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 * [[DebianUnstable]] is currently tracking GNOME 3.14.  * [[DebianUnstable]] is currently tracking GNOME 3.16.

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What is GNOME?

The GNOME Desktop is an attractive and useful desktop environment. GNOME is both free and one of the most widely used desktop environments on the GNU/Linux operating system.

GNOME in Debian

GNOME is one of the DesktopEnvironment options in the DebianDesktopHowTo.



There are four options to install GNOME in Debian:

How to install


GNOME desktop task

tasksel see below

Debian's selection of applications
(This is what is installed on a freshly installed system. It includes some applications that do not really integrate with GNOME, like LibreOffice and Iceweasel)

GNOME (Debian)

gnome package

The full GNOME environment, including applications that are not officially part of the Upstream GNOME releases.
It provides the recommended GNOME environment for Debian.

GNOME (Upstream)

gnome-desktop-environment package

The official upstream GNOME environment, minus a few packages.
It is the closest to upstream recommendations.

GNOME (core only)

gnome-core package

Only the official “core” modules of the GNOME desktop. Above packages depend on this one.

  • {i} Watch out recommended packages (i.e. packages dependencies) !
    (you might or might not want to install them).

For developers:

  • gnome-core-devel - The development packages to compile GNOME dependent packages from source.

  • gnome-devel - A full development suite for developing GNOME-based applications.

  • gnome-api-docs - The complete API documentation for all GNOME libraries

  • gnome-dbg - All available debugging symbols for GNOME packages

Installing "GNOME Desktop" task

The GNOME Desktop task is what is installed by Debian-Installer's Desktop "task" (unless you picked another DesktopEnvironment !).

  • To install it, first make sure that tasksel and aptitude are installed:

    apt-get install aptitude tasksel
    Then, install the GNOME task:
    tasksel install gnome-desktop --new-install
  • (The option --new-install ensure we end-up with what DebianInstaller would have installed ).



The "GNOME Desktop" task is actually the sum of tasksel's common desktop (desktop) and tasksel's selected desktop (gnome-desktop) :

  • #tasksel -t install gnome-desktop
    aptitude -q --without-recommends -o APT::Install-Recommends=no -y install ~t^desktop$ ~t^gnome-desktop$

As of DebianWheezy, this corresponds to:


Most configuration of the GNOME desktop is done via its various GUI utilities. The location of these varies depending on version, but common utilities include networking, themes, sounds and much more. It is also possible to configure (read/write) settings using the command line with gconftool(2) or gsettings (1).

See also

About GNOME for Debian: