Introduction to GNOME Shell

The GNOME Shell is the core user interface of the GNOME Desktop environment.



Development versions of BLFS may not build or run some packages properly if dependencies have been updated since the most recent stable versions of the book.

Package Information

GNOME Shell Dependencies


evolution-data-server-3.44.3, Gjs-1.72.1, gnome-autoar-0.4.3, gnome-control-center-42.3, GTK-4.6.6, Mutter-42.3, sassc-3.6.2, startup-notification-0.12, and Systemd-251



GTK-Doc-1.33.2 and bash-completion

Runtime Dependencies

adwaita-icon-theme-42.0, DConf-0.40.0, GDM-42.0, gnome-backgrounds-42.0, and telepathy-mission-control-5.16.6

User Notes:

Installation of GNOME Shell

Install GNOME Shell by running the following commands:

mkdir build &&
cd    build &&

meson --prefix=/usr --buildtype=release -Dtests=false .. &&

To test the results, you need to remove the -Dtests=false switch, and to have Mutter-42.3 compiled and installed with tests also. To run the tests, issue: ninja test. You must be running an X session to run the tests. Some will fail if GDM-42.0 is not installed.

Now, as the root user:

ninja install

Command Explanations

--buildtype=release: Specify a buildtype suitable for stable releases of the package, as the default may produce unoptimized binaries.

-Dtests=false: Remove this switch if you want to build the tests. But then meson will fail if Mutter-42.3 tests are not installed.


Installed Programs: gnome-extensions, gnome-extensions-app, gnome-shell, gnome-shell-extension-prefs, gnome-shell-extension-tool, and gnome-shell-perf-tool
Installed Libraries: None
Installed Directories: /usr/lib/gnome-shell, /usr/share/gnome-shell, /usr/share/gtk-doc/html/{shell,st} (optional), and /usr/share/xdg-desktop-portal/

Short Descriptions


provides the core user interface functions for the GNOME 3 Desktop