How to use classic Gnome shell instead of Unity desktop

There are cases where I prefer to install and use Gnome fallback mode (Gnome Flashback in recent system versions) instead of full-blown Unity desktop. I will give you simple instructions on how to change default session manager.

Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

Enable universe repository component.

$ sudo add-apt-repository universe

Update package list.

$ sudo apt-get update

Install gnome-session-fallback package which provides required functionality.

$ sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

Set gnome-fallback as default session manager.

$ sudo sed -i '/\[SeatDefaults\]/a user-session=gnome-fallback' \
              /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf

Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet and 15.10 Wily Werewolf

Enable universe repository component.

$ sudo add-apt-repository universe

Update package list.

$ sudo apt-get update

Install gnome-session-flashback package which provides required functionality.

$ sudo apt-get install gnome-session-flashback

Set gnome-flashback-metacity as default session manager.

$ sudo sed -i '/\[SeatDefaults\]/a user-session=gnome-flashback-metacity' \
              /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf

Additional notes

Use the following command to create /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf configuration file if it is missing.

$ cat << EOF | sudo tee /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf
[SeatDefaults]
user-session=gnome-flashback-metacity
EOF
Milosz Galazka's Picture

About Milosz Galazka

Milosz is a Linux Foundation Certified Engineer working for a successful Polish company as a system administrator and a long time supporter of Free Software Foundation and Debian operating system.

Gdansk, Poland https://sleeplessbeastie.eu