I am on Debian Squeeze. In over-enthusiasm I added an experimental repo and installed GNOME 3 (here is the evil discussion on installing GNOME 3 http://forums.debian.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=60481) and now I am awe and shock to see only GNOME 3 as available desktop session apart from failsafe :( I know I did a total stupid thing but now, is it possible to remove Gnome3? And is it possible to have both GNOME 3 and GNOME 2 both on my box? FYI, I tried aptitude remove but it didn't help.


Run (as root) apt-get remove --auto-remove libgtk-3-common, and it should remove gnome-shell too, which is a large part of what's billed as GNOME 3. And yes, it is possible to have both on your box, removing the need to purge stuff. I expect that you can even specify which session (GNOME 2 or 3) to run on start-up, but that's a separate question. Just ensure that you still have gnome-session installed. If you do, there probably is a bug somewhere. You might wanna have a look at /var/log/apt/history.log to trace your package installation/removal history.

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  • Last night I did head banging and accidentally removed the gnome-session and gnome-shell itself, then reinstalled the gnome-session. Interestingly after reinstalling gnome-session I got everything I had set up in my Gnome except few shortcut keys I have set are not working. Now the 2nd part of the question, how do I install Gnome3 along with Gnome2.x (Its 2.3 in my case) – Kumar Apr 7 '11 at 1:50
  • Apparently. – tshepang Apr 7 '11 at 9:44

It is possible to keep several DM on one box. I have KDE3, Gnome2, KDE4 (and I use KDE3). In your Login Manager choose the type of DM you would like to use and that's it. I guess (!) Gnome3 should be just an option here -- so you don't have to remove it entirely.

I will try out Gnome3 too, but initially only in VirtualBox. Never install pure, fresh novelties on live system!

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  • I am paying the price, audio and themes are broken :( – Kumar Apr 7 '11 at 10:35

Try using apt-get purge whatever-gnome-package-I-installed You can find a list of all packages marked ii with dpkg -l 'gnome-*' After that, try apt-get autoremove --purge Then make sure you remove the experimental repo before reinstalling gnome.

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  • If you notice I did aptitude remove {package name} but it didnt helpme. I fear that will remove everything gnome and then I will be thrown at shell, which essentially means, am screwed :( but let me try that after my 400+MB of update on my 64KBPS line :( – Kumar Apr 6 '11 at 18:36
  • Yes, I noticed that. Main difference is that purge also removes any system configuration files left behind after a remove, and autoremove also removes packages that have not been explicitly requested, but where installed to satisfy dependencies and are no longer required. – penguin359 Apr 6 '11 at 19:43

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