Today I wanted to try gnome 3 as the desktop environment. So I removed openbox completely and installed gnome 3 and run dpkg-reconfigure after. I also had dwm installed, which I left as is.

sudo apt-get install gdm3
sudo dpkg-reconfigure gdm3

So when I logged out, I had the gnome login screen. So far so good.

The problem is that the session switcher doesn't show gnome shell or gnome session in the items. I see

  • System X11 default
  • Default Xsession
  • WM from xsession script

All of these items take me into a dwm session. The third option is coming from user-session.desktop I created

[Desktop Entry]
Name=WM from xsession script
Comment=Runs the window manager defined by xsession script

and the ~/.xsession contains:

# xfce4-power-manager stuff

#xsetroot stuff

exec dwm 

When I run the update-alternatives, I don't see gnome.

$ sudo update-alternatives --config x-window-manager 
There is only one alternative in link group x-window-manager (providing /usr/bin/x-window-manager): /usr/bin/mutter
Nothing to configure.
$ sudo update-alternatives --config x-session-manager 
There is only one alternative in link group x-session-manager (providing /usr/bin/x-session-manager): /usr/bin/lxsession
Nothing to configure.

How can I make gnome 3 as my default desktop environment and make sure gnome 3 comes up in the session switcher?


You need to install more packages than only gdm3, gdm3 is just the login manager.

To have a very minimal Gnome desktop environment, you need to install the following packages (maybe some are already installed in your system):

sudo apt-get install -y ca-certificates libgl1-mesa-dri x11-xserver-utils \
fonts-cantarell gdm3 gnome-session gnome-shell gnome-themes-standard \ 
gvfs-backends gvfs-fuse mousetweaks network-manager-gnome pulseaudio \ 
sound-theme-freedesktop xdg-user-dirs
  • Only gnome-session wasn't installed. The main one. :) After a reboot, I found it in the session switcher. Thank you. – Animesh Aug 29 '17 at 0:13

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