Category Archives: gnome 3.8

How To Upgrade to GNOME 3.8 in Ubuntu 13.04

gnome-ubuntu-tileUbuntu 13.04 ships with an older version of the GNOME desktop in its archives. This is great for GNOME-fans wanting stability, less great for those wanting to try the latest release.

Thankfully the GNOME team make it easy to install/upgrade to GNOME 3.8 on Ubuntu 13.04 – and there are plenty of reasons why you might want to do that!

There are caveats aplenty – largely that some of the software is a little unstable – but chances are if you’re competent enough to upgrade your desktop you’re also okay to deal with whatever issues might arise.

How To Upgrade to GNOME 3.8 in Ubuntu 13.04

Add the GNOME 3 PPA

Before you skim-read any further make sure that you’re running Ubuntu 13.04. Y’know, the latest release. Better yet, run Ubuntu GNOME 13.04.

With that out-of-the-way, we’ll first add the GNOME 3 PPA to Ubuntu’s Software Sources. This can be done without using the command line but, for simplicity’s sake, it’s far easier to do so.

Open a new Terminal window and enter the following command carefully.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3

Upgrade or Install GNOME Shell

With the PPA added, you now need to do one of two steps depending on what you have installed.

If you don’t have GNOME Shell installed then run the following command in a new terminal, inputting your password where prompted:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install gnome-shell ubuntu-gnome-desktop

As the various packages are installed the following screen will appear, asking you to choose which display manager – “login screen” – Ubuntu should use:


Decisions, Decisions…

Both of these options will let you choose a session before logging on (so you can log in to Unity if you so wish). ‘lightdm’ is the Ubuntu default, but for a true GNOME experience, such as getting lock-screen notifications, you’ll want to opt for the GNOME Display Manager (known as GDM).

login screen display managers

LightDM and GDM side by side

If you do have GNOME Shell installed, or are using Ubuntu GNOME, run this command:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Optional Staging PPA for Extra Bits

If you feel super cautious you can also add the GNOME 3 Staging PPA. But – and it’s a big but that you must pay attention to – many components within it are unstable.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3-staging
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Reboot and Login

That’s it – you’re all done. The make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible you’ll want to reboot.

If you’re using the Unity’s default login screen click the Ubuntu logo in the user pod, choose the ‘GNOME’ session, then go ahead and login as normal.


Unity Greeter’s Session Selector

If you chose the GNOME display manager then choose ‘GNOME’ from the session drop-down before logging in.

If all has gone well you’ll now see something similar to this…


GNOME 3.8 Desktop in Ubuntu 13.04

A Few Differences

Some differences to note when using GNOME Shell alongside Unity.

Firstly, you’ll see two ‘online accounts’ entries in System Settings. The left-hand one is Ubuntu’s fork. The right-hand is the GNOME version.

For integration with certain GNOME apps, including Documents, Contacts & Evolution and Calendar you’ll want to add your accounts to the right-hand version. For Shotwell, Empathy & Gwibber support you’ll need to use the left-hand version.


System Settings

Also ‘new’ in System Settings are entries for ‘Notifications’ and ‘Search’. Both are self-explanatory; the former lets you pick which apps can send notifications, while the latter concerns which applications/sources show results in the Activities Overlay.

Uninstalling GNOME 3.8

To uninstall the GNOME Shell desktop we need to do a few things.

First installed PPA Purge from the Ubuntu Software Center

Install PPA Purge

Next open a new terminal window and run the following command:

sudo ppa-purge ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3

Pay attention to any prompts that appear in the terminal during downgrade. If you also added the GNOME 3 Staging PPA (see above) you will also need to run:

sudo ppa-purge ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3-staging

Next remove GNOME Shell by running:

sudo apt-get remove gnome-shell ubuntu-gnome-desktop

Clear up any remaining stray applications not removed by the downgrade and removal, then reboot.

How To Upgrade to GNOME 3.8 in Ubuntu 13.04 OMG! Ubuntu! – Everything Ubuntu. Daily.

Latest Release of GNOME Web Browser Available for Ubuntu 13.04 Users


Following on from its release last week, GNOME’s default web-browser is now available for users of Ubuntu 13.04 to install.

The aptly-titled Web, is a lightweight webkit browser built using GNOME technologies and designed specifically for the GNOME desktop.

Ubuntu GNOME 13.04 users can install the release from the GNOME PPAs, both of which also upgrade the stock GNOME 3.6 desktop to GNOME 3.8.

Why Web?

Despite being the default web-browser in GNOME few GNOME-using distributions actually ship with it by default. Ubuntu GNOME, Fedora and OpenSuSE instead provide Firefox to their users. That’s understandable: Firefox is a power-house of a name.

But just because Web is a less well known doesn’t mean that it’s less useful. In fact, it’s rather charming. The minimal gives less room to excessive options and more room to web-pages, and if you can live without add-ons, themes and extensions, you’ll find it can do just about anything other browsers can.

And that list of ‘can do’s’ grows a little longer in this latest release…

New in Web 3.8

But what’s new in Web 3.8 specifically? Quite a fair bit.

A private browsing mode has been added, letting you tip-toe around the web without leaving a trace.

To go ‘Incognito’ just click the Web app menu and select ‘New Incognito Window’.


Private Browsing in Web 3.8

Another user-experience tweak – and one many will be incredibly pleased to see arrive – is the arrival of a ‘New Tab’ button in the application toolbar. I sorely missed having this accessible in previous versions.

Adobe’s Flash plugin is now supported natively. Just install the Adobe Flash Plugin installer package from the Ubuntu Software Center and Web will do the rest.

Other changes in addition to those mentioned above:

  • ‘Page Search’ style now matches other GNOME apps
  • Improved HTML5 media controls 
  • ‘Undo Closed Tab’ action added to App Menu 

Install Web 3.8 in Ubuntu GNOME 13.04

In stock, freshly installed Ubuntu GNOME you can install the previous version of Web, version 3.6, straight from the Ubuntu Software Center.

But for this newer, more featured and more stable release you’ll need to add the following GNOME Team PPA. It’s important that you’re aware that adding this will also upgrade the rest of your desktop to GNOME 3.8.

First add the GNOME Team PPA using the Terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3; sudo apt-get update

Now hit the button below to install Web 3.8 through the Ubuntu Software Center

Click to Install Web in Ubuntu GNOME

Latest Release of GNOME Web Browser Available for Ubuntu 13.04 Users OMG! Ubuntu! – Everything Ubuntu. Daily.

GNOME 3.8 Released

GNOME 3.8, the latest version of the popular free desktop environment, has been released.

The fourth major update to the GNOME 3.x line, GNOME 3.8 brings many new features and functionality to its users, including enhanced applications and a focus on privacy.

Notable features:

  • New Settings Panes for Privacy & Notification
  • New ‘GNOME Classic’ mode
  • Revamped Search features in Activities Overview
  • New App Launching
  • Improved default apps
  • Two new ‘Preview’ Apps – Weather and Notes

We listed 10 of our favourite new features in this release earlier today – go check them out. 

For more information on the release be sure to check out the official release notes.

Better Search Results Feature in 3.8
GNOME Classic Mode in 3.8
2 New Apps - Weather and Notes

Getting GNOME 3.8 in Ubuntu

The bad news is that getting GNOME 3.8 in Ubuntu isn’t easy.

Ubuntu 13.04 ships with GNOME 3.6 by default, the same version as available in Ubuntu 12.10. The good news is that much of the desktop can be upgraded to version 3.8 by adding the additional GNOME PPAs.

But if you’re using a release prior to that it’s unlikely that GNOME 3.8 will be ported backwards.

Top 10 New Features in GNOME 3.8

The latest iteration of the popular GNOME desktop, version 3.8, sees release today – but what are notable changes and improvements should you be looking out for?

Here’s a list of our 10 favourite changes – in no specific order – new to this release.

10: App Launching Made Easier

Opening apps in GNOME Shell has always been easy to do, but tweaks to the Application Overlay in this latest release makes it even quicker still.

When viewing the Application Overlay you’ll now find two tabs at the bottom – ‘Frequent Apps’  and ‘All’.

‘Frequent’ groups your most used apps together in one page, meaning you don’t have to go search them out or remember to pin them to the launcher.

‘All’, meanwhile, shows all your installed apps, including new ‘groups’ of apps.


Frequently Used Apps Are Now Available More Frequently

9: New App Previews

3.8 brings two new application ‘previews’ to the desktop – a desktop weather app called ‘Weather’ (imagine that, eh!) and a new note-taking app called ‘Bijiben’.


Two New GNOME Apps Debut

8: Clocks App

‘Clocks’ is another new app on the GNOME desktop. Now stable and included as a default application in this latest release, Clocks allows you to add and preview world times, add alarms, and make use of a stopwatch and a timer.


Clocks – A New GNOME App

7: All The Tweaks

No run-down of notable new stuff would be complete without mention of the raft of minor but vital ‘papercut’ fixes that the GNOME team have been dutifully seeing to during this cycle.

Over 60 such bugs have been fixed, new animations introduced, and usability problems solved.

Gnome Interface Details

Subtle Updates That Make A Big Difference

6: Privacy Options

Privacy is a hot potato topic on the Linux desktop right now. Ubuntu has included a range of configurable Privacy settings in its last few releases, but it’s only with 3.8 that GNOME follows suit.

Options for adjusting what appears on the lock screen; what activity is tracked; and how long temporary files are kept around for can all be accessed behind the new Privacy tile in Settings.

Privacy Settings

Privacy Settings

5: Documents <3 Google

Editing Google Docs in GNOME Documents

Google Docs Can Now Be Edited Directly from Documents

‘Documents’, the default document management app on the GNOME desktop, gains a number of interace tweaks this release – as well as some seriously cool Google Docs/Drive integration.

Documents can now:

  • Open PDF files from Google Drive
  • Edit Google Docs from within the app itself
  • Share Documents via Google Docs

4: Web Changes

New Tab Button in Web Toolbar

At Last – A ‘New Tab’ button in Web

Web, the default web-browser in GNOME, also gets a boat-load of updates. Including:

  • ‘New Tab’ button added to toolbar
  • Private-browsing mode
  • Now Supports Adobe Flash
  • Improved page search interface
  • Undo tab close action

3: Improved Search

The Activities Overview has given its search results view a bit of an overhaul, with application-specific search results displayed.

Searching in GNOME

Search Your Contacts, Apps, Files, and Documents from the Activities Overlay

You can fine tune the results that appear by tweaking the option inthe ‘Search’ settings pane in Settings (formally known as ‘System Settings’)

Don’t want ‘Documents’ appearing? Turn it off. Want files and folders to appear first? Move them to the top.

Search Settings

Adjust Search Settings to Suit Your Workflow

2. Classic Mode

Miss the ‘panel up, panel down’ desktop layout of old? GNOME 3.8 has you covered with their new Classic mode.

The best thing about Classic mode is that it’s wholesome GNOME. It’s not a fork but built with GNOME 3 technologies – so you’re don’t lose out on any of GNOME’s great features. Everything from the App Menus and the Message Center to the GNOME Shell activities overlay are included and accessible.

Gnome's New Classic Mode

The New GNOME Classic Mode

1: Notifications

Accessing GNOME’s Messaging Tray is easier in this release thanks to the addition of two new keyboard shortcuts:

  • Super+M Opens and closes the message tray
  • Super+N Expands a notification when displayed

Furthermore, a new Notifications Settings pane allows you to choose which apps show notifications, what sort of notifications they show, and where. Handy stuff!


Viewing Notification Settings for Empathy