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

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Gnome 3 Features

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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.

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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.

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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Note:- This PPA works but it is outdated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. Tung Dao says:

    Doesn’t Gnome 3 break Unity?

  2. Andrew Sam says:

    Yes it does!

  3. Junkers says:

    Using 10.10. After using the ppa for 11.04, got Gnome 3 running. It’s pretty cool – I like it so far, though I do have to adapt to it quite substantially. However, I like what I see. Congratulations to the Gnome team for a superb job.

    On the other hand, I haven’t had a full go at Unity yet. I did a vm install of Natty beta 1 on VirtualBox but Unity never got installed properly, probably because of the graphics card settings/requirements. When I finally run through Unity, I shall have to choose between the two. So far I get the feeling that it’s going to be Gnome 3.

  4. Andrew Sam says:

    I kinda like gnome 3 shell compared to Unity. If u’ve used KDE netbook interface, this is not that difficult to adapt. It’s simple, elegant, with focus on the right things!

  5. Carlo says:

    OK so I got a bit more used to it now and its not bad. BUT does anybody know if you can customise the Task Bar? Its just a black bar on top. Can you move it to the bottom and make it transparent? (That’s what I liked about Gnome2)

  6. Nicolas says:

    Does anybody know if the desktop in itself can still be “activated”. Right now right click does not work there… any way to make it work again?
    That’s a feature I miss. Some extra customization might also be welcome (fonts for example).

  7. wayne says:

    Just tried installing on my netbook running 10.10. Neither repository seems to work. The second one complains that it can’t find the signing Key_fingerprint.

  8. fitka kefas says:

    Gnome3 is awesome,very sleek!

  9. MarkJ says:

    Looks to be broken…. how about a PPA that works for 10.10 Maverick???

    Failed to fetch 404 Not Found

    W: Failed to fetch 404 Not Found

    E: Some index files failed to download, they have been ignored, or old ones used instead.

  10. Stephan Huebner says:

    *sounds* nice, but looks useless to me (on 10.10), as the ppa given for 10.10 doesn’t work.

  11. Praveen says:

    How to try this in Ubuntu 10.04?

  12. James says:

    I’ve got Ubuntu Natty Beta 2 installed, although installation was fine, Gnome 3 just didn’t work. I forgot about my Nvidia G210 GPU not being supported. So if you’ve got Nvidia GPU on your system, might as well steer away from this. I hope uninstall works just as fine.

  13. the old rang says:

    Re: questions of one or the other ‘breaking 11.04’

    The test of 11 people this last week, said Unity Breaks 11.04…

    Comments by all involved with objective analysis say Unity is not ready and neither is 11.04…

    Statements on the Gnome Web site, THEY say Gnome 3 breaks things…

    I have tried Gnome, have seen what is being offered by Unity…

    and am one of the many looking for a comfortable replacement for Ubuntu…

    They want us to have desktops the are nothing by either cell phone, or touch tablets.

    I don’t want either…

    (PS: Lubuntu doesn’t have 64 bit, although it works on my nVidia system it is sllllooooooooow… Debian sucks for me… still looking)

  14. the old rang says:

    I have been reading the comments, and some are concerned about some things breaking the next Ubuntu…

    The recent ‘Test of 11’ to see what happens, showed anything can break 11.04 (5 of 11 people did)…

    Test and back room chatter say Unity needs work (from Canonical)

    Gnome’s web site says Gnome 3 is not really ready for either 11.04 or 10.10… the software breaks many littl pieces at random (my words not theirs.. but, their description.)

    I tried Gnome 3, and … I am not anxious about the future crap they are shovelling at us.

    That included Canonical.

    I want a SIMPLE system to use with no flashing, crashing, cyuuuuuuutsieeeee gee-gaws belonging in a non-conservative parade of non-standard life-styles.

    I don’t wans stupid garbarge locking up most of my screen.

    I don’t want buttons from a McDonald’s cash register idea, that do not tell me why I could care less about what they look like…

    I want drop down menus (not up from the stupid bottom like Windows…

    and I want to be able to find things, with one drop down, not something hidding under 4 jump out layers of stupidty…

    There is nothing for me (and many others) in the crap that they are trying to push.

    It is counter intuitive, and mostly unintellegible.

    I can figure it out…

    I don’t want to.

  15. shawn says:

    old rang:
    True, there is no 64bit lubuntu, but you can get the minimal install cd that is 64-bit and apt-get install lubuntu-desktop. After seeing all of this with unity and gnome 3, i believe that we are going to see a sharp rise in the popularity of xubuntu, especially since xfce4 4.8 has so many user friendly and customization improvements.

  16. everyday normal guy says:

    I love gnome 3. Finally it doesn’t feel like a Mac or windows rip off. Unity… still feels like a mac rip off. But Gnome 3 dares to do its own thing. Also, in contrast to Unity, it is pure eye candy. Sure, it is nothing for the hardcore users, who like to modify every last bit of their OS, but for someone like me, it is pretty appealing, consistent and easy to use. I might be switching from Windows to Linux because of that.

  17. shawn says:

    Well, that is one of the main things about Linux that is so appealing. There is something for the hard core tweakers, and there is something for the everyday normal guys. You are not pushed into how a company wants your computer to look and feel.

  18. deepak says:

    Is there a way to enable Classic Desktop in Gnome 3> I don’t quite fancy the icons cluttering my screen.


  19. SaphirantCross says:

    @James: NVidia works with the following fixes —

    — Use the Nouveau Driver. The Manufacturer provided drivers fail to drive Gnome 3 at all. If you’re “watching flashcards” on the Gnome 3 desktop when using the NVidia drivers, you don’t have to reinstall to fix it: go to the Accessibility menu and turn Zoom to on. This will get you enough of the desktop visible to retake control of your desktop.

    — The menu icons will be bleached out. Follow this fix to correct the issue until a bugfix solves it for good:

    In short, edit a .js file, switch a variable, comment out some lines, and you’re in business.

  20. catatan hery says:

    Gnome3 is totally has better looking than unity by far. I like it a lot.

    I wish ubuntu to consider to switch back to gnome 😉 just my two cents

  21. the old rang says:

    You can use the classical Ubuntu.

    When you get to log in, after you check your name, before you put in your password, look at the bottom bar, and select from ‘drop down’ that actually doesn’t drop ‘down’ the classical Ubuntu. You will have other things you have to do check this link…

  22. the old rang says:

    There are more things YOU MUST do, to use Gnome 3 and, it really is not recommended, even by Gnome…

  23. MrKnoedelmann says:

    Hi, I’m really glad that Gnome still works on Ubuntu as I’m very disappointed with Unity.

    I lately upgraded 10.10 to 11.04 and the desktop runs just slow – feeling like working on a PC AT 286!! it’s unusable. even moving windows or switching desktops takes noteable time … horrible!!!

    looks like Gnome3 simply runs as fast as I know it – or even faster. Very sad that Gnome3 breaks Ubuntu 11.04 – hopefully updates do work.

    btw: Why is it not possible with Unity to start one application from the sidebare more than once??
    Who invented that menubar at the top?? If I use focus follows mouse than its impossible to have more appl. open and move to mouse to the top without changing the menu to the wrong application menu … Can somebody explain how this feature should work without switching back to m$-windows focus style (clicking on each window)

    IMHO Gnome3 is just superior!

    AMD PhenomII X4 955, MSI-GD70, 4GB DDR3, 2 ATI HD5770 crossfire

  24. Manoj says:

    I hate unity. I haven’t tried it yet, but from the looks of it, I think I will love gnome 3.

  25. the old rang says:

    I tried ‘Unity’/11.04…
    1) to get to functional, took 8.5 hours (I was getting hot download speeds like 12-14 kbs (little letters). It aborted with no alert, unless you were reading the ‘normal not displayed’ terminal.
    Ultimately, I found, that even if you were using Ubuntu Classic, Unity was a major drag on your system…

    Lastly, once I had ‘Canonical’ do an update, computer ceased to come up.

    (This was on Monday after overcoming many stupid Canonical mistakes on the original set up…)

    I have never… NEVER, in 40+ years of computing, had the kinds and number of problems on an install, that I did with that crap….

    I fully formatted my disk (wanting NOTHING of that left on the system… I am now running 10.10, with Linux kernel 2.38.4, much faster than disunity, no problems and nothing omitted. like nVidia Drivers, and AMD needs, or flash for 64Bit…

    as opposed to unity at onset.

    I am looking for another distro… Lubuntu fell short, Xubuntu not tried, and a few others still not up to my wants. 11.x has nothing I ever want to see again.

  26. jack says:

    Today I installed Ubuntu 11.04, played with Unity for about an hour or two, hated it and tried to install Gnome 3. My system was broke, somewhere during the startup. After that I installed Ubuntu Studio, my personal favorite. This went ok and after that I tried again to install Gnome 3. Now everything goes ok untill the login screen. I login and get this message: ‘Unable to update .ICEauthority’. That’s it, no Gnome 3 and I had to install Ubuntu Studio again. Any ideas what’s going wrong here?

  27. mike says:

    Installed Gnome 3 on Ubuntu Natty 11.04 (Asus EEE PC 1000). Took 3 hours for upgrade. Afterwards netbook would not boot (“Unable to update .ICEauthority” error at login would not allow me to log in, regardless what I did. Recommended fixes on internet did not help). Had to reinstall Ubuntu 11.04.

    Recommendation: stay away from it until bugs have been ironed out. (Gnome 3 should not have been released. Reading other posts it is still too buggy.)

  28. the old rang says:


    1) If you have 11.04, up and running, and you are happy with it, enjoy…
    2) If you try running Gnome 3, against all recommendatioins, including the source… and it works, and you are happy with it…enjoy.
    3) If neither of the above are true, save yourself pain and heartache…

    format your disk and go back to what you were using…

    Saying the 11.04 runs ‘fast’ is a self full-filing delusion. Unity is a major hit on performance. I have run 11.04 with and without it… IT is a major draw-down on performance. I am not close to the only one saying so.

    They may resolve that problem in the next few years, one bit at a time… or not.

    If you go to Unity 2, you are still getting the performance hit, but… if you are happy… enjoy.

    Buy a computer that is twice as fast as what you have, and if you can install 11.04 successfully in it, you may end up running 10-20% faster than your older system running 10.10…maybe.

    It may not load in new computer (several in other forums, with new systems could not load)

    I am not trying to be negative, as much as realistic.

    I tried Gnome 3 on 10.10 and it ‘worked’… I just thought it sucked. I don’t like keyuuuuuutsie. I want a clean and simple interface, that doesn’t try to insult my intelligence, or make me feel like I work at McDonalds and they don’t want to have to teach me to read.

    If you have troubles installing 11.04 and take over 1 hour…

    Quit… fall back to your old set up. Save yourself heartache. I gave it a full weekend (many more hours than I would normally give any crapware…) They say ‘Bive it a chance’ I say give it up.

    But, if you like it… use it, until it drives you nuts…

  29. jack says:

    I agree. I happily returned to Gnome 2 and Compiz with minimal effects. It works as it should and is simple and effective. Why try to make things even simpler (… Unity or Gnome 3). That’s making things unnecessary complicated imho. Why all the large icons to the left when I can have small icons in my top panel? Why clicking three times to get my config panel, when I can get it right away through the system menu?

  30. Gramler says:

    Upgraded to latest Natty. Got this as a side effect.
    Broke my system. Maybe later it will be OK. For not it sucks egg through rotten straws (for me anyway)


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