GNOME First Steps

Revision as of 05:22, March 11, 2014 by Daniel Robbins (Talk)

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 3.13.* has some serious incompatibility with various graphics drivers. If you like to use gentoo-sources or vanilla-sources, please use a 3.12.* 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

To emerge gnome-light run the following command

#  emerge --ask gnome-light

To emerge gnome run the following command

#  emerge --ask gnome

Initial Startup

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
# rc

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.