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.

GNOME on Xorg

While it is possible to start GNOME on Xorg either via .xinitrc and so on or via GDM, it is recommended to use Wayland. GNOME on Xorg has been known to have issues with Xorg and certain accelerated graphics drivers, so if you encounter issues such as the shell hanging on early startup, that may be the cause. The Wayland session is known to be stable.


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.

Manual startup

For Wayland (recommended), all you need to do is log in on your desired tty and run:

$ gnome-shell --wayland

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.

Note that starting GNOME without GDM will disable some functionality. Most notably, this is the lock screen.

Display manager

Select the X session you want.


GDM is the recommended way to start GNOME, and it can be used to start other desktops and window managers as well.

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 and a desktop should come up.

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.