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Install GNOME 3 (With Mint GNOME Shell Extensions) Or Mate On Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot)

This tutorial shows you how you can install the GNOME 3 desktop on Ubuntu 11.10 with the shell extensions that are used in the Linux Mint 12 release (Lisa) (these shell extensions are called Mint GNOME Shell Extensions – mgse). These shell extensions give GNOME 3 the look and feel of GNOME 2. For those who prefer GNOME 2 this tutorial shows how to install Mate from the Linux Mint repositories on Ubuntu 11.10. Mate is a GNOME 2 fork.

This document comes without warranty of any kind! I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

I have tried this on a desktop computer with an NVIDIA GeForce 8200. It should work the same way with all other NVIDIA graphics cards capable of 3D acceleration.


2 Add Gnome Repository

To download the GNOME 3 package you first need to add the appropriate repository and update the software list. For that, open a terminal and enter following:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/gnome3

sudo apt-get update


3 Install Gnome 3

To install the needed packages, enter following into the terminal:

sudo apt-get install mgse-bottompanel mgse-menu mgse-windowlist gnome-shell-classic-systray gnome-tweak-tool

After the installation, log out of your current session and click on the cog-wheel icon on the log-in screen to find the desktop options:


Choose GNOME here to start with the full Gnome 3 desktop. This is what you desktop will look like afterwards:



To enable all the installed features, you first have to configure them with the Gnome Tweak Tool. Search for it in the Activities screen and click on Advanced Settings:


Select Shell Extensions from the left panel and activate the features you want to have:


4 Mate – Add Mint Main Repository

To install Mate, you first need to add the Linux Mint repository to your sources. To do that open your sources.list file by entering following:

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

At the end of the file, add the following line:

deb lisa main upstream import

Save the file and close it afterwards. Before you import the key, update the package list:

sudo apt-get update

Then import the Mint keyring…

sudo apt-get install linuxmint-keyring

… and update the package list once again:

sudo apt-get update


5 Install Mate

To finally install Mate, enter:

sudo apt-get install mint-meta-mate

After the installation has finished, log out of your current session and click on the cog-wheel icon of the log-in screen. Select MATE to start with the Mate desktop:


You will notice that with Mate, all the Mint theme-bound items were installed on your system:


However this can be changed easily. Go to System > Preferences > Appearance:


On the Theme tab, select the Ambiance theme, which is the one Ubuntu 11.10 uses by default (don’t be confused by the displayed error message, everything will work as it’s supposed to):


To change the wallpaper back to normal, select the Background tab and choose the one you like most. The default Ubuntu 11.10 wallpaper is also available on the list:


  • Linux Mint:
  • Ubuntu:
  • Gnome:
  • Mate: