GNOME 2

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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

Before installing GNOME Desktop make sure you have updated pacman itself by:

# pacman -Syu 
# pacman -Syy

This will bypass the error which is encountered while installing gnome-media package that depends on gstreamer0.10-gconf but its not there in the package list with the pacman out of the box version. An update is necessary prior to installation of GNOME.

Install the base GNOME Desktop by:

# pacman -S gnome

This is a metapackage; which is a group of packages. An option will be given to install all or some of the packages in this group. All the packages can safely be installed and is highly recommended, but here is a list of some that may not be needed.

  • Epiphany is a web browser that comes with GNOME. If you are planning on using a different browser e.g. Firefox then this package is not needed. It is recommended that you at least try Epiphany as it is an excellent browser that unfortunately gets over shadowed by Firefox.
  • Evolution is a Personal Information Management PIM (e-mail, calendar, contacts, etc.) application for GNOME. If you are planning on using a different PIM; e.g. Thunderbird, or a web PIM like a google or yahoo account then you have no need for this package.
  • gnome-backgrounds is a collection of desktop backgrounds (wallpapers) that the GNOME community has selected for you to use. If you already know what you will be using for your background e.g. a picture of you sweetheart, then this package is not needed.
  • gnome-screensaver is a collection of screensavers for the GNOME desktop. If you will not be using a screensaver, i.e. using the GNOME power manager to shut the monitor off when not in use then this package is not needed.
  • gnome-themes is a collection of desktop themes. If you will be using a specific theme that you will be downloading separately then this package is not needed.
  • gnome2-user-docs and yelp are the help documents and help document reader for the GNOME desktop. If you are the kind of person that does not read documentation or you would rather use the large help documents known as google, then there would be no need to install these packages. This is not recommended. (Ironically, if you are the kind of person that does not read documentation then chances are you won’t be reading this.)
  • libgail-gnome is a GNOME accessibility implementation library used by the screen reader Orca. If you and everyone else that will be using this desktop have good vision then this package is not needed.

Install the rest of the GNOME Desktop (highly recommended, see Gnome Tips)by:

# pacman -S gnome-extra

Like before this is a metapackage, and it is recommended to install all packages in this group, but here is a list of some that may not be needed.

  • Alacarte is an editor for the gnome-menu, if you're planning on using the menu it's recommended to use this package, though it can be done manually.
  • Bug-Buddy reports bugs, if you don't want to report bugs this package is not needed.
  • Cheese uses your webcam to take photos and videos; if you don’t have a webcam then this package is not needed.
  • Dasher is a text entry application that uses the pointer instead of a keyboard. If you and everyone that will be using this desktop can use a keyboard then this package is not needed.
  • Deskbar-applet is an all-in-one search bar for the GNOME desktop. If you don't need a desktop search then this package is not needed.
  • Ekiga is a VOIP/Videoconferencing application. If you have no need for VOIP or use a different application like Skype, then this package is not needed.
  • EOG views almost all types of images, you may choose to take your own image viewer.
  • Evince is a simple document (e.g. pdf) viewer. If you are planning on using a different viewer e.g. Adobe Reader then this package is not needed.
  • Evolution-exchange is a plug in for Evolution that allows Evolution to connect to Exchange. If you don't use Exchange or Evolution then you have no need for this package.
  • Evolution-webcal is a web calendar plug in for Evolution. If you don't use Evolution then you have no need for this package.
  • Fast-user-switch-applet is an applet that allows the switching of users without going through a log out, and log in screen, i.e. you can switch users fast. If there is only one user on your computer or you like seeing the log in screen then you have no need for this package.
  • File-Roller is a gui archive manager which works as winzip/winrar. If you prefer to (un)pack archives through the commandline this package is not needed.
  • Gcalctool , a default calculator application with different views.
  • Gconf-editor , the backend editor for all gnome settings.
  • Gdm facilitates the starting of GNOME at boot up. If you like your computer to boot into a nice traditional command line and you will start GNOME only when you need it, then this package is not for you.
  • Gedit is a GUI based text editor. If you plan on using a different text editor – as most people’s devotion to their favorite text editor is religious you more than likely have an example in mind – then you have no need to install this package. (If you are devoted to gedit I apologize for suggesting it not be installed; I only did so for completeness.)
  • Gnome-audio is a collection of sounds for events in gnome. If you've your own sounds, don't want sounds or have no sound at all then this package is not needed.
  • Gnome-games and gnome-games-extra-data is a collection of simple desktop games; e.g. Nibbles, Sudoku, etc. If you feel that childish games are a waste of your time, hard drive space and bandwidth then this package is not for you.
  • Gnome-mag is a screen magnifier for people with poor vision. If you and everyone that will be using this desktop have good vision then you have no need for this package.
  • Gnome-nettool and gnome-netstatus are collections of GUI based networking tools. If you do all your networking stuff from the command line then this package is not for you.
  • Gnome-power-manager keeps track of battery status, and other power tracking tools. Only laptop users should use this package.
  • Gnome-system-monitor , an application that displays computer hardware information, and system resource usage.
  • Gnome-Terminal a gui terminal, if you prefer your own terminal application like xterm or aterm then this package is not needed.
  • Gnome-Utils is a collection of utilities for gnome, containing a file logger, logviewer, searchtool, dictionary, floppy drive support and a app for taking screenshots. It's recommended to take this package.
  • Gnome-Volume-Manager Automaticly mounts newly connected HD's (including usb drives) for you. If you prefer to mount drives through the commandline this package is not needed.
  • Gucharmap lets you view unicode characters.
  • Gok is the GNOME on screen keyboard. If you and every one using this desktop plan on using a standard keyboard for all your keyboard needs then don't install this package.
  • Hamster-applet is a time tracking applet. Please visited its web site Project Hamster to decide if you should install it or not. I am afraid that describing this applet in one or two sentences does not do the project justice.
  • Mousetweaks is accessibility software for users that have limited control of a mouse (e.g. can manipulate only one button). If you and every one that will be using this desktop have full control of the mouse then there is no need to install this package.
  • Nautilus-cd-burner allows the burning of files to CDs by dragging-and-dropping in the GNOME file manager, Nautilus. The only reason not to install this package is if you don’t have a CD burner on your computer.
  • Orca is a screen reader for the GNOME desktop to help users with limited vision. If you and everyone else that will be using this desktop have good vision then this package is not needed.
  • Seahorse and Seahorse-plugins are packages for de/encrypting information. Don't take this package unless you know what you're going to use it for.
  • Sound-juicer is a CD ripping application for Gnome. If you are planning on using a different application for ripping CD e.g. Banshee or don’t have a CD drive then you have no need to install this package.
  • Tomboy is a simple desktop note taking application. If you don’t take notes or simply use pen and paper for your simple note taking needs then you have no need for this package.
  • Totem is the official movie player of the GNOME desktop. If you plan on using a different movie player e.g. VLC then you have no need for this package.
  • Vinagre is a VNC client for the GNOME desktop. If you have no need for a VNC client then you have no need for this package.
  • Vino is a remote desktop server for the GNOME desktop. You can use it to share your Gnome session desktop with other users. If you have no need for a remote desktop server then you have no need for this package.
  • Zenity a tool that allows you to display GTK dialog boxes in commandline and shell scripts.

You may have noticed the Gnome admin tools (System → Administration) are not included in the extra package. You will need the gnome-system-tools package which is installed in a discrete step. As mentioned above, this and other helpful info can be found on the Gnome Tips) wiki page which you should read through:

# pacman -Sy gnome-system-tools
Note: Installing the Gnome admin tools may require you to insert DBUS into the daemons array in /etc/rc.conf right before HAL. See below!

Daemons and Modules Needed by the GNOME Desktop

The GNOME desktop requires two daemons, FAM and HAL for proper operation. The File Alteration Monitor FAM daemon allows real-time representation of file alterations; i.e. give the GUI instant access to recently installed programs or changes in the file system. The Hardware Abstraction Layer HAL daemon, among other things, will automate the mounting of disks, optical drives, and USB drives/thumbdrives for use in the GUI.

To start the HAL and FAM daemons:

# /etc/rc.d/hal start
# /etc/rc.d/fam start

Or add these daemons to the DAEMONS array in Template:Filename so they will start on boot up, e.g.:

#
# /etc/rc.conf - Main Configuration for Arch Linux
#
.
.
# -----------------------------------------------------------------------
# DAEMONS
# -----------------------------------------------------------------------
#
# Daemons to start at boot-up (in this order)
#   - prefix a daemon with a ! to disable it
#   - prefix a daemon with a @ to start it up in the background
#
.
.
DAEMONS=(syslog-ng network crond hal fam)
Note: You may instead want to remove FAM and install gamin, which doesn't require a system daemon to be running.
Note: Installing the Gnome admin tools may require you to insert DBUS into the daemons array in /etc/rc.conf right before HAL. Otherwise you may encounter the "The configuration could not be loaded. You are not allowed to access the system configuration." error message.
#
# /etc/rc.conf - Main Configuration for Arch Linux
#
.
.
# -----------------------------------------------------------------------
# DAEMONS
# -----------------------------------------------------------------------
#
# Daemons to start at boot-up (in this order)
#   - prefix a daemon with a ! to disable it
#   - prefix a daemon with a @ to start it up in the background
#
.
.
DAEMONS=(syslog-ng network crond dbus hal fam)


GVFS allows the mounting of virtual file systems (e.g. file systems over FTP or SMB) to be used by other applications, including the GNOME file manager Nautilus. This is done with the use of FUSE: a user space virtual file system layer kernel module.

To load the FUSE kernel module:

#  modprobe fuse

Or add the module to the MODULES array in Template:Filename so they will load at boot up, e.g.:

#
# /etc/rc.conf - Main Configuration for Arch Linux
#
.
.
# -----------------------------------------------------------------------
# HARDWARE
# -----------------------------------------------------------------------
#
# MOD_AUTOLOAD: Allow autoloading of modules at boot and when needed
# MOD_BLACKLIST: Prevent udev from loading these modules
# MODULES: Modules to load at boot-up. Prefix with a ! to blacklist.
#
# NOTE: Use of 'MOD_BLACKLIST' is deprecated. Please use ! in the MODULES array.
#
MOD_AUTOLOAD="yes"
#MOD_BLACKLIST=() #deprecated
MODULES=(fuse usblp)
.
.
Note: FUSE is a kernel module not a daemon and does not go in the same array as HAL and FAM.

Running the GNOME Desktop

To start GNOME from the console, run:

$ gnome-session

If you add the following to your Template:Filename file (and make sure it is the only line that starts with "exec"):

exec gnome-session

or this if you have problem with automount:

exec ck-launch-session gnome-session

To make it a global setting which has effect on all users in stead of only one, in stead of Template:Filename add the line to the file Template:Filename:

exec gnome-session

Note: Only needed for gnome 2.14, gnome 2.16 and up do this for you:

exec dbus-launch --exit-with-session /opt/gnome/bin/gnome-session

GNOME will start when you enter the following command.

$ startx

GDM (GNOME Display Manager)

If you want a graphical login, you will need to install GDM (which is also part of gnome-extra). 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, add gdm to your list of daemons in Template:Filename.

If you are used to using the Template:Filename 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 Template:Filename file. My .xprofile looks like this:

#!/bin/sh

#
# ~/.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

You can configure GDM (for changing default theme for example) in System → Administration → Login Window. Or you can use this command (as root):

# gdmsetup 

Note that with version 1.6.1 of xorg-server, Template:Keypress+Template:Keypress+Template:Keypress will NOT restart gdm anymore. For instructions on re-enabling this behavior, see the [this section] of the Xorg wiki article.

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

Troubleshooting

Your computer crashes and gnome won't startup anymore.

Solution: delete ~/.gnome2/session

Panels wouldn't work correctly

Sourced from this forum page

Solution: Try with a fresh configuration by moving you old configs out of the way:

for d in .gnome* .gconf*; do mv "$d" "$d.old"; done

GDM won't start

If you get this message: "The greeter application appears to be crashing. Attempting to use a different one"

One possible reason is that your /tmp folder has the wrong permissions set. Run:

# chmod 1777 /tmp

As root and try again.

GNOME lags

If opening programs in GNOME takes an unusual long time. You may be able to fix this by editing Template:Filename and adding your host name.

# nano /etc/hosts

Now, you should add the host name you have defined in Template:Filename or your network profile if you have one (if you don't know, you probably don't).

The Template:Filename file usually looks like this:

 #
 # /etc/hosts: static lookup table for host names
 #
 
 #<ip-address>   <hostname.domain.org>   <hostname>
 127.0.0.1               localhost.localdomain   localhost
 
 # End of file

Add your host name (in this example the host name "example_hostname" was picked) to the end of the line which starts with "127.0.0.1". Now it looks like this:

 #
 # /etc/hosts: static lookup table for host names
 #
 
 #<ip-address>   <hostname.domain.org>   <hostname>
 127.0.0.1               localhost.localdomain   localhost example_hostname
 
 # End of file

Screen gets dark while GNOME loading

If screen gets dark while GNOME loading, you may correct this problem as following.

Open a terminal and run:

$ gconf-editor

Find:

 / → apps → gnome-power-manager → backlight

and change the value of

 brightness_ac

from 100 to 0 by clicking on it. After restart the system, the problem should not be occur.

Tip: If the problem will be corrected, the same problem will occur. Change to brightness_ac value from 0 to 100 to solve this problem if it will occur again.

X server drops out randomly and GDM reloads

If your X server is crashing semi-frequently, try this fix Sourced from this forum page

Edit your /etc/gdm/custom.conf and locate the [servers] section and add:

0=Standard vt7

No shutdown in gnome menu

First gefore you do anything else make sure you arei n the group "power". You can make sure by typing this in a console:

cat /etc/group | grep power | grep ${LOGNAME}

You can replace "${LOGNAME}" by any user on your pc. If you leave it like ${LOGNAME} it will look for the current user logged in.

If you are in the power group you should get a return line like this:

power:x:98:mark

Note: mark is my username so it obviously returns mark. You will likely have a different username in the return output. if not then you need to add yourself to the power group by typing this as root:

sudo gpasswd -a ${LOGNAME} power

Again, replace ${LOGNAME} by the user you want to add to power unless you want to add the currently logged in user.

Now that we made sure you are in the power group we just need to make sure your login manager is good. You most likely don't have a shutdown button when you use SLiM as the login manager as it seems to work just fine with the other login managers supplied in arch core/extra. You need to open the users .xinitrc file (nano ~/.xinitrc) and make sure the exec line has ck-launch-session in it like this:

exec ck-launch-session gnome-session

That will fix your shutdown issue in gnome when using the SLiM login manager.

See also

External links