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How to Install Gnome Shell in Arch Linux

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Yesterday I promised to write a guide on how to install the Gnome desktop in Arch. At the first look, it can scare away some people because Arch doesn’t offer a desktop by default. After you finish the installation and reboot, you’ll get a big scary command prompt. Don’t get scared. Arch have the latest desktops in their repositories (Latest means they always have later versions than Ubuntu…). All we got to do is install the one we need. So, today we’ll see how to install the famous Gnome Desktop in Arch Linux

If you followed my previous post, you might have already installed Arch and setup the video drivers and Xorg. If you haven’t please go back to the Arch Beginner’s Guide and read it until you reach the end… After that, things are easy…

Lets see How To Install Gnome in Arch :

  • First, enter the following commands to install Gnome and its display manager  (As root. If you are not root, put sudo in front of these commands) (The following command (the yyu flags) will first refresh your packaged and upgrade the system before installing Gnome) :
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pacman -Syyu gnome gdm
  • If you want, you can also install the Gnome Extras package which have some more apps which you can use in your desktop
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pacman -S gnome-extra

Now the installation part is complete. Now we need to tell Arch to load our desktop manager at boot. If you followed the Beginner’s guide, you know what to do…

  • Enter the following command to open the rc.conf file (As root):
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nano /etc/rc.conf
  • Now scroll down to the bottom of the file and see the DAEMONS section. Now we need to add gdm to this line. We’ll also add the networkmanager so that you can use the Gnome network manager to edit network settings. After you add them, it should look like this… (Put gdm to the very end)
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# DAEMONS
# -------
#
DAEMONS=(syslog-ng dbus network networkmanager crond gdm)
  • Press Ctrl+X and Y to save and exit the file

  • Now, reboot (command : reboot (as root)) your machine and next time you boot, you’ll be greeted with the Gnome login screen

If you follow this guide closely, you should get a basic Gnome desktop as shown below… Now you can customize this just as you customized any other Gnome desktop. We’ll also write more posts on how to do things in Arch. So, stay tuned… If you face any problems during the setup, ask them in our forum and we’ll be happy to help you!

The Default Gnome Desktop

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