Thursday, November 05, 2009

GnomeShell- the next Desktop environment

The GNOME Shell is a major component proposed for GNOME 3.0. It takes over the window management and application launching roles and provides an intuitive unified experience as the user navigates between tasks and documents.The GNOME Shell redefines user interactions with the GNOME desktop. In particular, it offers new paradigms for launching applications, accessing documents, and organizing open windows in GNOME. Later, it will introduce a new applets eco-system and offer new solutions for other desktop features, such as notifications and contacts management. The GNOME Shell is intended to replace functions handled by the GNOME Panel and by the window manager in previous versions of GNOME. The GNOME Shell has rich visual effects enabled by new graphical technologies.

The preview of GNOME Shell 2.28 was released on October 7, 2009 and most distributions should have the preview packages. If you are interested in having the latest GNOME Shell features from the repository or in developing GNOME Shell, here are the instructions for building and running it yourself, which are quite straight forward. The plan for GNOME Shell is to be the desktop for GNOME 3.0.


It’s important to note right away that Gnome Shell is still in fairly early development. There is no stable release or package, we’ll be downloading and installing from source code using an auto build script. While I had no trouble at all with the installation, things could change at any moment so there’s certainly no guarantees that it will build, let alone run. That said, Gnome Shell has so far given me no trouble at all.

First, we’ll need jhbuild, a tool that’ll help with the installation. It’s probably in your distro’s repositories. Debian/Ubuntu users an fetch it with:

sudo apt-get install jhbuild

Next we download and run the installation script:

jhbuild build

This will take a little while.


BEFORE RUNNING GNOME SHELL, make sure to disable Compiz if you’ve got it running. Ubuntu users can do this by opening your normal Gnome panel to System -> Preferences -> Appearance and turning off desktop effects. Once you’re sure any desktop effects have been disabled, save any work you’re not willing to risk, and enter the following in your terminal:
~/gnome-shell/source/gnome-shell/src/gnome-shell --replace

Related Links
Gnome live

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