/!\ This page is not a bug tracker. If you run into a problem not listed here, please file a bug.
When entering a new problem, please enter it above the others, and follow the format of the JhbuildIssues/JhbuildIssueTemplate for new problems/modules.

List of common errors for the module gnome-shell.

Goal: The GNOME Shell should be easy to build, try out, and hack on on any common, up-to-date Linux system. No long waits for things to build, no build failures you have to know how to fix, no graphics driver workarounds, no complicated workarounds.

This page places where we are failing in that goal and what we need to do to fix that. This page is supposed to be empty.

Build failures

git hangs when checking out gtk3

This is a git bug that is difficult to fix, because it is both backwards and forwards compatible with '+' in a git URL. And it was introduced in a micro-micro version.


$ cd ~/gnome-shell/source
$ git clone git://git.gnome.org/gtk+.git
$ jhbuild

Update: JHBuild now autodetects what version of Git you have, so this may no longer be a real issue.

undefined reference 'g_variant_....'

Read the explanation and follow the instructions here to remove ".la" files from /usr/lib and /usr/lib64 .

This is a Debian bug, and a goal as well.

Error "mozilla-js >=1.9.2" for Debianers


It comes from xulrunner packages, which are currently in 1.9.1 even in Debian unstable, whereas gnome-shell needs 1.9.2. These packages are still classified "experimental".


If you really want to use gnome-shell, you will have to upgrade with experimental packages! At your own risks. In unstable, xulrunner-1.9.2 has only one different dependency: libmozjs3d which also upgrade from version 1.9.1 to 1.9.2. If you're not in unstable, check any other difference to evaluate other possible risks.

Download and install experimental packages

First libmozjs3d, choose an architecture and a mirror. The easyest way might be to download it in ~/gnome-shell. Then xulrunner itself (e.g. for an i386 on fr):

~/gnome-shell$ wget http://ftp.fr.debian.org/debian/pool/main/i/iceweasel/libmozjs3d_1.9.2.13-1_i386.deb
~/gnome-shell$ wget http://ftp.fr.debian.org/debian/pool/main/i/iceweasel/xulrunner-1.9.2_1.9.2.13-1_i386.deb
~/gnome-shell$ su
~/gnome-shell# dpkg -i libmozjs3d_1.9.2.13-1_i386.deb
~/gnome-shell# dpkg -i xulrunner-1.9.2_1.9.2.13-1_i386.deb

Don't forget -dev packages, xulrunner-dev and libmozjs-dev:

~/gnome-shell$ wget http://ftp.fr.debian.org/debian/pool/main/i/iceweasel/libmozjs-dev_1.9.2.13-1_i386.deb
~/gnome-shell$ wget http://ftp.fr.debian.org/debian/pool/main/i/iceweasel/xulrunner-dev_1.9.2.13-1_i386.deb
~/gnome-shell$ su
~/gnome-shell# dpkg -i libmozjs-dev_1.9.2.13-1_i386.deb
~/gnome-shell# dpkg -i xulrunner-dev_1.9.2.13-1_i386.deb

Cleaning and making a new build

~/gnome-shell$ rm -rf {install,source}
~/gnome-shell$ jhbuild build -afc

Performance/Driver Bugs

Slow animations/black flashes with official nVidia drivers

nVidia does some expensive computations when setting the shape of a window. We do this a lot when animation windows with special shapes like the rounded edges of the calendar.

Try this patch first (see bug). You can apply this with these commands:

$ cd ~/gnome-shell/source/gnome-shell
$ curl http://bugzilla-attachments.gnome.org/attachment.cgi?id=157326 > shell-animations-nvidia.patch
$ git am shell-animations-nvidia.patch

If this does not work you can try a patch for the Xorg server version 1.8.1, which may be a little more effective on older nVidia cards (like the GeForce 6200/AGP/SSE2 this author shamefully has). This is a fix for the issue provided by nVidia that's already in the 1.9 version of the xorg-server, backported to 1.8.1 by Adel Galldha

Slow updating in Intel

If you are using an Intel GPU without kernel mode-setting, and you experience very slow updates (e.g. 1 second intervals in animations) then you might want to try exporting "CLUTTER_VBLANK=none" in the terminal before running gnome-shell.

Execution failures

Errors about gtk modules such as "canberra-gtk-module" cannot be found

This is a normal error. gnome-shell uses the latest version of gtk+, and other modules on your system were build for older but more stable versions of gtk+.

Shell settings are not remembered

If you have installed gnome-shell binary packages, it could be that an old dconf is still being used.

$ rm -r ~/.config/dconf
$ gconftool-2 --recursive-unset /apps/gnome-shell
$ gconftool-2 --recursive-unset /desktop/gnome/shell

Compiz on Ubuntu

If you execute gnome-shell on Ubuntu while Compiz is running you'll end up with Metacity instead of the Shell.

Workaround: either * switch to metacity before running gnome-shell * or open /usr/bin/compiz and change the last line to "${COMPIZ_BIN_PATH}${COMPIZ_NAME} $COMPIZ_OPTIONS "$@" $COMPIZ_PLUGINS || exec $FALLBACKWM $FALLBACKWM_OPTIONS" (that is, commenting out the fallbackrespawn).

Unable to interact with elements

If you cannot interact with elements of the shell, like buttons or windows, and you see either this warning (with Clutter < 1.0.8):

Clutter-CRITICAL **: clutter_id_pool_lookup: assertion `id < id_pool->array->len' failed

or this warning (with Clutter >= 1.0.8):

The required ID of 11648752 does not refer to an existing actor; this usually
implies that the pick() of an actor is not correctly implemented or that there
is an error in the glReadPixels() implementation of the GL driver.

on the terminal, your graphic drivers are not working correctly. You should file a bug on the bug tracking system (usually freedesktop.org for Intel, ATi and Nouveau drivers) for your drivers reporting the error message.

If you have a crucial problem preventing gnome-shell from working as intended that is not listed here, you can visit the Shell developers on irc://irc.gnome.org/#gnome-shell or file a bug under the http://bugzilla.gnome.org/.

Missing Behaviour

Unable to use Alt-Shift-Tab and Alt-Above_Tab for window switching

See this comment on bug 642680.


Projects/Jhbuild/Issues/gnome-shell (last edited 2013-11-25 16:29:21 by WilliamJonMcCann)