GNOME 41 introduces many changes from visual changes, new apps, and overhaul back-end changes to improve performance. Overall, it is a solid upgrade from GNOME 40 with introductions of a new remote desktop client called Connections, new mobile settings, improved multi-tasking, improved UI, and back-end performance, amongst many other additions.
In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install the new GNOME 41 on your Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa desktop using a PPA by Taha Nouibat.
Table of Contents
The tutorial is designed to upgrade your Ubuntu system to the latest GNOME 41 using an untrusted PPA. The PPA installed is well known and is genuinely safe from anything malicious. However, this isn’t to say it’s safe to use without the possibility of unstable updates breaking your system.
Be prepared and have backups when installing and updating any future packages relating to GNOME 41 from this PPA or any alternative installation method you may choose.
WARNING – THIS PPA ONLY WORKS FOR LTS VERSIONS OF UBUNTU. ONLY UBUNTU 20.04 LTS FOCAL FOSSA IS SUPPORTED AND WILL NOT WORK ON ANY OTHER UBUNTU EDITION.
- Recommended OS: Ubuntu 20.04.
- User account: A user account with sudo or root access.
The tutorial will utilize the terminal interface, which can be found in the show applications menu.
Update Operating System
Update your Ubuntu operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y
The tutorial will be using the sudo command and assuming you have sudo status.
To verify sudo status on your account:
Example output showing sudo status:
[joshua@ubuntu ~]$ sudo whoami root
To set up an existing or new sudo account, visit our tutorial on How to Add a User to Sudoers on Ubuntu.
To use the root account, use the following command with the root password to log in.
To successfully install GNOME 41, run the following command to make sure the following packages are installed.
sudo apt install software-properties-common -y
Import Required PPA’S for GNOME 41
First, install the “x11” repository to fix gnome-shell dependencies.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:devacom/x11 -y
Secondly, install the GNOME 40 PPA, which is needed for some required dependencies.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:devacom/gnome-40 -y
Thirdly, install GNOME 41 PPA for the final packages.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:devacom/gnome-41 -y
Note you may see error pop-ups. You can ignore these as they will disappear once you install the new GNOME 41.
Once you have finished importing, run an update to reflect the new additions.
sudo apt-get update
Install GNOME 41 Desktop Environment
With the three separate PPA’s installed and updated in your repository list, the first step is to install gnome-shell.
sudo apt install ubuntu-desktop gnome-shell gnome-control-center
Type Y, then press the ENTER KEY to continue. This may take a while, especially on lower-end hardware.
Next, the repositories have added extra dependencies that need updating. Before rebooting, you should update these packages.
sudo apt upgrade
Type Y, then press the ENTER KEY to continue.
Note this may take a while. There are lots of packages to upgrade and install. If you cannot see any packages to update, you may have skipped the apt update command re-run, and they should appear.
Once done, you need to reboot your system for the changes to take effect fully.
First Look GNOME 41 Desktop Environment
Once you have restarted your Ubuntu system, you will first come to a new login screen that is entirely different.
DO NOT LOG IN STRAIGHT AWAY.
First, you need to change the display manager. This is done by clicking the configuration button in the top right-hand corner of the login window, to the right of your username, and selecting “Ubuntu on Xorg” instead of “Ubuntu” display manager.
Once logged in, you will notice quite a few UI changes to the taskbars and icons.
The Applications have had a significant facelift with many of the default applications installed with GNOME.
Verify GNOME 41 Desktop Environment
Typically, you can go to the “About” GUI settings to find system information.
Alternatively, you can confirm the installation. A handy package to install is Neofetch.
To install this package, use the following command in your terminal.
sudo apt install screenfetch -y
Once installed, run the following command in your terminal.
Congratulations, you have installed the latest GNOME 41 on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa.
How to Update GNOME 41 Desktop
Run the standard apt command for future updates for the GNOME 41 desktop environment and Ubuntu 20.04 default packages.
sudo apt update
When updates are available, it is the same process to upgrade.
sudo apt upgrade
Comments and Conclusion
In the tutorial, you have learned how to install the latest GNOME 41 Desktop Environment using the PPA provided by Taha Nouibat.
Overall, GNOME 41 will look very different once you change from the default GNOME 38. Some of the noticeable changes are rounded window corners smoother animations which give it a more modern look amongst many other changes.
Another question is should you upgrade to this? Possibly, but beware, you will face possibly instabilities broken packages while the PPA for GNOME 41 matures. If you think you can handle this, then go for it.