FreeBSD Gnome Installation howto

Posted on in Categories FreeBSD, Howto, Tips, X server last updated February 19, 2007

GNOME is a complete desktop environment (no matter what Linus says 😉 ). In GNOME, everything is easy to use, and works the way you want.

So how do you install Gnome Desktop system under FreeBSD?

These days it is quite easy to install Gnome Desktop system under FreeBSD. You have following choices (use only one of the method).

Option # 1: Fetch and install Gnome binary package from Internet

To install GNOME 2.16 from binary package over Internet or local FTP server type the command:
# pkg_add -v -r gnome2

Now proceed to post installation instructions.

Option # 2: Install Gnome binary package from CD/DVD

Login as root and type sysinstall:
# sysinstall

Select Configure > Packages > CD/DVD > Gnome

Select all packages and hit install button

Now proceed to post installation instructions.

Option # 3: Install Gnome using FreeBSD ports system

To compile and build Gnome type the following command:
# cd /usr/ports/x11/gnome2
# make clean; make install clean

Now proceed to post installation instructions.

Enable and start GNOME automatically

You need to start all of the GNOME-related services when system comes (at boot time). All you need to do is add following line to /etc/rc.conf file:
Open /etc/rc.conf file:
# vi /etc/rc.conf
Append following line:
gnome_enable="YES"
Save close the file.

If you have other system such as KDE and just want gnome as default add the following line to ~/.xsession or ~/.xinitrc file so that GNOME 2.16 can be started as soon as you type startx command:
echo 'exec gnome-session' >> ~/.xsession

How do I use Gnome?

You can login using GDM or simply type the command:
$ startx

Further recommended readings

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

17 comment

  1. i did everything according to the steps above, but when i log in as root and i typ ‘startx’ it says: command not found
    and when i type ‘gdm’:
    gdm-binary[1358]: WARNING: GDM already running. Aborting! GDM already running. Aborting!
    what to do?

  2. I’ve been using gdm_enable=”YES” in my /etc/rc.conf file. I’m gonna try that gnome_enable=”YES” in a sec. To answer James’s question, if you’re using Vi as your editor, hit ZZ or Shift Z 2 times. If you’re using emacs I dunno. Vi is forever.

  3. A short comment:

    Linus was talking about the abomination of GNOME3/Unity when he bashed GNOME. GNOME 2 is still a perfectly good desktop environment.

    GNOME3/Unity is yet another attempt to make Linux and BSD resemble MacOS X and WinDoze. Folks, if you want one of those slow bloated pieces of you-know-what, go out and buy one! But please leave our BSD and Linux alone!

  4. I appreciate the information. Currently installing GNOME using FreeBSD 9 on a Sun 280r UltraSPARC64 6GB RAM, and the port install is taking forever…. I’m 4 hours into it so far!

    I completely agree with Sean. GNOME3/Unity is horrible!

  5. how do I do this part?
    You need to start all of the GNOME-related services when system comes (at boot time). All you need to do is add following line to /etc/rc.conf file:
    Open /etc/rc.conf file:
    # vi /etc/rc.conf

  6. hi,

    how to configure WPAD, i have dhcp win2k8 server and DNS my proxy freebsd 9 with squid 3.2.3 i want all my client pc and wireless mobile and laptop to without proxy just using WPAD please helpp 🙁

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