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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



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 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 accessibility

gnome-accessibility package

The accessibility components of the GNOME desktop:
screen reader, mouse utilities, magnifier…

GNOME (core only)

gnome-core package

This is a minimalist gnome installation
(You have to install all end-user applications later). Above packages depend on this one.

For developers:

Installing "Gnome Desktop" task

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



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

As of DebianSqueeze, this corresponds to:

(tasksel --task-packages desktop ; tasksel --task-packages gnome-desktop) | sort -u


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).

See also

About GNOME for Debian: