Install Debian testing with GNOME3

GNOME 3 has entered Debian unstable, the information below is outdated, it is now installable by adding the unstable repositories and installing gnome-session.

GNOME 3 is not yet available in Debian stable or testing (as of September 2011), to install it you will need packages from the unstable and experimental repositories.

This howto will describe a clean install with GNOME 3, if you already have a working Debian installation, you can just try to upgrade that one and skip the first part.

Fist you will need the Debian testing netinstall CD:

http://www.debian.org/devel/debian-installer/

In order to upgrade to the GNOME 3 packages I recommend to install the “old” GNOME 2.6 packages first. For a GNOME 3 install that is as clean as possible, select only the base system in the Debian installer and install the gnome-core package manually.

To do this you will need to disable the “Debian desktop environment” at theĀ  “Software Selection ” screen.

After the install is finished you will need to install the X server and the basic GNOME 2.6 packages:

apt-get install xorg xserver-xorg-core gnome-core gdm3

Now that you have a working Debian testing system with GNOME 2.6, it is time to upgrade it to a mixed system with GNOME 3.

First you have to add the Debian unstable and experimental repositories to your /etc/apt/sources.list file:

nano /etc/apt/sources.list

It should contain the following lines:


deb http://ftp.nl.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main contrib non-free

deb-src http://ftp.nl.debian.org/debian/ wheezy main contrib non-free

deb http://ftp.nl.debian.org/debian/ unstable main contrib non-free

deb-src http://ftp.nl.debian.org/debian/ unstable main contrib non-free

deb http://ftp.nl.debian.org/debian/ experimental main contrib non-free

deb-src http://ftp.nl.debian.org/debian/ experimental main contrib non-free

deb http://security.debian.org/ wheezy/updates main

deb-src http://security.debian.org/ wheezy/updates main

Note: These are the Dutch mirrors, for mirrors closer to your location see: http://www.debian.org/mirror/list

To tell APT to install mostly packages from the testing repository (if you don’t do this it will upgrade all packages, this can lead to an unstable system):

nano /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/local

Then insert the following line:

APT::Default-Release "testing";

Now you will have to tell APT to install the GNOME packages from the unstable and experimental repositories:

nano /etc/apt/preferences.d/gnome

Add the following lines:


Package: *gnome* libglib2.0* *vte* *pulse* *peas* libgtk* *gjs* *gconf* *gstreamer* alacarte *brasero* cheese ekiga empathy* gdm3 gcalctool baobab *gucharmap* gvfs* hamster-applet *nautilus* seahorse* sound-juicer *totem* remmina vino gksu xdg-user-dirs-gtk dmz-cursor-theme eog epiphany* evince* *evolution* file-roller gedit* metacity *mutter* yelp* rhythmbox* banshee* system-config-printer transmission-* tomboy network-manager* libnm-* update-notifier shotwell liferea *software-properties* libunique-3.0-0 libseed-gtk3-0 libnotify* libpanel-applet-4-0 libgdata11 libcamel* libcanberra* libchamplain* libebackend* libebook* libecal* libedata* libegroupwise* libevent* gir1.2-* libxklavier16 python-gmenu libgdict-1.0-6 libgdu-gtk0

Pin: release experimental

Pin-Priority: 990

Package: *gnome* libglib2.0* *vte* *pulse* *peas* libgtk* *gjs* *gconf* *gstreamer* alacarte *brasero* cheese ekiga empathy* gdm3 gcalctool baobab *gucharmap* gvfs* hamster-applet *nautilus* seahorse* sound-juicer *totem* remmina vino gksu xdg-user-dirs-gtk dmz-cursor-theme eog epiphany* evince* *evolution* file-roller gedit* metacity *mutter* yelp* rhythmbox* banshee* system-config-printer transmission-* tomboy network-manager* libnm-* update-notifier shotwell liferea *software-properties* libunique-3.0-0 libseed-gtk3-0 libnotify* libpanel-applet-4-0 libgdata11 libcamel* libcanberra* libchamplain* libebackend* libebook* libecal* libedata* libegroupwise* libevent* gir1.2-* libxklavier16 python-gmenu libgdict-1.0-6 libgdu-gtk0

Pin: release unstable

Pin-Priority: 990

Package: *

Pin: release experimental

Pin-Priority: 150

More information about APT pinning: http://wiki.debian.org/AptPreferences#Pinning

Now you have to update the package lists:

apt-get update

And finally upgrade the GNOME packages:

apt-get dist-upgrade

If everything goes well, you will have a shiny new GNOME 3 desktop.

Note: I have borrowed the APT pinning list from this site.

2 Comments

mcardielo on October 14, 2011 at 02:16.

I’m trying to install debian with gnome3 in a virtual machine, but i have a doubt, the path for gnome file in /etc/preferences.d is correct? isn’t /etc/apt/preferences.d/gnome?

admin on October 14, 2011 at 08:33.

You are right, thank you for reporting this. It has been fixed.