo and Archlinux for example.

  9. From my understanding the real GNOME3 is based of 2.9.x. I see from the comments here that ubuntu 10.10 will ship with 2.32.

    Will this GNOME PPA upgrade my gnome from 2.32 to 2.9.x and give the full gnome 3 experience? or will it be 2.32 with gnome shell on top?

    I ask because the latter is the feeling I got when I installed gnome shell on ubuntu 10.10 from source.

  10. ernesto, the GNOME3 PPA includes 3.0 versions of lots of the GNOME packages (not all of them yet), so it will be a complete GNOME3 experience, not just 2.32 with the shell.

    Of course, as I said, not everything is yet packaged, but it will, so some extra apps won’t be there for now, but we will add them as GNOME 3.0 gets released

  11. I’m using Natty + Gnome3 PPA as my day to day desktop environment.

    The 2 main bugs that are bothering me are :
    * nautilus does not seem to work. If I launch it from a shell, it will take 100% of CPU and never shows up
    * a lot of icons are missing (network-manager, sound, accessibility pref, etc)

  12. Rodrigo thats great to hear 😀 for a minute i thought I would have to switch distros to try out GNOME3.

    Do you have a rough estimate of when the PPA will be complete? as in all apps packaged?

    Once again kudos for making this happen in ubuntu!

  13. ernesto: we are working on adding all apps, but going a bit slowly because of feature freeze in natty, so I hope to have everything soon after gnome 3.0 is released

  14. I added the ppa, installed gnome-shell and I cant get anything working, It looks totally broken, with Win95 look, not even Fallback mode.

    With Fedora15 everything works great!… but I cant with Yum and Packagekit… I feel it very slow.

  15. Hi Rodrigo, where can we report bugs against packages in this PPA? I’ve plenty of them (including broken dependencies)

  16. Hey Rodrigo.

    Now the Gnome 3 has been launched, may I use it in my daily use desktop without any risk for my system?

    I mean, the PPA’s page says that it would crash my system and in your other post you sugest we should use virtual machines.

  17. Thiago: that notice is there so that “normal” users (ie not used to sysadmin tasks) don’t use it. I am using it myself daily since a couple of months, and while at the beginning there were many problems, now it’s quite stable. But the notice there means that if you install it, you should be able to recover your system (downgrading to natty versions of the failing packages, for instance) if there is a problem.

    As I said, it is working great here, so if you know how to install and downgrade packages, I’d suggest you to have a try.

  18. I’d just installed the Natty Beta and the Gnome3 from your PPA. The only issue I’m having is that the borders of the application’s windows are not with the Gnome Shell theme, they look like XFCE or Win95.

    I think you would like to know about it.

    I’ll try to reinstall it this weekend.

  19. Nevermind…

    The “gnome-themes-standard” was not installed automaticaly. Don’t know why.

    Just now I did a apt-get install and it’s beautiful!

  20. @Thiago:

    Thanks for that! I had to emerge the same thing; seems to me this is a problem with the debs not pulling in the right dependencies. For me to install gnome-themes-standard, I had to remove gnome-accessibility-themes first.

  21. Oops, crossing my Ubuntu and Gentoo terminologies, since I use Ubuntu on my desktop and Gentoo on my servers: I had to apt-get install the same thing.

  22. gnome-panel is still the old version and its theme does not fit in well with the rest of the theme

  23. and the window borders are not gnome 3 for me they where same border as unity theme so they dont fit in, colors are all wrong

  24. Hi,
    I’m wondering if it would be possible to get Epiphany 3 (and its related packages) in this PPA?

  25. Sebastian, ppl attach to distro not to their window managers.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  26. motarski, that’s not universally true. I, for one, choose the desktop environment first and then pick the distro that supports it. In this case, I’m now running Fedora 15 as it provides a more complete Gnome 3 environment.

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