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What is GNOME?

The GNOME project provides two things: The GNOME desktop environment, an intuitive and attractive desktop for end-users, and the GNOME development platform, an extensive framework for building applications that integrate into the rest of the desktop.

How to install the GNOME Desktop

To install the base GNOME Desktop, type the following at a command prompt:

pacman -S gnome

To install the rest of the GNOME Desktop (highly recommended), type the following at a command prompt:

pacman -S gnome-extra

To start the correct processes at system startup, edit the file /etc/rc.conf and add "portmap", "fam", "dbus" and "hal" to the DAEMONS=() line.

Running the GNOME Desktop

To start GNOME from the console, run:


If you add the following to your $HOME/.xinitrc file (and make sure it is the only line that starts with "exec"):

exec gnome-session

GNOME will start when you enter the following command.


GDM (GNOME Display Manager)

If you want a graphical login, you will need to install GDM. To do so, type the following at a command prompt:

pacman -S gdm

To make the graphical login the default method of logging into the system, edit the file /etc/inittab in the following ways:

  1. Change the line (if it does not exist, add it)
  2. Change the line (if it does not exist, add it)
    x:5:respawn:/usr/X11R6/bin/xdm -nodaemon
    x:5:respawn:/opt/gnome/bin/gdm -nodaemon

If you are used to using the $HOME/.xinitrc file to pass arguments to the x server when it is started, such as xmodmap or xsetroot, you should note that you can add the same commands to the $HOME/.xprofile file. My .xprofile looks like this:


# ~/.xprofile
# Executed by gdm at login

xmodmap -e "pointer = 1 2 3 6 7 4 5"  #set mouse buttons up correctly
xsetroot -solid black                 #sets the background to black

For more information about Graphical Logins (DMs), see this excellent page.

Misc tips and tricks

Have numlock on when you login to GNOME

  1. install numlockx
    pacman -Sy numlockx
  2. Run numlockx on login
    1. Select Desktop -> Preferences -> Sessions
    2. Select the Startup Programs tab
    3. Click on the Add button
    4. Enter /usr/bin/numlockx in the Startup Command select box
    5. Set the order to 55

Get the Desktop -> Lock Screen to work

  1. Go to Desktop -> Preferences -> Screensaver
  2. Enable one or more screensavers
  3. Lock Screen will now start your screensaver and require your password to stop it


Want to get to a certain path but can't because of the spatial view? Just type:

control + L

Some GNOME links

Arch Wiki links

External links