How to Install Gnome 3 In Ubuntu

Even though Gnome 3 (aka Gnome shell) is still in beta, it has sure garnered a lot of attention from both Linux enthusiasts and power users. Most of us who are not happy with Ubuntu unity tend to install Gnome 3 and see how it fares against the Unity desktop. If you are one of those who wanted to try out Gnome 3 on your Ubuntu, but don’t want to deal with the compilation of code, here’s how you can install it easily via a PPA.

Installing Gnome Shell in Ubuntu Natty 11.04

Open a terminal and type the following command:(only applicable for Ubuntu Natty 11.04.)

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

Restart your computer. At the login screen, select Gnome as the desktop session.

What will change

1. If you are using the Unity desktop, some of the stuff might break.

2. The font will change.

Additional software to install

If you plan to use Gnome Shell as your main desktop manager, the following applications will be useful for you.

1. Gnome Tweak Tool

To install, you can use the following command:

sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool

2. Gnome-shell-frippery

This application is a Gnome 3 extension and it allows you to disable automatic workspace and several other tweaks.

To install, download the Gnome-shell-frippery tar file and extract it to the “~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions” folder.

Restart Gnome-shell.

3. Gnome Shell extensions

There are several other Gnome-shell extensions that you might be interested. You can open your Ubuntu Software Center (or synaptic Package Manager) and search for “gnome-shell-extension


Uninstalling Gnome-shell

If you decided that Gnome 3 (or Gnome shell) is not for you, here’s the way to remove it from your system.

sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
sudo apt-get autoremove gnome-shell
sudo ppa-purge ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3


Gnome 3 is radically different from Gnome 2 and Unity. If you are using it for the first time, be prepared to unlearn what you know about Gnome and pick up from scratch again. There is a high probability that you will hate it the first time you use it, because it doesn’t come with most of the stuff that you are familiar with. Try it out for a few days and I am sure you will appreciate some of its features.


Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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