Difference between revisions of "Pantheon"

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* {{AUR|scratch-text-editor}}: Text editor
* {{AUR|scratch-text-editor}}: Text editor
* {{AUR|snap-photobooth-bzr}}: Webcam app
* {{AUR|snap-photobooth-bzr}}: Webcam app
* {{AUR|switchboard}}: Settings manager
* {{AUR|switchboard-bzr}}: Settings manager
{{Note|You will also need to install plugs, look for "switchboard-plug-*" in the [[AUR]].}}
{{Note|You will also need to install plugs, look for "switchboard-plug-*" in the [[AUR]].}}

Revision as of 06:08, 7 April 2014

Pantheon is the default desktop environment originally created for the elementary OS distribution. It is written from scratch using Vala and the GTK3 toolkit. With regards to usability and appearance, the desktop has some similarities with GNOME Shell and Mac OS X.


Pantheon is split into several packages which are available in the AUR. To get a minimal desktop interface, you may start by installing pantheon-session-bzrAUR. This will pull the following core components:

Note: You will need to install at least one indicator, otherwise wingpanel will not launch.

Additionally, you may install the following packages:

Note: You will also need to install plugs, look for "switchboard-plug-*" in the AUR.

Additional Info

Unofficial repository

I have set up an unofficial repository for pantheon packages: http://pkgbuild.com/~alucryd/pantheon/. Add the following lines at the top of your sources in /etc/pacman.conf:

SigLevel = Optional
Server = http://pkgbuild.com/~alucryd/$repo/$arch

Github repository

All Pantheon related PKGBUILDs can be found on my GitHub repository: https://github.com/alucryd/aur-alucryd/tree/master/pantheon

Packages based on older evolution-data-server

dexter-contacts-bzrAUR and feedler-bzrAUR do not build because they are based on evolution-data-server 3.2. Arch Linux provides version 3.10 which uses a different Vala API.

Launching Pantheon

Via a Display Manager

pantheon-session-bzrAUR provides a session entry for display managers such as gdm or lightdm.

Note: Either use the bzr version of cerbere or add 'gala' to the monitored processes for this to work.

Via .xinitrc

You can also use ~/.xinitrc with slim to launch the Pantheon shell. The following code will successfully launch a Pantheon session:

if [ -d /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d ]; then
  for f in /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc.d/*; do
    [ -x "$f" ] && . "$f"
  unset f

gsettings-data-convert &
xdg-user-dirs-gtk-update &
/usr/lib/polkit-gnome/polkit-gnome-authentication-agent-1 &
/usr/lib/gnome-settings-daemon/gnome-settings-daemon &
/usr/lib/gnome-user-share/gnome-user-share &
eval $(gnome-keyring-daemon --start --components=pkcs11,secrets,ssh,gpg)
exec cerbere
Note: Either use the bzr version of cerbere or add 'gala' to the monitored processes for this to work.

Autostart applications

Pantheon, when launched via ~/.xinitrc, does not support XDG autostart. However, there are 3 other ways to achieve this for applications which do not provide a systemd unit:

  • You may add any program to your ~/.xinitrc, preferably right before the exec cerbere line. This is the better choice for one-shot programs.
  • Or you may edit the org.pantheon.cerbere.monitored-processes key using dconf-editor and add the programs of your choice. This method is best for applications which keep running in the background.
  • Or you may use a program like dapperAUR, dex-gitAUR, or fb-autostartAUR to add support for XDG autostart in your ~/.xinitrc.
Note: Keep in mind that applications started via cerbere cannot be terminated, they will keep respawning.


Configuring Pantheon is done via switchboard-bzrAUR and its plugs, most are available in the AUR and the custom repo. All pantheon settings can also be altered via dconf, they are located in the org.pantheon key. Use dconf-editor for easy editing.

Part of the configuration is handled by gnome-control-center via a dedicated plug, which unfortunately only supports GNOME up to 3.6. Use gnome-control-center itself and gnome-tweak-tool instead.

Pantheon Files

Enable context menu entries

If you want to enable context menu entries such as for file-roller to extract/compress archives, then you have to additionally install contractor-bzrAUR.

Known Issues

No transparency in pantheon-terminal

Transparency in pantheon-terminal is not functional. It appears to work briefly at start then background becomes opaque. See bug report: https://bugs.launchpad.net/pantheon-terminal/+bug/1260383

White icons in pantheon-files

Currently there seems to be a bug which displays the view icons in the top location in a white colour instead of black. This can be fixed by adding the following line to gtk-widgets.css or gtk-widgets.css of your gtk-theme-elementaryAUR theme:

GtkToolItem { color: @text_color; }

Wingpanel is transparent

Depending on your GTK theme, wingpanel can be completely transparent. This is the case for the elementary theme for example. The Numix theme seems to produce a solid panel, however it will become transparent upon certain events, reloading wingpanel makes it solid again.

Corrupted graphics in canonical indicators

Indicators behave incorrectly with every theme I've tried. They are very ancient, all of them date back to 2012 because the newer indicators depend on Ubuntu patches, and they should be killed with fire anyway. Wingpanel is doing just that and I hope the next major release will ship their new plugin system.

Can't interact with the LightDM Pantheon greeter

The Pantheon greeter needs to be run as root, edit /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf accordingly. See bug report: https://bugs.launchpad.net/pantheon-greeter/+bug/1282148


Gala crashes on start

It appears that unconfigured gala tries to use default gnome wallpaper as a background. However, the corresponding file is absent unless you have gnome-themes-standard installed. Thus, install gnome-themes-standard to workaround the crash. It is safe to remove this package after you configure pantheon in a way you want.