The GNOME Configuration HOWTO
1. What is GNOME?
The GNOME project is a free software
project dedicated to the development of GNOME, a Unix/Linux desktop suite and
development platform. The GNOME
Foundation coordinates the development and other aspects of the GNOME
GNOME is a desktop environment and a development platform. This piece of free
software is the desktop of choice for several industry leaders. It is
interesting both for business users, home users as well as developers.
Like with any big free software project, GNOME has an extensive user- and
development base. Footnotes
contains GNOME Desktop news for users; GnomePlanet is for hackers/contributors and
Developer.Gnome.Org is for the
2. Installing GNOME
What do you need?
Before you start installing GNOME, you might want to edit your USE variables.
Make sure that gtk and gnome are in your USE variable listed in
/etc/make.conf. If you don't want KDE support (the other big
desktop environment), remove qt and kde.
Code Listing 2.1: Example USE in /etc/make.conf
USE="-qt -kde gtk gnome"
Once done, start installing GNOME by emerging gnome and
Code Listing 2.2: Installing GNOME
# emerge gnome xscreensaver
This will take a while, so you might want to start reading all those books your
mother bought you but you never opened. Done? Great, now update your
Code Listing 2.3: Updating environment variables
# env-update && source /etc/profile
If you paid attention to the output of your previous emerge command,
you'll notice that it suggests adding famd to the default runlevel to
have nautilus and gnome-vfs monitor file changes:
Code Listing 2.4: Adding famd to the default runlevel
# /etc/init.d/famd start
# rc-update add famd default
Let us first take a look at what we just built. Exit your root shell and log on
as a regular user. We will configure our session to run GNOME when we issue the
Code Listing 2.5: Having GNOME as default desktop environment
$ echo "exec gnome-session" > ~/.xinitrc
Now start your graphical environment by running startx:
Code Listing 2.6: Starting GNOME
If all goes well, you should be greeted by GNOME. Congratulations. Now let us
take a look at how you can configure GNOME to suit your needs.
3. Configuring GNOME
GNOME's Graphical Login Manager
If you want the GNOME Display Manager (GDM) to run automatically when you boot
(so you can log on graphically), you must add the xdm init script to the
Code Listing 3.1: Adding xdm to the default runlevel
# rc-update add xdm default
Now check the contents of the /etc/X11/Sessions:
Code Listing 3.2: Checking the contents of /etc/X11/Sessions
# ls /etc/X11/Sessions
As you can see, there is a session called gnome available. Now edit
/etc/rc.conf and alter two variables: DISPLAYMANAGER (which should
be set to gdm) and XSESSION (which should be set to Gnome):
Code Listing 3.3: Editing /etc/rc.conf
If you reboot now, the GNOME Display Manager will prompt you for your username
and password and will default to using GNOME as Desktop Environment (even though
you will have the option of selecting a different one of course).
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