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How to try GNOME OS ..yes GNOME OS ;)

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A while ago I had made that post “Welcome the 50GB RAM 32Cores GNOME OSTree Server“, which is basically a server that creates boot-able daily images of GNOME Desktop. Since then I forgot to give some info how you can try them.

At this point -just to make clear- this is not about a GNOME Distro but about a testing platform. There isn’t an upgrade tool (like yum or apt-get) and is strongly recommended to do not use sensitive data (as SSH private keys) in this installation, as there aren’t any security updates.

GNOME OS in Virtual Box

Running GNOME OS in Virtual Box just contains a small trick. By the way you can’t run this in Boxes yet. I assume you already know  how to install and use Virtual Box.

1) Get some info

Before you proceed you might want to check on these links:

2) Download the Qcow2 Image

Not really necessary, but lets download the GNOME Image ;)

You need the current one

The size is around 2.5GB and that sucks a bit if you have a slow connection. The build server is at:

But there isn’t a direct link (or I didn’t see it) how to get the images from there.

3) Convert the Qcow2 to VDI

That is the tricky part. For some reason (which I don’t know) the Virtual Box cannot boot the Qcow2 Image (although it supports it) so we are going to convert it to VDI with “qemu-img” program.

If the image is called “gnome.qcow2”:

$ qemu-img convert -O vdi gnome.qcow2 gnome.vdi

That took around 5-6 minutes in my Ivy Bridge and if you run an older hardware it will probably takes much more time.

4) Create the Virtual Machine .

Open Virtual Box and create a new Virtual Machine as usual, but at this point we will use the existing virtual hard drive option.


Choose your VDI file (gnome.vdi).

5) Boot!

You’re done, just start your machine!


That is wrong! GNOME should had started the Initial Setup, but instead we have a login screen without having a user. My image is 5-6 days old and this might has been fixed. If you have the same issue go to console (Left Control+F1) and create a user.

Login with “root”. It will ask you no password.
Create a user (ie alex)

# adduser alex

Set a password

# passwd alex

Then you can login to GNOME and Inital Setup (not so initial in this case!)


Where my GNOME Apps are?

If you will try GNOME OS you will notice that only just a few Apps are available.


That is because GNOME originally wanted to distribute apps in downloadable bundles but that never went forward though, so they just added some. OS Tree is about testing the OS, for the apps you can use JHBuild just fine.

GNOME New Background

GNOME OS at the moment features GNOME 3.92 on a Linux 3.6 and a new background.


This is for Adwaita Theme 3.10 and it changes through the day. If you are early -wallpaper- adapters (!?) you can get all the three variations from GNOME Git.

Fedora Loading Bar ?!?

GNOME OS Loading.. People who are familiar with Fedora know exactly what this is ;)


However GNOME OS has nothing to do with Fedora. It just happened ;)

GNOME Top Three + 1

I was thinking what are the best things are happening in GNOME in this year, and GNOME Live images is certainly one of them.

1) Port GNOME to Wayland

Apart of the performance boost and gesture / touch screen capabilities that Wayland will bring to GNOME, it will come to solve all these bugs  (and probably introduce several new ones) that you will find in GNOME Bugzilla (bug #xxxxxxxx X Issue, we can’t do anything about!)

2) JavaScript as GNOME Dev Platform

I would place this is No1, but things seems to go quite slow here. The coolness of the decision hasn’t to do so much with the language itself, but with the documentation and the GNOME API which are in progress…..

3) OS Tree

There are many advantages of OS Tree + JHBuild except the debugging. It will certainly enable people to create new Distros and new package managers. But most importantly you can now actually try GNOME!


GNOME prevails ;)

The image is from the protests in Turkey. When people go against governments is always for a good reason.  Although people are kinda responsible for their governments..

3+1) Endless

Endless GNOME.. Good luck to Emmanuele and Cosimo and to the other guys there!

PS: Guy Fawkes mask (known mostly from V for Vendetta -and “England Prevails” quote) symbolize that things are changing (in GNOME), and it isn’t a political message or anything. However the image is from Turkey.

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  • sramkrishna

    This is a great article. Thank you for writing it!

  • Mohan

    So is Gnome OS based on Fedora?

    • alex285

      No is based on OS Tree:” OSTree is a tool for managing bootable, immutable, versioned filesystem trees. While it takes over some of the roles of tradtional “package managers” like dpkg and rpm, it is not a package system; nor is it a tool for managing full disk images. Instead, it sits between those levels, offering a blend of the advantages (and disadvantages) of both.”

      • Carlos Soriano Sánchez

        I don’t know how much I am not correct, but I ask the same thing to a developer some time ago, and yes, it is fedora based, since gnome need a core(linux kernel, some basic management, grub, etc) to run on top of that. So yes, afaik, the loading bar is from fedora.
        EDIT: I meant, the live image you download to test it compiled with OSTree, not the gnome OS instance.

  • serdotlinecho

    Oh, GNOME OS, this is great…but then at the bottom, closing with picture of idiot and crazy Kemal Atarturk followers.

    • alex285

      Once everyone was a tabula rasa- baby. Society makes you what you become. But it is encouraging for the world when people fight for what they believe (as long as they respect democracy) -even if they are wrong.

      Still this hasn’t nothing to do with politics in Turkey. Is just an image -at least here.

      • Jason

        I’m always surprised to find people complaining about protests on FreeSoftware boards. They’ve got a weak understanding of the issues underpinning FS. Sad really.

  • Michael Heyns

    But can it play full screen flash videos?

    • alex285

      No you cannot -in theory- install software (at least not in these images). This is a platform for testing daily builds of GNOME from Git, since you can’t doit with JHBuild (ie GDM)

  • kress95

    Great wallpaper :D

  • Juan Jesús García López

    this is not fedora loading bar, that is part of plymouth

    • alex285

      Thanks for this info!

  • Nilson Lana Machado Pimentel

    Não funfou, fiz várias vezes tudo.!