Ubuntu comes with its own shell callled unity and the rest of the distros comes with gnome 3 shell. You can read about my thoughts about unity and gnome 3 shell here.
If you want to test gnome shell, you can try the live cd of opensuse and fedora 15 which uses gnome shell by default. But what if you want to test it on your favorite distro called ubuntu..? Why I prefer ubuntu to try gnome shell?
I have used fedora live image but I was not able to connect to internet using my mobile. In ubuntu world, everything just works. I have tried gnome shell in ubuntu/ubuntu based distro using 3 different methods. And from my experience, I have found the best method to try gnome 3 shell in ubuntu. I am going to share with you the details here. First method: I was using Linux Mint 10 and when ubuntu 11. 04 released, I decided to switch to ubuntu instead of Linux Mint 11.
So before switching to ubuntu 11. 04, I want to make my Linux Mint as test bed for gnome shell. As no gnome 3 ppa is available for Ubuntu 10. 10 based distros(or either they have outdated version of gnome 3), I decided to build it from GIT using this method from webupd8. It works on both ubuntu 10. 10 as well as 11. 04. It will create a folder in your home directory and it will not overwrite your current gnome/unity settings.
If you have successfully installed it, you can launch it by running the command: ~/gnome-shell/source/gnome-shell/src/gnome-shell –replace But the problem is that this method is very time consuming and I was not able to fix all the errors which it throws at me. So I was not able to test gnome shell using this method. Sometimes you may be lucky so try it.
Second method: Note: The second and third methods will only work on ubuntu 11. 04. The second method is from askubuntu forum and I think it is the widely used method. It is just adding gnome 3 ppa to your natty and apt-get install gnome-shell.
Command line instructions to install gnome shell: sudo add-apt-repository ppa: gnome3-team/gnome3
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell
It works on natty but there is a problem. The newly installed gnome 3 shell uses different icons from the original Adwaita theme of gnome shell.
It did not really integrate with the whole desktop environment. And it looks ugly and provides an inconsistent experience to the gnome shell. There may be fixes for this but why worry as you have got the easiest, integrated and the best gnome shell experience by following the third method. Third method: This method gives you the best gnome 3 shell experience (read original) in your favorite distro called ubuntu.
This is the method I am using the gnome shell now in my natty. You can follow the instructions from the Ubuntu Gnome Remix project page to install gnome shell in ubuntu. This will not replace unity shell from your ubuntu, even though I have never tried unity after installing gnome shell in it. (I am having two ubuntu installs. One for unity which is my main desktop and other for testing gnome shell.
This one I have tried on the second ubuntu installation). The steps are simple. Install ubuntu natty. Install all the updates. Add the gnome team ppa and ubuntu gnome remix(ugr) ppas. And finally”sudo apt-get install ugr-desktop-g3″to install gnome shell. While logging in, select ubuntu gnome shell to login to gnome shell interface. See my ubuntu gnome shell desktop below:
It looks gorgeous. Isn’t it?