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How to Install Gnome on Debian 11/10 Easily

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Debian has always been known for its stability and this is the reason behind it being mostly used on servers. But if you are looking for getting the best Desktop Environment for Debian, you can go with GNOME without any doubt.

GNOME is bundled with tons of features and functionalities such as GNOME tweaks tool for customization of your desktop, GNOME software center & Synaptic for downloading Debian packages without any issues, and much more.

So we are going to discuss how you can install GNOME on Debian with multiple methods but before that let’s discuss some precautions before downloading GNOME on your Debian.

Things to Consider Before Installing GNOME as Second Desktop Environment

If you are going to install GNOME on Debian as your second Desktop Environment, there are some risks that we should discuss before moving forward to the installation part.

You are required to know how things do work on Linux as you might be required to perform some troubleshooting after installing multiple DE. Some of them are discussed below:

  1. Settings packages will get overlapped so you can only configure one Desktop Environment.
  2. You will end up getting multiple versions of similar applications such as multiple Terminal Emulators.
  3. You will have to spend some time tweaking your settings manager to work in multiple DEs.
  4. Many software shares the same configuration files so there are chances of crashes and things may go out of hand.

But there is a simple solution to overcome the majority of problems that we have discussed above and that is using different user account for different Desktop Environment. Once we have installed GNOME, we can still use Terminal for server purposes such as using VNC server and more.

But if you are someone who wants to work things out of the box without any tweaks and troubleshooting, you should avoid using multiple Desktop Environments.

Installing GNOME Desktop Environment

We are going to show you two different methods by which you can easily install GNOME on Debian. So let’s start the process with 1st method.

Method 1: Install GNOME Desktop Environment Using Tasksel

Tasksel is an in-build tool available on all the Debian and Ubuntu systems. Tasksel has all the packages that are essential for downloading and running Desktop Environment successfully.

The reason why Tasksel has preferred the first choice for installing Desktop Environment is it automates the whole process of downloading and installing Desktop Environment and its essential utilities which you might require to install manually.

How to Change Debian Desktop Environment

Step 1: Download Tasksel

As we previously discussed, Tasksel is pre-installed on every Debian and Ubuntu-based Linux distribution. You can check whether Tasksel has been installed on your system or not by the following command:

apt-cache policy tasksel

1. apt-cache policy tasksel

if it shows you similar output as the given image, you have Tasksel already installed on your system. If it throws any errors, you can install it by the following command:

sudo apt install tasksel

2. sudo apt install tasksel

Step 2: Install GNOME on Debian

Once we are done with the installation or cross-checking of Tasksel, we can now forward to the installation part. Open your Terminal and use the following command to start Tasksel:

sudo tasksel

3. sudo tasksel

Enter your password, and it will open the following screen:

4. software selection

From here you have to make sure of two things:

  1. The first option “Debian desktop environment” must be selected
  2. If you are using a Laptop, you have to select the last option too.

To move from the option of one Desktop Environment to another, use arrow keys. Once you are reached to option of GNOME, use the space bar to select and unselect options.

If you want to quit Tasksel, use the tab key twice and it will highlight the cancel option. Hit Enter and you will be quit from Tasksel.

Once you are done with the selection of GNOME and other options such as Laptop, Hit Enter, and it will start the installation process.

Note: You might get an option to select display manager. In that case, you choose gdm because it is the official display manager for GNOME and if you don’t get an option to choose gdm, you can select lightdm as it also works great on GNOME.

If you don’t see a similar prompt, don’t panic. It simply means that our installation process has gone with gdm as the default display manager. Once your download will be completed, Tasksel will automatically be closed. Now reboot your device.

Step 3: Using GNOME Desktop Environment

After rebooting your device, you have to select GNOME Desktop from the Desktop selection menu.

Once you select GNOME from options, log in to use Debian and you will see GNOME installed on your Debian system.

6. Select GNOME from options

Method 2: Installing GNOME Using Package Manager

In this method, we are going to use Apt which is the official package manager of Debian. As all the GNOME packages are available on the default Debian repository, we can install it easily by given command:

sudo apt install gnome/stable

7. sudo apt install gnome

When installation will be completed, you will not get any messages and a new line at Terminal will appear. This is the sign of installation is done and we should reboot our system. And now you can use GNOME on Debian.

Frequently asked questions related to GNOME installation

Can I install GNOME on Debian?

Yes, you can easily install GNOME Desktop Environment as it is an officially supported Desktop Environment of Debian. You can select GNOME while installing as it gives you options to choose your preferred Desktop Environment. 

What is GNOME in Debian?

GNOME is Desktop Environment that facilitates its users to interact with the system without using Terminal.


As GNOME is the most famous Desktop Environment for Linux because of its customization and modern look, and this is the reason why we came up with a guide on how you can install GNOME on Debian and improve your workflow and productivity. For more Linux guides come back to GeniusGeeks and see what we’ve got for you!



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Sagar Sharma
Sagar Sharma

Sagar always uses Linux to its core and loves to write the technical side of system administration! While he's not writing for GeniusGeeks, you can find him writing for core linux blogs like IT'SFOSS.com and LinuxHandBook.com

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