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My box is running Ubuntu 10.10. I installed GNOME Shell to experience Gnome 3 from the Ailurus Package Manager. It installed fine. I ran the shell by typing the following in the terminal

gnome-shell --replace

This replaced Ubuntu 10.10's Gnome's 2 GNOME Panel with GNOME Shell. I tinkered around a bit and changed a few things like enabling Alt-Tab. However if I close the terminal which was used to launch gnome-shell, Ubuntu is left without a shell. I cannot restart GNOME Shell since keyboard input is somehow disabled when gnome-shell is closed and all I am left with is the desktop with the Computer and Home icon's and the windows which were open without their titlebars. Mouse works but keyboard input does not work.

I had to reset my machine, which then loads the default Ubuntu shell, GNOME Panel. On re-running gnome-shell, I find that my custom settings were not saved (Alt-Tab is disabled). So I created a launcher to point towards gnome-shell. This makes it difficult to close gnome-shell (and get a shell-less Ubuntu), but restarting still leaves me with Ubuntu's default shell.

How do I load Ubuntu's default shell? How do I set which shell to use as default?

I am afraid I may not be using the correct terminology.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You simply need to run

gnome-shell --replace &

This will put the gnome-shell process in the background and you can safely close the terminal window. You may return to the traditional GNOME Panel in GNOME 2 with the command

metacity --replace &

You can run apt-cache policy gnome-shell in order to figure out which version of GNOME Shell you are running, and who packaged it. Ideally, you should be able to select GNOME Shell (or GNOME Panel) from the log in screen.

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I have the 2.31.5 version installed. There is a 3.x version available? Thanks for the metacity pointer. – abel May 14 '11 at 20:33
GNOME Shell 2.31.5 was released in July 2010, There might be a PPA with a newer version; close this question and as a new one about getting GNOME Shell on 10.10. – user4124 May 14 '11 at 20:45
@user4124 Gnome Shell 3.0 is not available for 10.10 and it's only barely available in 11.04 (requires an experimental PPA). Good news is that it will be easily installed in 11.10 in a few months. – Jeremy Bicha May 15 '11 at 14:23
@Jeremy read the same somewhere else, but I was hoping for a hack that would allow GNOME 3 to be installed on 10.10, now that it is officially released. – abel May 15 '11 at 16:19
I know it is possible to compile the GNOME Shell component for GNOME 2 (thus, Ubuntu 10.04 and 10.10). However, no one made the effort yet to produce packages. These should be packages just for GNOME Shell, which work on top of GNOME 2. If you want to compile (not too difficult), see – user4124 May 15 '11 at 20:57

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