- 1 Configuration Tips
- 2 Misc Tips
- 3 Useful Add-ons
- 4 Other Applications
- 5 See also
Add/Edit GDM Sessions
To add or edit sessions to GDM: The GDM configuration file is located at /opt/gnome/etc/gdm/gdm.conf. The gdm.conf file links to the desktop/window manager sessions in the folder /etc/X11/sessions. The sessions are in the format *.desktop.
To add a new session:
1. Copy an existing *.desktop file to use as a template for a new session:
# cd /etc/X11/sessions $ cp enlightenment.desktop waimea.desktop
2. Modify the template *.desktop file to open the required window manager:
# nano waimea.desktop
Alternatively, you can open the new session in KDM. This creates the *.desktop file. Then return to using GDM and the new session will be available.
If your gnome applications seem sluggish and gnome hangs at start-up after killing the previous session, it's likely you haven't set your /etc/hosts file correctly and your /etc/hosts file includes:
127.0.0.1 localhost.localdomain localhost YOURHOSTNAME
Then run "
/bin/hostname YOURHOSTNAME" and "
/sbin/ifconfig lo up" as root.
See also 
Due to an improper coded GNOME drawing library, some actions in GNOME can slow the system. If the theme icons are in SVG format, they make the system slower. A very fast improvement is to either use icons in PNG format or to convert the used icons into the PNG format.
You may want to configure system-wide default applications and file associations. This is extremely useful when you have some KDE applications installed, but still prefer a GNOME ones to be launched by default.
To do that you can install gnome-defaults-list from AUR. It will place your configuration file at /etc/gnome/defaults.list.
If you want to do everything manually, create /usr/share/applications/defaults.list with the following format:
[Default Applications] application/pdf=evince.desktop image/jpeg=eog.desktop ...
Better Video Performance
Some users report that, if they move the player window while playing a video file, a blue border appears around the video while it is moving. If you experience this, go to Desktop->Preferences->Multimedia Systems Selector, and under video change the "Default Sink" to "XWindows (No Xv)". When you click test, the blue border should be gone and on the whole, video should perform better.
Note: This no longer applies to Gnome 2.20 and later (Evanlec)
- Make sure that dbus is running (probably a good idea to add it to the daemons array in rc.conf).
- Install xscreensaver
# pacman -S xscreensaver
- Go to Desktop -> Preferences -> Screensaver
- Enable one or more screensavers
- Lock Screen will now start your screensaver and require your password to stop it.
or you can install gnome-screensaver:
# pacman -S gnome-screensaver
Unlock Gnome-keyring on Login
In /etc/pam.d/gdm, add lines like this at the end:
auth optional pam_gnome_keyring.so session optional pam_gnome_keyring.so auto_start
In /etc/pam.d/gnome-screensaver, add a line like this:
auth optional pam_gnome_keyring.so
In /etc/pam.d/passwd, add a line like this:
password optional pam_gnome_keyring.so
Easier way: Install SEAHORSE with "
pacman -S seahorse". Now you find under "Applications-> Accessories-> Password and Encryption Settings" a nice GUI where you can set for the keyring "Automatically unlocked when user logs in".
Get a certain path in spatial view? Just press:
Control + L
Change Browser Mode (Spatial View)
- Start gconf-editor
- Browse to apps/nautilus/preferences
- Change the value of "always_use_browser" (it's a yes/no value and should be visible as a checkbox or say "false", for the later change the value to "true")
Or you can do this through the preferences:
- In a Nautilus window go to Edit>>Preferences
- Change to the Behaviour tab
- Check (or uncheck) Always Open in Browser Windows
Speed Up Panel Autohide
If you find that your panels are taking too long to appear/disappear when using the Panel Autohide feature, try this;
- Start gconf-editor
- Browse to /apps/panel/global
- Set panel_hide_delay and panel_show_delay to more sensible (integer) values. Note that these values represent milliseconds!
GNOME Menu Tips
You can remove the delay in GNOME menus by running this command:
echo "gtk-menu-popup-delay = 0" >> ~/.gtkrc-2.0
Or just add "
gtk-menu-popup-delay = 0" to .gtkrc-2.0
However, this setting is reported to crash banshee, and possibly other programs.
Most Gnome users complain about the menu. Changing menu entries system-wide or for one or several users alone is poorly documented.
Recent versions of Gnome (ie, v2.22) have a menu editor in which you can de-select menu entires, but not add new menu entries. Right-click on the menu panel and select Edit Menus. Unchecking the box next to a entry will prevent it from displaying.
To add new menu entries, create a .desktop file in the $XDG_DATA_HOME/applications directory (most likely $HOME/.local/share). A sample .desktop file can be seen below, or take a look at Gnome documentation.
Or install Alacarte, which makes it easy to create, change and remove menu entries with a GUI. Do this with:
# pacman -S alacarte
You will find common gnome menu entries as 'appname.desktop' objects inside one of the $XDG_DATA_DIRS/applications directories (most likely /usr/share/applications). To add new menu items for all users, create an 'appname.desktop' file in one of those directories.
- Edit one of them to fit your needs for a new application, then save it.
- Save it as a menu entry for all users
Most often, you will set this files permissions to 644 (root: rw group: r others: r), so all users can see it.
- Save it as a menu entry for a group or user alone
You may also have different user permissions; for example, some menu entries should only be available for a group or for one user.
Here is an example how a Scite menu entry definition file could look:
[Desktop Entry] Encoding=UTF-8 Name=SciTE Comment=SciTE editor Type=Application Exec=/usr/bin/scite Icon=/usr/share/pixmaps/scite_48x48.png Terminal=false Categories=GNOME;Application;Development; StartupNotify=true
This is a quick guide on changing the gnome "foot" icon of your main menu to the icon of your choice.
- Open the configuration editor in gnome (it should be in System Tools of your main menu) or run
- In the configuration editor go to apps > panel > objects > find the object for your menu (an easy way to spot the correct object is that it will have "Main Menu" in the tool tip section).
- Set the path to your icon in the "Custom_Icon" field.
- Check "Use_Custom_Icon" a little ways down.
- To see the change without having to restart X, open a terminal window and type:
$ killall gnome-panel
FAM allows gnome to do such useful things as automatically update the menu when new applications are installed, and refresh nautilus when a directory it is viewing is changed.
See the FAM Wiki for instructions on how to install it.
Gnome System Monitor
This application appears when the "System Monitor" applet is clicked, and displays the processor/memory usage of all running applications. It is not installed by default in the GNOME group, so you need to install it separately using:
# pacman -Sy gnome-system-monitor
Burning CDs from Nautilus
# pacman -Sy nautilus-cd-burner
Gnome System Tools
This adds several Gnome menu items under System->Administration, specifically user management, date and time, network configuration, runlevels, and shared folders through samba or NFS. See Gnome documentation.
# pacman -Sy gnome-system-tools
Pay attention to the post-install message from pacman.
Gdesklets: Desktop Candy
Put a clock, calendar, weather report, and more onto your desktop
# pacman -S gdesklets
You can find more desklets at gdesklets.org. To install them, download the files. Next, in the Gnome menu, open Applications->Accessories->gDesklets. When the gDesklets Shell appears, drag the new gdesklet file onto the shell. If you want gdesklets to load when you log in, click on the Gnome menu under System->Preferences->Sessions. Choose "Startup Programs", click "add", and type in the data. The command should be /usr/bin/gdesklets. You can always find such a path by typing "whereis gdesklets".
These are some other nice applications and utilities for gnome, most of which can be downloaded all at once with:
# pacman -Sy gnome-extra
This is a group, so it is quite easy to choose not to download some of the packages, such as the documentation.
Install this application before logging into gnome for the first time unless you prefer to use xterm.
Drop Down Consoles
Gnome has a few dropdown consoles inspired by the ones found in FPS's such as Quake and Half-life (ie pressing the ~ key) These follow Yakuake from KDE, below are a few ones native to Gnome.
Guake requires Python, it can be installed via the following command. F12 is the default to toggle the terminal. Guake features mutiple tabs and by default Ctrl+PgUp and Ctrl+PgDown can be used to switch between these terminals.
# pacman -S guake
You can set transparency and other settings by first toggling to the terminal via F12, right clicking and selecting Preferences.
Guake can be started automatically by adding the following to Gnome Sessions via System -> Preferences -> Sessions. Select Add, and these settings can be used:
- Name: Guake
- Command: guake &
- Comment: Guake Dropdown Terminal.
Tilda is another dropdown terminal for Gnome, I discontinued using it after discovering Guake but here it is. Kindly add to this section if possible.
# pacman -S tilda
A text editor with syntax highlighting.
Eye-of-Gnome, a handy, fast little image viewer which can re-size and rotate photos.
An archive manager which supports many different formats. (Install unrar, unzip, ... to get the respective formats)
A calculator, what else?
An iTunes like audio library and player.
CD Ripper, integrates with rhythmbox.
To enable default mp3 profiles in preferences menu:
# pacman -S gstreamer0.10-lame gstreamer0.10-taglib
Note: This should not be necessary anymore, since these packages now are included in gstreamer0.10-ugly-plugins and gstreamer0.10-good-plugins.
If you're having other problems with SoundJuicer, click here
A video player which uses gstreamer for decoding its input.
An open-source Photoshop alternative for linux. A must-have if you ever do anything with graphics.
An nice little FTP client for gnome.
A small, fast, .doc compatible word processor.
A very nice, excel like spreadsheet editor.
Leave message feature in gnome screensaver
This is a cool feature provided by gnome-screensaver 2.20, somebody can leave a message for you when you are not at your desk. Please install notification-daemon to make this work.
A very useful application that can be run as a daemon within gnome. It manipulates windows allowing you to start programs on a desired desktop or in a size of your choice among many other things. Brings a whole new level of control into the metacity engine. There's a pretty good HOWTO on their homepage,