I'm not too familiar with GNOME and all. I've seen multiple ways of installing vanilla GNOME 3. How can I install vanilla gnome session without breaking anything ?

  • 3
    Does this answer your question? need helpto install gnome 40 on kubuntu 21.04 Be prepared for a mess, though. The best way to avoid mess is not to change the version of the default DE. Jun 26, 2021 at 8:57
  • 3
    This is not a question on installing Gnome 40. It is a question on installing vanilla gnome.
    – vanadium
    Jun 26, 2021 at 13:53
  • 1
    At the duplicate voters: this is not about installing Gnome 40 and this is not on Kubuntu.
    – vanadium
    Jun 26, 2021 at 14:01

3 Answers 3


To install vanilla Gnome, i.e., default Gnome with all the standard Gnome applications, install vanilla-gnome-desktop:

sudo apt install vanilla-gnome-desktop

Reboot, and log in to that session. You do that by selecting your name in the log in screen. Before entering the password, click the cog wheel and select the Gnome session.

To only install the default Gnome Shell configuration without any default Gnome applications, install gnome-session instead.

If you also wish to change the theming of the login screen from Ubuntu's Yaru to that of Gnome, run sudo update-alternatives --config gdm3-theme.gresource.

  • Could you explain the relation with vanilla-gnome-default-settings? The description of the package doesn't make sense to me, talks about Ubuntu flavor instead of vanilla. Also, apt purge gnome-session would rollback to Ubuntu GNOME flavor? Oct 26, 2021 at 6:10
  • @PabloBianchi feel free to open a question for this.
    – vanadium
    Oct 26, 2021 at 9:19

I have followed the previous answers but there are still some places that were not changed to vanilla GNOME styles, so here are the full steps I did to make it completely vanilla GNOME.

  1. Install gnome-session

    sudo apt install gnome-session
  2. Change login screen theme

    sudo update-alternatives --config gdm3-theme.gresource
  3. Install GNOME default font

    sudo apt install fonts-cantarell
  4. Install files icon

    sudo apt install adwaita-icon-theme-full
  5. Go to GNOME tweaks and make sure the fonts are set as follows:

    • Interface Text: Cantarell Regular 11
    • Document Text: Cantarell Regular 11
    • Monospace Text: Monospace Regular 11
    • Legacy Window Titles: Cantarell Regular 11

Make sure you changed all themes to Adwaita in gnome tweaks and disabled all Ubuntu extensions.

You may need to reboot or log out and log in in order to see the changes.

Finally, you can download GNOME 3.38 wallpaper.

Don't forget to change your terminal color scheme to "GNOME light", Firefox theme to "System theme", etc., if you really want it to look vanilla.


You can install Vanilla GNOME session using below command.

sudo apt install gnome-session 
  • This is not a question on installing Gnome 40. It is a question on installing vanilla gnome.
    – vanadium
    Jun 26, 2021 at 13:53

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