How to install Gnome on Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver Linux


The objective is to install gnome on Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver Linux. See also our article: The 8 Best Ubuntu Desktop Environments (18.04 Bionic Beaver Linux) for more desktop environment choices.

Operating System and Software Versions

  • Operating System: – Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver
  • Software: – GNOME Shell 3.27 or higher


Privileged access to your Ubuntu System as root or via sudo command is required.


  • # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
  • $ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Other Versions of this Tutorial

Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa)


Gnome Vanilla Installation on Ubuntu

Gnome vanilla installation on Ubuntu 18.04 will leave you with a basic Gnome shell features and minimal pre-installed applications.

To perform a vanilla installation of Gnome desktop execute the following linux command:

sudo apt install gnome-session gdm3
Gnome Vanilla - Ubuntu 18.04

Gnome Vanilla – Ubuntu 18.04

Minimal application installation.

Minimal application installation.

Full Gnome Desktop Installation on Ubuntu

In order to install the full Ubuntu Gnome desktop use the tasksel command. In case the tasksel command is not available on your system you can install it by:

$ sudo apt install tasksel

Once the tasksel command is installed, begin the Gnome desktop installation by executing:

$ sudo tasksel install ubuntu-desktop
Full Gnome Desktop - Ubuntu 18.04

Full Gnome Desktop – Ubuntu 18.04

Gnome Desktop Application Menu - Ubuntu 18.04

Gnome Desktop Application Menu – Ubuntu 18.04

Login to Gnome session

To start Gnome session on a system without a current graphical user interface (GUI), login to your console and execute:

$ sudo service gdm3 start

Otherwise, log out from your current GUI session and select GNOME session as your default desktop manager. Alternatively reboot your system if necessary.

gdm3 login screen - Ubuntu 18.04

Select GNOME as a default desktop manager for your next session.