How to check GNOME version

GNOME is a community-driven open-source project for desktop environment for GNU/Linux. The GNOME community is also involved in contributing a wide range of core applications that run on GNOME desktop. In this tutorial, I will describe how to check if you are using GNOME desktop, and how to find GNOME version.

Check If You Are Running GNOME Desktop

To verify that you are using GNOME desktop, run the following command:

$ ps aux | grep gnome-session

If the above command displays gnome-session process(es), it means that you are using GNOME Desktop.

If you would like to determine the version of GNOME desktop you are using, use either of the two methods described below.

Method One

gnome-about is a tool that shows GNOME about box, and you can use this tool to determine the GNOME version of your desktop.

$ gnome-about --gnome-version
Version: 2.28.2
Distributor: CentOS Project
Build Date: 10/10/2012

If gnome-about command is not found in your desktop, it means that you are using GNOME 3.0 and higher. In that case, use the second method.

Method Two

The second way to find GNOME version is as shown below. This is output for Fedora 18.

$ gnome-shell --version
GNOME Shell 3.6.2

Note that Ubuntu Desktop does not come with gnome-shell installed by default. Thus the above command will produce the following error message instead on Ubuntu Desktop.

The program 'gnome-shell' is currently not installed. You can install it by typing:
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

In this case, you can query APT's package cache to find out the version of GNOME for Ubuntu Desktop. To do so, use the following command. This works whether or not gnome-shell is installed.

$ apt-cache show gnome-shell | grep Version
Version: 3.6.1-0ubuntu1

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Dan Nanni is the founder and also a regular contributor of He is a Linux/FOSS enthusiast who loves to get his hands dirty with his Linux box. He likes to procrastinate when he is supposed to be busy and productive. When he is otherwise free, he likes to watch movies and shop for the coolest gadgets.

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