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Revision as of 11:21, 24 February 2014

GNOME Flashback (previously called GNOME fallback mode) is a shell for GNOME 3. The desktop layout and the underlying technology is similar to GNOME 2. It doesn't use 3D acceleration at all, so it's generally faster and less CPU intensive than GNOME Shell with llvmpipe.

Warning: GNOME Flashback is not compatible with GNOME 3.10. See: [1]


GNOME Flashback can be installed with the package gnome-panelAUR, available in AUR. In order to login, you have to install the following packages as well:

You can also install the following packages which provide some additional applets for the GNOME Panel:

To get a complete desktop environment, it's recommended to install the gnome group which contains applications required for the standard GNOME experience.


Graphical log-in

Simply choose GNOME Flashback session from your favourite display manager.


If you prefer to start GNOME Flashback manually from the console, add the following line to your ~/.xinitrc file:

 exec gnome-session --session=gnome-flashback

After the exec command is placed, GNOME Flashback can be launched by typing startx. See xinitrc for details.


GNOME Flashback shares most of its settings with GNOME. See Customizing GNOME appearance for more details.

Customizing GNOME Panel

  • To configure the panel, hold down the Alt key, and right-click on it in an empty area.
  • To move an applet on the panel, hold down the Alt key, and grab it with middle-button.

Alternative window manager

You can use an alternative window manager with GNOME by creating two files:

Note: Xmonad is used as an example, but this works for other window managers.
[GNOME Session]
Name=GNOME xmonad
[Desktop Entry]
Name=GNOME xmonad
Comment=This session logs you into GNOME with the traditional panel
Exec=gnome-session --session=gnome-xmonad

The next time you log in, you should have the ability to choose GNOME xmonad as your session.

If there isn't a .desktop file for the window manager, you'll need to create one. Example for wmii:

[Desktop Entry]

For more information, see this article on running awesome as the window manager in GNOME.

Using GNOME Panel with a standalone window manager

The GNOME Flashback experience is primarily provided by GNOME Panel. The other components are only required for the Flashback session itself. If you would like to use GNOME Panel without the Flashback session you can just install the gnome-panelAUR package and autostart the panel with a standalone window manager such as Openbox.

For example: if you want to use GNOME Panel with Openbox add gnome-panel & to the ~/.config/openbox/autostart file.

See your window manager's wiki page as well as the Autostarting page for further instruction.


Mouse cursor is not visible

When used with GNOME 3.10 the mouse cursor is not visible. As a workaround, in the dconf-editor expand: org -> gnome -> settings-daemon -> plugins and click on 'cursor.' Uncheck the box labelled active.

Known issues

  • The Logout and Shutdown dialogues do nothing.
  • The clock applet crashes when opening its settings.
  • The desktop background image is sometimes blanked out.
  • The panel won't resize properly when the screen resolution changed.

See also