Starting Gnome Shell in Ubuntu

Trying out Gnome Shell?

There are many places to go to get the instructions about downloading and installing, but how to get it to start automatically might be a puzzle to some. One reason for that is that there are some faulty instructions on the web. A good place for instructions on how to use Gnome Shell is live.gnome.org

To start Gnome Shell after it is all installed, go to Applications> Accessories> Terminal. When the window opens with what is called a ‘terminal’ you will see the prompt where to enter your command. Type in

gnome-shell --replace

[Before you hit return remember this tip.  After hitting return/enter key, if the thing does not work properly, and your screen does funny things, hold down the Ctrl key and press the ‘c’ key. This is a short way to bring everything back to normal.  Better than restarting your machine in a panic!

So, type in

gnome-shell --replace

Then you hit return.

Gnome Shell will now be running in that open terminal. if you close the terminal window funny things will happen. So as you try out Gnome Shell just reduce the terminal that is running Gnome Shell.

To stop running Gnome Shell hold down Alt and press the F2 key. A very small window will appear in the centre of your screen waiting for your command. In that tiny window type ‘debugexit’ and this will properly quit Gnome Shell.

To always start Gnome Shell when you log in. You can run the following in a terminal, type it as all one line (you can copy from here and paste it in but I have had to cram it into this post, you must make sure you get rid of the line breaks I have had to put in here):

gconftool-2 --set /desktop/gnome/session/required_components
/windowmanager --type string gnome-shell

To reverse this change run this in a terminal:

gconftool-2 --unset /desktop/gnome/session/required_components
/windowmanager

It is worth trying Gnome Shell as it may be the shape of things to come in the future Linux releases.

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