How to Install Gnome 40 in Ubuntu 21.04 (For Testing Only)

Last updated: April 3, 2021

Want to try out the new Gnome 40 Desktop? You can install it in Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo via PPA.

Gnome 40 was released more than a week ago with new features including new design for the overview screen, a horizontal workspace switcher, Dock at the bottom, new gestures, and more.

While Ubuntu 21.04 includes Gnome 3.38.x with some Gnome 40 core applications, you can get the new desktop environment via this third-party PPA.

1.) Firstly open terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard. When it opens, run command to add the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:shemgp/gnome-40

Type your user password (no asterisk feedback) when it asks and hit Enter to continue.

2.) After adding the PPA, run command to upgrade the mutter window manager:

sudo apt install mutter

You can follow the command in the PPA description, which adds the package version in the code. It however just works with the package name only.

3.) Then install Gnome Shell 40 via command:

sudo apt install gnome-shell

4.) As the default Yaru theme is not updated for Gnome 40, you have to install and use Gnome Session instead of the Ubuntu Session. To install it, run command:

sudo apt install gnome-session

5.) And run command for the rest packages:

sudo apt upgrade

Finally reboot your machine. When you’re in login screen, DO SELECT “Gnome” or “Gnome on Xorg” before logging in. To do so, select your user and then click the gear button in the bottom-right and select Gnome in popup menu.

How to Uninstall Gnome 40:

To remove the new Gnome Desktop and revert back to the original v3.38.x, run command to purge the Ubuntu PPA:

sudo apt install ppa-purge && sudo ppa-purge ppa:shemgp/gnome-40

And if you no longer use the Gnome Session from login screen, remove it via command:

sudo apt remove gnome-session


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4 responses to How to Install Gnome 40 in Ubuntu 21.04 (For Testing Only)

  1. I installed it, however it flickers a lot, at least on the pc I have. It’s annoying

    • Try to install gnome-session. If this happens only in Activities it’s because of the YARU theme which has not been integrated in the ppa nor updated to GNOME 40. However, there is a YARU theme branch that has the GNOME 40 shell theme.

  2. You can also try Gnome-40 in focal from this repository
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:devacom/gnome-40

    1- Install x11 repository to fix gnome-shell dependencies .
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:devacom/x11
    sudo apt-get update

    2- Install gnome-shell before upgrade (Fix desktop will not load)
    sudo apt install ubuntu-desktop

    * You can install application-menu or arc-menu using your browser

    3- Upgrade your system
    sudo apt upgrade

    4- Reboot your system and enjoy.