I am a new ubuntu user. I want to install Gnome 3 for ubuntu 14.04. However I want to know what will happen to my existing applications like empathy, cheese, wine etc as well as my installed software through wine. Will I be able to access them or do I have to install them all over again. I am confused because the Gnome official website mentions something like this

Hundreds of applications are available for GNOME. They enable people to ....

and then mentions a list of applications like banshee, cheese etc which gives an impression that these applications are different from those available for unity and hence need to be installed separately or again. ( I dont want my wine softwares and other apps to break after installation)

Also after installing the new desktop environment, will the underlying functionality change as well, like installing new software through software centre and terminal, or will it be the same (I mean, to install new software, I'll use software centre or a dedicated app store for gnome)? And what about drivers like wifi and display ?

1 Answer 1


Every Desktop Environment comes with its own set of software. However, Unity and GNOME Shell actually share most of them.

When you install new packages, and there are conflicting packages installed, the package manager will ask you what to do. (Btw. I don't know whether USC does so, I prefer using Synaptic, an APT frontend) At least apt-get and Synaptic do so.

Since Unity and GNOME Shell (what you mean by "GNOME 3") are both shells for the actual GNOME 3, they share most of their packages.

It wonders me how you're going to install GNOME Shell. If you want to install the package ubuntu-gnome-desktop, it will install all of the packages that are incuded in a full GNOME Shell desktop. If you, however, only want to install GNOME Shell, without all this additional software, you should only install gnome-shell and gnome-session.

Even though Unity and GNOME Shell are so close, be warned: Multiple desktop environments can mess each other up.

The programs you installed by yourself, like WineHQ, should remain unaffected by this change, unless they conflict with a package from GNOME Shell. In this case, Synaptic will ask for your confirmation; what Ubuntu Software Center will do, I don't know. Also, the core system (Linux kernel, Debian stuff, drivers, ...) will certainly not be affected.

PS: A personal side note from me: Even though I can't tell you what DE to use, I recommend you to first try GNOME Shell from a Live System. Many users have problems with the "unholy mess that is GNOME 3" (quote by Linus Torvalds).

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