I have an "okay" classic-style (no lens, etc) desktop running on an Ubuntu 16.04 server. gnome and ubuntu-desktop is installed, and I have several desktops available, such as ubuntu.desktop, gnome.desktop, and gnome-classic.desktop.

I would like to run the new gnome that I have on my local desktop, which is Gnome 3 (also perhaps it is called Gnome with the Awesome Desktop).

How can I do that? Below is the xstartup file that I have now:


[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup
[ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
xsetroot -solid grey
vncconfig -iconic &
x-terminal-emulator -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" &
x-window-manager &


gnome-session --session=awesome --disable-acceleration-check &
gnome-panel &
gnome-settings-daemon &
metacity &
nautilus &

pulseaudio -k
pulseaudio -D

I've tried all the info at: How to change to other desktop environment on VNC sessions?


Your script is wrong!

First, you possibly try to start 3 different window managers:
- x-window-manager will start default window manager or your pc.
- gnome-session will start window manager that is used in Awesome desktop.
- metacity you try to explicitly start window manager.

If you want to start full session using gnome-session then you should remove x-terminal-emulator, x-window-manager, gnome-panel, gnome-settings-daemon, metacity and nautilus.

If you really want that there is opened terminal and/or file manager window automatically when you start it then you can leave x-terminal-emulator and/or nautilus, but other things should be removed.

gnome-session will start everything you need, but if that will work depends on your desktop. If it requires hardware acceleration then it will not work.

--disable-acceleration-check is used to disable this check, but it won't help if acceleration is hard dependency for your desktop.

  • Thanks, that makes a lot of sense. I want to go in the direction of gnome-session only. This is on an ec2 medium.t2 instance, and in the past, these ec2 instances did not have hardware acceleration: One could not run Ubuntu Unity desktop on them because of that, for example. How can a hard dependency on hardware acceleration be checked for? If a hard dependency is found, what are places to look for alternatives? Ideally, I would like to run the Gnome3 Awesome desktop, but I see that, while awesome.desktop is listed on my system, it is not directly a gnome desktop. – christopherbalz Aug 6 '17 at 22:56
  • Remove --disable-acceleration-check and add --debug. Then gnome-session will do needed things. If session does not start then check ~/.xsession-errors – muktupavels Aug 7 '17 at 4:43
  • Hello, we removed all the items you mentioned and kept x-window-manager. When we tried with "gnome-session --debug", the screen showed solid gray but with no errors in xsession-errors file. However in syslog file we see : "gnome-session-binary[1502]: WARNING: software acceleration check failed: Child process exited with code 1. " So we further added "--disable-acceleration-check". With this we see only the wallpaper and nothing more. Then we added "gnome-panel &" and that helped us to get the menu bars showing. The theme of the menu is dark but we do not have a fully fledged Gnome3 UI. – ZakiMak Aug 12 '17 at 15:26

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