Friday, April 3, 2009

Installing GNOME Shell - a revolution in the classical desktop?

Author: Adrian Nowak, 8:23 AM, Friday, April 3, 2009

Category: , , ,

GNOME is one of the most popular desktop environments for Unix systems. Perhaps though once met with him every Linux user, and by its simplicity and intuitive, went to the default version of Ubuntu and many other popular distributions. In recent times KDE completely changed his appearance, and despite the complaints of some users, seems to be that such a change will ultimately benefit from the popularity of KDE.

At the same time, many people find that GNOME does not develop properly. Minimum refresh the color, however, despite appearances is not the only thing of which the creators of the desktop works. In the early phase of the test is a GNOME Shell, which in my opinion for some time will be able to completely replace the old environment known for many years. I will show you how to install it on your computer.

First impressions

The first time I run the GNOME desktop shell, I was really very surprised by the approach to the management of the desktop. After start of GNOME Shell we lose (of course only at the time of use) the previous panel and icons. They are replaced by a revolutionary at the moment interface. The desktop is divided into two parts. On the left is the menu that you can quickly search, while on the right side are visible the windows desktop application.

For a moment you can feel a little lost in the new desktop, because when you click on one of the windows, the programs are switched to a classic layout, and the left menu disappears. We have known then the standard GNOME panels, which, however, are devoid of buttons, in addition to 'Activities', which switches to our earlier view (with menu).


GNOME Shell operates quite slowly and that it is not stable yet. Of course, it is still early test version and should not be expected to be followed by miracles.


Installation of GNOME Shell (especially in older versions of GNOME) requires a relatively large amount of download packages, and for that many of them still have to compile, which for me, more or less standard for such time as the computer took over half an hour. If we do not have enough time or patience, it is better not to start the installation.

1) First we install the cURL library:

sudo apt-get install curl
2) Then download the necessary additional libraries:
sudo apt-get install libgnomeui-dev librsvg2-dev libreadline5-dev libwnck-dev python2.5-dev libgstreamer-plugins-base0.10-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libffi-dev xulrunner-1.9-dev mesa-common-dev gtk-doc-tools subversion git-core bison flex
3) Execute the script from the console:
4) And finally, build the program:
~/bin/jhbuild build


1) Go to the folder of the GNOME Shell:
cd ~/gnome-shell/source/gnome-shell/src
2) execute the command sequence to start the GNOME Shell:
./gnome-shell --replace


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