Ubuntu 11.10 features the new Unity desktop interface which has been greatly revamped and it should provide a brand new experience for Ubuntu users. But, there are some that don’t quite like it and are still looking for a solution to change the appearance of Ubuntu 11.10 to one that’s more familiar, like the Classic Gnome desktop, as it was the former interface used by Ubuntu.
Since the addition of Unity desktop, Ubuntu has removed the possibility to change it to Gnome and now, if you wish to return to the former desktop then you will need to follow all the instructions listed in this post. The Gnome desktop isn’t listed in the default appearances screen and this means that we need to install it.
The new Unity shell interface is in fact a revamped edition of the Gnome desktop environment that was created by Ubuntu’s developers, Canonical Ltd. Unity was launched with the Ubuntu 10.10 and with the new 11.10 release it has become the default shell interface for your beloved operating system. Most users complained about the new desktop system used by Ubuntu changed almost everything and here you can find all the instructions that you need to use in order to restore the Classic Gnome Ubuntu Desktop in Ubuntu 11.10.
Now that you know all this, you can move on to the first step of the tutorial guide. Make sure that you follow all the instructions listed below, because otherwise, by skipping or forgetting to apply a single step, you might end up scrambling your entire Ubuntu system. Here’s how to install the classic Gnome Desktop environment for your Ubuntu 11.10:
First thing to do is to open the Terminal. Hit the ‘Ctrl – Alt – T’ button combination and this will bring up the terminal screen.
Now you need to type in the following command line without the commas: ‘ sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback ‘ .
When asked enter your admin password.
An analysis of the files you need to install will start and you should be shown the amount of free space you need in order to complete the installation. Type ‘ Y ‘ to begin the installation. Now press Enter.
After the install process has been successfully completed, you need to type ‘ exit ‘ and hit the Enter button for the Terminal screen to close.
Now, in order to launch Classic Gnome Desktop you need to click the power button located in the upper right handed corner of the Unity desktop. Click ‘Log Out… ‘
When you are at the Logon menu, you need to click the gear-like icon listed on the Password menu. Select ‘GNOME Classic’. Enter your password to log into your new desktop environment.
That’s it now your Ubuntu desktop should be configured to open the GNOME Classic environment every time you start your computer.
Now, as you might know, the Classic GNOME Desktop doesn’t feature any power button and in order to shutdown /restart or log off you will need to click the username and choose what action you wish to take. The new desktop interface has the Applications and Places buttons that allow you to open and browse your Ubuntu system. To switch back to Unity simply log off from GNOME classic and select Unity as the default desktop environment from the login box.
Restoring your desktop back to GNOME classic should be one of the easiest tasks you were needed to make since using Ubuntu. Also, now you can easily switch between both Classic GNOME and Unity and in no time you should be able to learn your way around the new environment. If you have any other questions then you should let us know in the comments field.