How to install Gnome3 on ubuntu 11.04 (Natty)/Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick)

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For GNOME 3, the GNOME Project has started from scratch and created a completely new, modern desktop designed for today's users and technologies.

Gnome 3 Features

Simply beautiful

GNOME's new desktop takes elegance to a new level. We've swept away the clutter and made a simple and easy-to-use desktop, and we've made this the most beautiful GNOME desktop ever, with a new visual theme, a refined new font and carefully crafted animations.

An overview at a glance

The activities view provides an easy way to access all your windows and applications. It is also a great way to keep track of all your activities. We have provided several fast and convenient ways to access the activities view, including the activities keyboard key (often known as the Windows key) and the activities hot corner.

Messaging built-in

Communication is an important part of the modern desktop, but it's a hassle when you have to switch windows to reply to a message. That's why GNOME 3 will let you continue your conversations without changing focus. The ability to enter a reply straight into messaging notifications makes instant messaging quick and effortless.

Distraction-free computing

GNOME 3 is designed to reduce distraction and interruption and to put you in control. Our new notifications system subtly presents messages and will save them until you are ready for them, and the GNOME 3 panel has been styled so that it is part of the background, not the foreground. These changes allow you to focus on your creative tasks.

Everything at your fingertips

With the new GNOME desktop, everything can be quickly accessed from the keyboard. Press the activities key and search: it's as simple as that. You'll love this feature if you're a user who likes things to happen fast.

Redesigned system settings

Our system settings have been completely redesigned for GNOME 3, making them easier to use than ever before. GNOME 3 also provides a new way to browse your settings, and our settings categories have been reorganised, making it quick and straightforward to find the setting that you want.

And much, much more

GNOME 3 is crammed full of new features. Here are some of the other things that you can look forward to from GNOME 3:

Side-by-side window tiling to make using several windows simple and easy
A redesigned file manager
Redesigned workspaces so you can easily organise your windows
Major changes under the hood to give you a faster, smoother experience
A satisfying experience, whatever kind of computer you use: GNOME 3 will feel right at home on netbooks as well as larger machines

Install Gnome3 on ubuntu 11.04

Open the terminal and run the following commands

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

For ubuntu 10.10 users

Open the terminal and run the following commands

Note:- This PPA works but it is outdated

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-desktop/gnome3-builds
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gnome3-session

After completing the installation Log out and back in, selecting the GNOME Session in GDM

Remove Gnome3 from ubuntu 11.04

Open the terminal and run the following commands

sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
sudo ppa-purge ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3

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75 Responses

  1. DUVEAU says:

    Hi I have installed gnome3 on Ubuntu natty, but games software do not launch. I had to edit one by one the .desktop file. For example: to run ‘twm’:

    vim /usr/share/applications/tmw.desktop and put the

    absolute path of the command:

    new: Exec=/usr/games//tmw
    old: Exec=twm

    Is there a easier way because I have do it one by one.

  2. Ademeion says:

    Gnome 3 wouldn’t launch, and complained about insufficient graphics hardware (which is embedded in my case – Unity didn’t mind, though). I went back to Gnome 2, but the experiment caused Gnome to use (apparently) an old version of GTK, which makes my desktop ugly. Before trying Gnome 3 Gnome 2 looked fine. (I’m using Ubuntu 11.04).

    I guess next I’ll try Linux Mint, which uses Gnome 2. In Unity (and according to testing done by others, Gnome 3) the workflow of using workspaces is less… well, flowing, and workplaces are very central for my usage of the desktop. I also miss the lower panel, which showed me useful information.

  3. peeedeee says:

    Don’t try it with a Geforce go7300 or go7400.
    (for now June 15 2011)

    Or you will end-up with a fail-save gnome 2 environment!

  4. Allsixcolours says:


    You can bring back the gnome panels in Unity, just type “gnome-panel” into the terminal without the quotes. If you want it to start up on launch rather than manually doing it, just add it to the start up applications (gnome-panel is the command, the name and description are up to you)

  5. Ed says:

    WARNING: gnome3 breaks unity. Even when doing the “ppa-purge” thing … unity might be unable to save any settings afterwards.

    Only install gnome3 when you are absolutely sure that you dont need unity any more. Or when you are willing to do a fresh install afterwards.

  6. George Murphy says:

    I was able to get gnome3 installed on Ubuntu 11.4 server. How do I get the desktop to show automatically? I have no desktop just the terminal window. I am new to Linux.

  7. lxtips says:

    George Murphy try installing gdm (Gnome Desktop Manager) if you have got it already:

    sudo apt-get install gdm

  8. George Murphy says:

    I installed the Gnome Desktop Manager and when I try and run gnome-panel
    I get gnome-panel:8201
    Gtk-warning cannot open display

  9. Rykel says:

    I am trying to install GNOME3 on Ubuntu 10.10. No luck. It says,

    Error: can’t find signing_key_fingerprint at

  10. Sidner says:

    This screwed up settings, my gnome 2.x desktop and it did not work. Only desktop that works now is Unity.

    Ubuntu 11.04 here.

  11. the old rang says:

    Unity, such as it is, is the only thing that works in Ubuntu, (after 10.10.) No matter what Canonical says, Unity is in the background, messing things up (IMHO).

    Recent blog and other postings, seem to say, the very large drop in Ubuntu users (Ones that abandoned Ubuntu’s Unity garbage) are being courted, to return to a ‘Unity-less’ set up, with Gnome 3.2 or other versions, in 12.04, 12.10 etc.

    I have a serious distrust, since Unity. I am still running 10.10, While installing updated kernels, as they function, with the current nVidia drivers.

    I still don’t like Mint. Just because, I guess.

    I am checking other distros. (Racy Puppy is a bit of a trick>)

    I have found, with searching, many ‘new’ tweaks that I had not previously known of, and am still getting the payback of the ‘puter fates,’ when they feel it is time to slap me around)

    But, UNTIL I find a better than 10.10, I will keep trying to use tricks, tips, tweaks and tempt fates, with relatively high speed computing.

    I have a wide knowledge, of the ills of computing.

    Recent information, about all the social networking, cloud computing, Microsoft, Google, Linux, and Ubuntu, have all confirmed decidedly my original opinion, based on facts…

    That Computer security is something YOU must work at.

    Trust is something social networking does not deserve, nor should be granted.

    The biggest problem, besides the security you can’t easily get, is trusting the big players.

    They have all raped your system…

    …and continue to do so, with government help, encouragement or pay-off.

    Locking down the system, even with Microsoft, when I used their spyware OSes, was possible, but took work…

    There never has been any ‘security’ with social networking. They NEVER intended it in the original planning, and only use cosmetics, today (while sending their CEOs to work hand in hand with governmentals.)

    The print and broadcast media will say little or nothing, unless something really blows up…

    But, usually sits on stories until well past hell.

    CNet is now being accused with loading spyware/malware/snoopware/adware into their downloads, without telling…

    The other, current big spyware scandal, in the handheld phone markets, even with proven false denials, is only beginning to get bigger.

    ‘Facebook Friends’ especially when you don’t ‘know them’ face to face, can be anyone with any intention, and too often will be the next one to rob someone… Stories also hushed up in the media. (Facebook is not unique in this, as this is universally the case)

    The reason I like the Linux community…

    They are a group working to fix problems, as progress is made, in the interest of the community…

    Not so with non-Linux commercial ventures.

    The reason I liked Ubuntu, up to 10.10…

    They worked as a community, working to make it a better and safer community, often in concert with Linux… sometimes not. Even when courting social networking.

    After 10.10, that is not true.

    All the security ills of modern computer life, were fully embraced by Canonical and crammed down our throats, saying, in exactly the words… SUCK IT.

    Now, hat in hand, they are saying trust us…

    I am still tweaking 10.10, and looking elsewhere.

    If you think Unity will not be on your next edition of Ubuntu working in the back ground…

    The lesson is not yet learned by the OS developers, and acting schools teach hat in hand.

  12. JohnMDean says:

    Gnome3 installed without problems on Ubuntu 11.10. Works great except for shutting down, Gnome3 only says suspend, then you have to go to the Ubuntu login screen to shutdown.I still like Gnome3 better. The only thing I miss is I cant leave gui mode and use my Bash shell as the screen goes goes crazy maybe it just my system I’ not sure.

  13. Sreenath says:

    Dear Users,

    I had very bad experience using the ubuntu unity desktop. I will rather use 10.10 or some debian release which supports gnome 3. I wonder why ubuntu chose a nightmare called unity as the default desktop.


  14. Karjiana says:

    I installed Sims 3 onto my computer when it was running on Windows XP then I had Ubuntu 10.4 installed to replace the software but my computer still has the documents of the game when I saved them. Would I have to re-install the game again for Ubuntu or? is there a way to access those files and play from there?

  15. Netzien says:

    @JohnMDean Try in suspend [hold down alt key] then suspend turn to shutdown,gnome3 is better than unity.

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