GNOME First Steps

Revision as of 22:36, July 20, 2014 by Drobbins (Talk | contribs)

What is GNOME?

"GNOME 3 is an easy and elegant way to use your computer. It is designed to put you in control and bring freedom to everybody. GNOME 3 is developed by the GNOME community, a diverse, international group of contributors that is supported by an independent, non-profit foundation." GNOME


Before installing GNOME, ensure that the X Window System has been installed.


Please note that Linux kernel 3.15.* may still have serious incompatibility with various graphics drivers. If you like to use gentoo-sources or vanilla-sources, please use a 3.14.* kernel. This is of particular importance if you plan to run GNOME, and want to use NVIDIA (commercial or nouveau) or ATI (ati-drivers) graphics drivers.

Preparing to emerge

To get your system ready to emerge gnome, it is recommended that you first set the gnome profile mix-in. To accomplish this, do the following:

#  eselect profile list
Currently available mix-ins profiles:  
  [11]  funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/audio  
  [12]  funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/console-extras  
  [13]  funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/dvd  
  [14]  funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/gnome  
  [15]  funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/kde  
  [16]  funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/mate  
  [17]  funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/media  
  [18]  funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/print  
  [19]  funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/python3-only 
  [20]  funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/rhel5-compat 
  [21]  funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/server-db  
  [22]  funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/server-mail 
  [23]  funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/server-web
  [24]  funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/X 
  [25]  funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/xfce 
  [26]  funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/vmware-guest 
  [27]  funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/hardened

After seeing a list of available profiles, we want to add in the appropriate number for the gnome mix-in. To do this, run the following:

# eselect profile add 14

By enabling the gnome mix-in, various USE and other settings will be optimized to provide you with a pain-free GNOME installation experience.


You are provided with two packages that will pull in this desktop environment:

  • gnome

This is the "whole shabang" - pulls in a range of applications made for the gnome desktop environment including a few games, an archive manager, a system monitor, a web browser, a terminal, etc.

  • gnome-light

As the name implies, this pulls in the base minimal you need to get a functioning GNOME Desktop Environment.

GNOME 3.12 from a clean install


To emerge gnome run the following command

#  emerge -va gnome


To emerge gnome-light run the following command

#  emerge -va gnome-light

Upgrading from GNOME 3.6


To emerge gnome, remove nautilus-open-terminal if it is installed as it now bundled into gnome-terminal

#  emerge -vaC nautilus-open-terminal

Then, run the following command

#  emerge -vauDN world


To emerge gnome-light remove the following packages as there have been changes since 3.6 (you will have up reinstall any packages that have been renamed after gnome-light completes).

#  emerge -vaC gnome-fallback gnome-panel gnome-screensaver metacity gnome-games gcalctool nautilus-open-terminal

Then, run the following command

#  emerge -vauDN world

Finally, restore any applications that have been renamed (such as gcalctool => gnome-calculator)

#  emerge -va gnome-calculator



For bluetooth support, ensure that:

  1. Bluetooth support is enabled in your kernel (using modules is fine).
  2. Your bluetooth hardware is turned on.
  3. Add the bluetooth startup script to the default runlevel, and start it.

This can be done as follows:

# rc-update add bluetooth default
# rc

Once this is done, you should now be able to navigate to Settings -> Bluetooth and turn bluetooth on. The icon next to devices should now animate and you should be able to discover and add devices such as keyboards.

Printing =

To enable printing support, add cupsd to the default runlevel:

# rc-update add cupsd default
# rc

You should now be able to navigate to Settings -> Printers and add printers to your system, and print.

Finishing Touches

Set up a Display Manager

Typically, you will want to use gdm, the GNOME display manager, to log in to GNOME. This will allow you to log in graphically, rather than using the text console.

To enable gdm, edit /etc/conf.d/xdm and set DISPLAYMANAGER to gdm instead of xdm. Then, perform the following steps to add xdm to the default runlevel, and have it start automatically from now on when your system starts:

# rc-update add xdm default

Then, if you want to start it now do

# rc

But you should reboot to avoid having an open login terminal

Verify the inode/directory MimeType Handler

In some odd instances, baobab might take priority over nautilus when handling the inode/directory MimeType. If this behavior is not desired, add the following to /home/~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list:

[Added Associations]

Automatically Starting Applications at Login

When using an old-fashioned .xinitrc, starting up applications when X starts is relatively easy. When using GDM, this can still be accomplished, by using the ~/.xprofile file. Here's my sample .xprofile to start xflux to dim the screen at night:

xflux -z 87107

Remember to add a & at the end of any command that doesn't return to the shell prompt after running.