How to Access Gnome Classic Mode on Linux.
Gnome Classic is a version of the Gnome 3 (Gnome Shell) desktop environment from the Gnome project, but made to look like the old Gnome 2.x. It has some of the same Gnome Shell features that most users expect, like a modern GTK3+ user interface and a similar window manager, but stripped down and less cumbersome on older hardware.
Gnome Classic mode does not come preconfigured with Gnome Shell, so many Linux users are unaware of its existence. Still, if you miss the good old days of Gnome 2, but aren’t a fan of desktops like Mate, it’s worth using.
As mentioned above, Gnome Classic often does not come pre-installed on Linux distributions that ship with the Gnome desktop environment. The reason it’s not there varies depending on the operating system you’re using. That being said, it’s not a problem to get it to work and it won’t interfere with traditional Gnome Shell session on your system.
To get your hands on Gnome Classic, you’ll need to open a terminal and follow the command line instructions that match the Linux distribution that’s installed on your computer. Note that Gnome Classic is part of the Gnome Shell, so you must have a Gnome desktop already set up for this tutorial to work properly.
Note: Not sure how to install Gnome Shell on your Linux PC? Check the Wiki for your Linux distribution. It should describe how to install and configure various desktop environments, including Gnome.
Ubuntu Linux has Classic mode for Gnome Shell in its official software sources. To get the session, go to the terminal window and enter the apt package command in it.
Note: Ubuntu ships with Canonical’s custom Gnome, so you must also install the Vanilla Gnome packages.
sudo apt install gnome-flashback vanilla-gnome-desktop*
Debian Linux Instructions
Debian Linux has the Gnome Classic session available in all versions. Note, however, that if you are not using Debian Testing, you will get an older version of the session and not the latest version of Gnome currently available.
To install Gnome Classic on Debian, go to the terminal window you have opened and enter the following command Apt-get in.
Note: Want a newer version of Gnome Classic for Debian? Consider upgrading to Testing or enabling Backports.
sudo apt-get install gnome-flashback
Arch Linux Instructions
Arch Linux is often called a “cutting edge” Linux distribution. This moniker means that Arch always has the latest software as soon as it’s available. Gnome Classic is no different, and if you’re an Arch user, you’ll be able to quickly install version 3.30 of the session with a quick Pacman command.
sudo pacman -S gnome-flashback
Fedora Linux does not have the “Flashback” package in its official software sources. Instead, the package is “gnome-classic-session”. Don’t worry! It is the same way; the only difference is the name!
To get the latest Gnome Classic session package on Fedora, launch your terminal window and enter the command below. Note that you must also have Gnome Shell already configured on your Fedora Linux PC for the session to appear in the login menu.
sudo dnf install gnome-classic-session -y
Unfortunately, the OpenSUSE developers do not have a package labeled Gnome Flashback, not even the Gnome Classic session package as Fedora does. If you are a Suse user and need this mode, please refer to the official OpenSUSE documentation. There may be a way to enable or install it.
If there isn’t a way, try downloading the Fedora RPM from Gnome Classic. It’s not guaranteed to work, but Fedora and OpenSUSE have identical packaging formats, so it’s quite possible that it will install if done correctly.
Generic Linux Instructions
Gnome is an open source foundation and Gnome Shell is an open source project. Being open source means that its code is online and can be downloaded by almost anyone, both user and developer, which is good news for those on lesser-known Linux distributions looking to use the Gnome Classic session on their computers. .
Getting your hands on the Gnome Classic source code is not difficult. Go to . There you will find instructions on how to download the code. It also has a detailed guide on how to compile the code.
Access Gnome Classic
To access the Gnome Classic session on your Linux PC, click the “Logout” button to exit your current Gnome Shell session. When you log out, you will be returned to the Gnome Desktop Manager.
On the Gnome Desktop Manager screen, find the gear icon and click on it with your mouse. Then select “Gnome Classic” and log in with your username to access the new Classic session on your computer.