How to install GNOME 3.20 on Ubuntu 16.04

install graphical environment ubuntu GNOME 3.20

Last Thursday, April 21, Ubuntu and all its official flavors were officially launched. As you all know, the standard version of Ubuntu uses the Canonical Unity graphical environment. Although I cannot say that I dislike it too much, I can understand all those who prefer another graphical environment, something that, in fact, is also my case, my preference being Ubuntu MATE. Although the general graphical environment is called Unity, Ubuntu uses many applications with the GNOME user interface and in this article we will teach you how to install GNOME 3.20 on Ubuntu 16.04.

Ubuntu 16.04 uses GNOME 3.18 for the most part: GTK 3.18 alongside GNOME Shell 3.18, GM 3.18 and GNOME 3.18.x for most applications. Some of the exceptions are the Nautilus window manager that GNOME 3.14 uses and the Software Center and GNOME Calendar already using GNOME 3.20.x. If you want to update as much as possible to the latest version, you just have to keep reading.

Install GNOME 3.20 on Ubuntu 16.04

In order to install GNOME 3.20 you need to use the GNOME 3 repository. Keep in mind that this repository does not have everything up to date yet, but applications such as Cheese, Epiphany, Evince, Discos and some more are. Nautilus, Gedit, Maps, System Monitor, Terminal, GTK +, Control Center, GNOME Shell and GDM are all updated to version 3.20.

To install GNOME 3.20 you have to do the following:

  1. We open a terminal and write the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3-staging
sudo apt update
sudo apt dist-upgrade
  1. Before confirming, you have to check that the packages you are going to remove there are none on which we depend.
  2. Although you can enter a new graphical environment by logging out and choosing the new one from the login screen, it is best to restart and then choose the new environment.

How to go back to GNOME 3.18

If we do not like what we see or there is something that is not executed correctly, always we can go back. To do this, we will open a terminal and write the following command:

sudo apt install ppa-purge && sudo ppa-purge ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3-staging

Keep in mind what we have said before: we can go back to GNOME 3.18, but Packages that we removed (if any) when installing GNOME 3.20 will not be reinstalled. Those packages will have to be reinstalled manually.
Have you managed to install the GNOME 3.20 graphical environment on Ubuntu? What do you think?


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  1.   Alberto said

    How can I reverse this update?

  2.   Felipe said

    How can I make the gnome work for me? apply command lines but gnome is not applied

    1.    Fr3d0 (@fredorogo) said

      just restart and before logging in next to your username is the unity symbol, click there and choose gnome, put your password and voila you will be in a gnome environment

  3.   Douglas roos said

    In my case, I was updating from 14.04 and when installing Gnome 3.20, the Unity icon did not appear next to the username, so I had to do the following:

    sudo apt-get install gdm

    When the configuration screen appears select lightdm and after configuring restart. This will show the Unity and Gnome logo on the login screen.

  4.   Leon S. said

    I really did not find this version of the environment attractive.

  5.   French G said

    I have executed the commands and after that, it made me choose between lightdm and gdm, of which I selected the second, then I left the desktop background and some other visual things of unity, such as the button borders, the color to which the buttons change when etc. are selected. and when restarting it stays on the purple screen with the ubuntu logo and the orange dots below and there it does not happen

  6.   José María said

    I installed it and when I entered lightdm (it gave me no other option) if I tried to choose another option that was not the default it would crash and after a while the screen would be purple.
    If I entered the default option, the same thing happened to Francisco G. The desktop background went away, he changed the fonts and the windows were missing many functions, besides that he set the icons to 150%, so as I was not convinced by anything of anything I went back to version 3.18.5 that I had until that moment

  7.   Jonathan Fuentes said

    Good friends, the same thing happens to me as Francisco G and well, I really don't like unity and I prefer the gnome environment, could you help me solve that problem?

  8.   Armando said

    I tried to install gnome but when I restart the screen it goes black and it does not happen. completely black, without requiring a password or anything. totally black

  9.   saul said

    The same thing happened to me that everyone else… puuufff all the unity configuration was lost.

  10.   Luis said

    How do I execute various commands?

  11.   Marxxx said

    If you like GNOME - as is my case - use Ubuntu GNOME. It is the official version (or flavor) of ubuntu that brings GNOME as the default desktop .. Greetings

  12.   walter said

    I think something is wrong with this guide, it doesn't appear and I can't find it. Deisntale him to look elsewhere. Thanks so we learn

  13.   Fabian said

    very bad .. this does not work .. I misconfigure all giant icons, it does not show the separations of the menu options, or fart so we learn @Pablo Aparicio dedicate yourself to something else you do not make it a blogger.

  14.   PierreHenri said

    Catastrophe!
    I have installed it and I cannot choose the gnome environment. When click crashes and I have to boot into unity again.
    And now how to uninstall this m… e

  15.   Samuel Lopez Lopez said

    To undo the changes:

    sudo apt install ppa-purge && sudo ppa-purge ppa: gnome3-team / gnome3-staging

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get upgrade

    or after the first command line go to the update manager and update

  16.   Fran said

    Apply the command lines, reboot the machine several times and I don't get the unity sign to switch to GNOME.
    What happened was that the desktop and browser icons appear larger.
    How do I make them smaller?

  17.   Leonardo said

    it didn't help me ... but thanks

  18.   Maximum said

    This does not work.