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Ubuntu Gnome beta is out ..and is ready for (ab)use!

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Switch from Ubuntu to Ubuntu Gnome?

If you like and use Gnome Shell, then yes, is a good  idea to switch to Ubuntu Gnome Remix. Actually UGR is nothing but an Ubuntu with Gnome Shell and GDM, without Unity and with kinda a different set of applications pre-installed. You can easily make UGR identical to Ubuntu and the other way around -at least in this version (12.10).

In my personal opinion, the reason to switch (other than you have a ready Gnome and you don’t need to install Shell, GDM and set GDM as default) is that UGR is a community project, with future plans to be under Canonical’s support in 13.04 -but it will still remain a community driven distro.

Is it ready for use?

The short answer is NO, as the stable version comes out in October 18. However for me is working perfectly so I won’t hesitate to recommend it as your main box. Before, don’t forget to check out for the known issues of Ubuntu Beta 2.

How does it feel?

Some distros might be more advanced, faster and more updated (in core system). The huge win of Ubuntu over them is the Ubuntu PPAs and the stability. You can get everything from PPAs, the latest kernels, drivers, applications you have to try really hard to break your system. Even if you do, with some knowledge of “apt-get” you can revert it back.

Gnome and Ubuntu also seems to work pretty well together. It is not that good as a Fedora/Gnome combination, but Jesus, I can’t wait for “yum” anymore :)

Expand it

At least for 12.10 version you will need some extra PPAs, in order to get all the Gnome features. These are Gnome Testing, Gnome 3 Team and you might want to add the more unstable Staging. In any case you should read the notes of each PPA before you add it.

I made a video, kinda a promoting (or a detraction?) for UGR but I use things that are not installed by default like Ubuntu Software Center, Documents, Boxes and Gnome Control Panel 3.6. In UGR you can install anything as a normal Ubuntu.

The default set of application: 

What’s Included

  • The Ubuntu GNOME Remix ships with the GNOME 3.6 release candidate. GNOME 3.6.0 will be updated right after the Beta release.
  • GNOME Shell 3.6 and GDM 3.6. Among other improvements, the login and lock screen have been redesigned.
  • Web (epiphany-browser).
  • Abiword for word processing and Gnumeric for spreadsheets.
  • Evolution as email client.
  • Software (gnome-package-kit), which also includes its own update manager. You can install updates by opening Software and clicking Check for Updates in the Software app menu.
  • GNOME Classic (gnome-panel 3) is included but GNOME Shell is the default session if your hardware supports it.
  • Tweak Tool and dconf Editor are provided for customizing advanced settings.
  • Cheese is a fun webcam app.
  • Gwibber allows you to easily connect via social media.
  • The complete GNOME Games collection.
  • Rhythmbox is the default music player.
  • Shotwell is the default photo manager.
  • Useful utilities like Simple Scan and Transmission.


What’s Not Included

  • Some GNOME apps will not be upgraded to 3.6 for the 12.10 release. If you want these, try the GNOME3 PPA. Affected apps include Aisleriot, Nautilus, System Settings, and Totem.
  • Web does not support Flash in Ubuntu 12.10 (1001229). If you need Flash, try Firefox or Chromium.
  • Boxes is not included as it wasn’t working earlier in the release cycle (1038763) . Also, qemu-linaro (qemu-kvm-spice) doesn’t built on i386 in Ubuntu. qemu-kvm with spice support does build in Debian though on i386. (928432)
  • Documents is not included as it currently depends on LibreOffice, at least as packaged in Debian & Ubuntu.
  • LibreOffice is a more powerful office suite.
  • Ubuntu One is not included by default as it doesn’t feel like a GNOME app.
  • If you want the GNOME Classic with-effects session to work, install compiz.
  • If you want Ubuntu-style notifications in GNOME Classic, install notify-osd.

Don’t hesitate, get it now!

That goes to Ubuntu users, don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting you to change your distro!

Learn more and download it from:

Congratulations to Ubuntu Gnome Team!

*Aw, by the way, Ubuntu 12.10 Beta 2 also is out :)

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  • Martín Cigorraga

    Good work although the default look and feel of GNOME/Shell is totally awful, they should consider give a try to Linux Mint 12 – that’s the only GNOME/Shell-centric distribution I’ve seen so far that’s totally gorgeous, once you remove the bottom bar and tailor the system to your needs (Linux Mint forums have a great thread called Tips & Tricks to help you achieve that) Linux Mint 12 impementation of GNOME/Shell is plain awesome.

    • Jeremy Bicha

      “Beautiful” is a bit subjective.

      There already is a Ubuntu derivative that ships Cinnamon by default; it’s called Linux Mint.

      • Marcos V.F.

        Jeremy, the final version of Ubuntu Gnome Remix comes with adwaita theme and gnome icons by default? will have some visual treatment?

        • Jeremy Bicha

          The goal of the Ubuntu GNOME Remix is to ship a mostly pure GNOME experience (so we will use the GNOME theme), but people are free to use it as a base for a more custom experience (like PinguyOS).

          • Marcos V.F.

            I understand, Jeremy. Just think for the end user, an icon theme prettier and more polished gtk theme can be favorable. Thanks for the quick reply.

          • Jeremy Bicha

            If you can make the theme more polished, why not do that for everyone using GNOME and not just one distro?

            One of the major reasons I’m working on this project is to encourage others to contribute to GNOME while using Ubuntu.

          • Marcos V.F.

            I think for this to happen – people contribute more with Gnome using Ubuntu – a a polished theme way for.
            We have many distros with Gnome Shell, but unfortunately no major distro then decided to leave it outofbox, ie: a theme and icons nicer.

            I know to install new themes, however, some end users do not. The community has a variety of themes quite attractive: greybird, greyday, Zukitwo (probably the most famous) and so on.

            I understand that the ultimate goal is to provide a complete experience Gnome. However, I think that changing icons and themes that would not compromise, since most users will want to do that anyway – people do not like the default theme of XFCE, Gnome and others.

            But anyway, it’s just an opinion. Thanks for your great work!

    • alex285

      I am not trying to keep the balances but all desktops (KDE, Gnome, Unity, Cinnamon) are really great on the latest releases. The point it to make them visible to people, so they can choose according to their personal preferences.

      Default Gnome? Well, a default Chrome is nothing more than Web. Gnome is proud to have the largest extensions “store”, and extensions can complete change the look and feel ..and usability!

  • Stinger

    Hey Alex, great review and promotion video, thanks.
    Where did you get the Gnome Boxes from ?

    • alex285

      Boxes is on Quantal Universe repos :)
      I thought it was in Ricotz but I run “apt-cache policy gnome-boxes”

  • Andy

    Love it!

  • Arron Washington

    I guess I don’t understand the point of shipping a Gnome 3 distribution if you’re not going to ship key Gnome 3 applications as well (Files, Documents in this case).

    It seems like the perfect solution is to just use the Gnome 3 Team PPA — otherwise, what’s the difference between using the Gnome 3 spin and just installing Gnome 3 from the Ubuntu Software Center?

    • alex285

      UGR for this release wants to include only the official Canonical repos. Things will change in 13.04 and UGR will be as much as Gnomish is possible. If you install Gnome from USC you will need some extra work, like setting up GDM as default, remove the Ubuntu scroll bars ..and maybe some more things.

  • Dumindu

    Waiting for the 1st beta of Gnome OS. Until it releases I’ll use OpenSuse.

    • alex285

      As far as I know there isn’t any plan for a Gnome OS release. Gnome OS, is just a “platform” to test Gnome Software on it. There is just a proposal for Gnome OS, but nothing more. But you can try Fedora which is basically the Gnome OS :)

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  • Maciej Rachuba

    Hmmm… I find some performance regression in comparison to Ubuntu 12.04 (with Gnome Shell). Windows movement is a little laggy, just like in that unholy mess (performance) Compiz/Unity. Same goes to Shell overview, there is a stutter with occassional lag. I got latest nvidia-current from Ubuntu repos, working properly in all opengl apps. Any ideas?

    • billtoulas

      Are you sure you are using proprietary drivers on both?

    • alex285

      Can you please file a bug?

  • wifi

    I prefer Unity because of nm-applet. I often have to configure wifi network and doing it with GS is terrible.

    • alex285

      You haven’t try 3.6, have you?

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