Gnome desktop environment: how to get it working on OpenBSD?

I have OpenBSD 5.7-amd64 installed and patched with all the latest available fixes.

I would like to have a minimal Gnome desktop environment and I did the following to my user account (not root account):

sudo pkg_add -vi gnome-session nautilus gnome-terminal gnome-menus gnome-system-monitor

After installation of the above packages, I

sudo nano /etc/rc.conf.local

and modified/added the following:


I rebooted my box and logged in to my user account.

After logging in, I am still presented with OpenBSD’s default Fvwm manager, Xterm, etc.

Before making this post I had consulted the following tutorials and discovered the instructions they contained to be unworkable.

“Building an OpenBSD desktop”

“Display Manager on OpenBSD 4.7”

Asked By: virvegto


Ideally, you should install the gnome meta-package to ensure that you have all of the required packages installed, particularly DBus – I’d highly recommend you do that.

Once you’ve installed the gnome meta package, follow the post-installation instructions in /usr/local/share/doc/pkg-readme for the GNOME version you installed (check the file gnome-{version} where {version} is the GNOME version).

At a high level you need to do the following post-installation steps (all detailed in the aforementioned instructions):

  1. Add dbus_daemon to pkg_scripts in /etc/rc.conf.local and start dbus_daemon
  2. Configure GDM (which it appears you’ve done)
  3. (Optionally) Install avahi_daemon and enable multicast by adding multicast_host=YES to /etc/rc.conf.local.

If you enable multicast, either restart networking (using /etc/netstart) or reboot your machine. When you login again (via GDM), you should be using a GNOME desktop.

Answered By: mjturner

As root, execute these following 4 commands into the terminal…

pkg_add gnome
rcctl disable xenodm
rcctl enable multicast messagebus avahi_daemon gdm


(pkg_add gnome will take some time, it has many dependencies.)

Answered By: elsheepo
Categories: Answers Tags: , ,
Answers are sorted by their score. The answer accepted by the question owner as the best is marked with
at the top-right corner.