GNOME is the default desktop of Chimera.


The easiest way is to use the base-desktop metapackage.

# apk add base-desktop

This adds gnome as well as several things a desktop session will typically want, including graphics drivers.

It is possible to install those things individually for more fine-grained control. Those users may also be interested in the gnome-core package which only installs a relatively bare desktop without auxiliary apps.


Keep in mind that GNOME requires elogind. In a typical setup, this is enabled by default, i.e. requires explicit masking to avoid. You do not need to manually enable elogind if you have not removed its service link. Likewise, it requires dbus, both system and session bus, see D-Bus.

You can start GNOME either manually, or from a display manager, typically GDM.


The recommended way to start GNOME is through GDM. This makes sure all the necessary variables are set up as well as enables the lock screen to work (which depends on communication with GDM).

GDM can also be used to start other desktops.

Typically, all you need to do is enable the service:

# dinitctl enable gdm

That will make it start on every boot. If you want to run it just once, you can also do:

# dinitctl start gdm

After that, you only need to log in.

GDM with Xorg

Normally, GDM will default to Wayland. There are some specific cases where Wayland is disabled, most of them not relevant to Chimera, but e.g. when missing modesetting.

Other people may want to disable Wayland manually for other reasons.

To force-disable Wayland in GDM, edit the /etc/gdm/custom.conf file and uncomment the WaylandEnable=false line.

Note that this will not make GDM with Xorg work right away, as Chimera’s Xorg setup is unprivileged and the X server started by GDM will not be allowed to switch VTs, see Xorg.

Manual startup

This is not recommended as some functionality will not work, such as the lock screen, but it can still be useful for debugging and specific setups. However, do keep in mind that this will also interfere with management of graphical user services and so on at a later point (and these instructions will change).

For Wayland (recommended), you need to log in on the desired tty and run something like:

$ gnome-shell --wayland

This will give you a shell, but for example the settings app will not work. You can fix that by exporting the following variable first:


For X11, you can create an .xinitrc script, and put the following inside:


Then you need to give it appropriate permissions (must be executable by your user). Then you can simply use startx.