GNOME First Steps

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


From a Clean Install

Ensure that the X Window System is installed.

Preparing to emerge

To get your system ready to emerge gnome, first set your system flavor to desktop, and enable the gnome profile mix-in. To accomplish this, do the following:

# eselect profile set-flavor funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/flavor/desktop
# eselect profile add funtoo/1.0/linux-gnu/mix-ins/gnome

Console: Set profileThe given value was not understood.

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 3.14 from a clean install


To emerge gnome run the following command

#  emerge gnome

Console: Emerging GNOME


To emerge gnome-light run the following command

#  emerge gnome-light

Console: Emerging a minimal GNOME environment (alternative)The given value was not understood.

Finalizing Setup


GNOME uses OpenGL by default -- so you'll want to make sure that you use eselect opengl to ensure that the proper OpenGL implementation for your video card is selected. If this is not done, GNOME won't start, so it's important to check this. Type eselect opengl list as root to list OpenGL implementations, and eselect opengl set X to set your OpenGL implementation to the proper one.

Setting up xdm (GUI log-in)

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.

By default, GNOME displays the /etc/motd file for several seconds after you log in via GDM. The best way to eliminate this delay is to remove the unnecessary /etc/motd -- it contains information related to when your stage3 was built:

# rm /etc/motd

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:


Funtoo's /etc/init.d/xdm initscript has been modified to start the requisite services dbus, openrc-settingsd and consolekit prior to starting gdm.

#  rc-update add xdm default

Console: Enable the GNOME display managerThe given value was not understood.

Then, if you want to start it now do:

# rc

When your system restarts, it will start GDM by default.

Setting up xinitrc (text log-in)

Adding the following to your ~/.xinitrc file is sufficient:

# Fix Missing Applications in Gnome
export XDG_MENU_PREFIX=gnome-

# Properly Launch the Desired X Session
exec ck-launch-session gnome-session

Additionaly, if you need support for different input sources, there is no longer a need to configure IBus or SCIM in your .xinitrc file as GNOME uses IBus natively. Simply configure it in the Control Center under Region & Language.

Upgrading from GNOME 3.12

To update either gnome or gnome-light run the following command:

#  emerge -vauDN world



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.


Additional kernel drivers may need to be enabled for certain input devices. For example, for the bluetooth Apple Magic Trackpad, the following option must be enabled in your kernel:

Under Device Drivers-->HID support-->HID bus support-->Special HID drivers:

<M> Apple Magic Mouse/Trackpad multi-touch support


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.


To enable scanning support, add your user account to the lp group. This will allow your user to access the USB scanner.

Then, emerge xsane, and run it. It should be able to access your scanner.

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.


Gnome has several games that can be added on to your install. By default most games are not included in gnome's emerge.

Users wishing to play games need to be added to the games group:

# gpasswd -a $USER games

game list:


game system emulators:


Significant Known Issues (Workarounds Available)

FL-1678: Bluetooth interface gives wrong pairing key

FL-1687: Wallpaper corruption when resuming from suspend