How to Install GNOME Desktop Environment in Linux Mint

Linux Mint is an excellent Linux distro, especially for beginners.

I like that it stays on the familiar Ubuntu/Debian interface yet does many things better than Ubuntu. One being that it doesn’t push Snaps down my throat.

However, I’m not a fan of Cinnamon desktop because I never really liked the default setup of Windows XP or 7 either.

Since I was looking for the stability offered by Linux Mint with the ability to use GNOME here’s what I got in the end:

Install GNOME in Linux Mint

Nothing fancy but this is Linux Mint 21 running GNOME 42.5.

And if you want to install GNOME on Linux Mint, this guide is for you.

Things to know before installing GNOME on Linux Mint

You really should have enough reasons to install GNOME on Mint. If you’re just feeling up for the experience, try it in a virtual machine. I did this tutorial with Linux Mint installed in VirtualBox.

The thing about installing a desktop environment other than the one provided by the distribution is that the removal part complicates the matter.

Cinnamon uses some GNOME elements. If you decide to remove Gnome later, it may affect some parts of Cinnamon.

This may cause panic for inexperienced users. Of course, reinstalling the Cinnamon desktop from the TTY screen might be a possible solution here.

The gist of it all is that if you freak out easily and don’t like troubleshooting, you shouldn’t be doing these “experiments” on your main computer.

With that aside, let’s see the simple procedure for getting GNOME on Linux Mint.

Install GNOME Desktop Environment in Linux Mint

Here you have two options. Either you can use the full GNOME desktop which includes all the GNOME utilities, or you can use the stripped-down version which contains the least amount of GNOME packages.

I will cover both.

to me install gnome with minimal gnome tools, You must install a package with a name vanilla-GNOME Using the specified command:

sudo apt install vanilla-gnome-desktop

And the If you want to get the full GNOME experienceYou can simply install a program gnome Package:

sudo apt install gnome

Once you have done either of the two displayed commands, you will be prompted to choose your preferred display manager in the next step.

Choose Display Manager
Choose a display manager of your choice

gdm3 It is a display manager for the GNOME desktop while using Linux Mint lightdm By default both should work fine, but I will suggest you to use gdm3 to get the full GNOME experience.

Switch to GNOME

Once done, sign out and press Enter once, there you will see a small gear icon. From here, choose GNOME:

Select GNOME while logged in

And now, you have GNOME with Linux Mint as a base!

Bonus tip: How to apply themes consistently

You can use these Cinnamon themes, but most of them don’t work as expected, so I recommend using GNOME themes like Adwaita to get consistency around your desktop.

For me, the default fonts don’t work at all, and I’d prefer something close to what Fedora offers. So, open GNOME tweaks from several systems and make changes as shown:

Change fonts in ubuntu to get vanilla gnome experience

This is what I used:

  • Regular Cantarelle (11) For both interface and document text.
  • Noto Sans Mono Regular (13) for monospace text.
  • Cantarell Bold (11) for window titles.

And it turned out to be much better than the default Ubuntu font scheme.

Since you have GNOME, you can use our step-by-step guide on installing and changing GNOME themes on Linux to make it your own.


As you can see, installing GNOME on Linux Mint is very simple. And as I mentioned earlier, the removal part can complicate things because it has the ability to remove some GNOME packages that Cinnamon requires.

What’s running your main computer right now? I’m on Pop! _OS.