Ubuntu GNOME 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) is launching soon, and many users will wonder if they can upgrade the GNOME stack to version 3.18. The answer is yes, but you shouldn’t do it unless you know what you’re doing.
Each time a new Ubuntu GNOME is released, the same question comes up. Why is this GNOME distro not using the latest GNOME packages? The answer is quite simple. The two projects are not synced, so the development cycles don’t overlap. The latest GNOME 3.18 was released too late for the Ubuntu GNOME developers to do anything about it since their cycle was passed the feature freeze point.
The developers can only provide the latest stable packages and offer an alternative to Ubuntu GNOME users to upgrade to the new one. There is a chance that you will ruin your installation of Ubuntu GNOME 15.10, and you can’t really complain to the developers and on bug trackers, since you’re not supposed to do that, technically. On the other hand, depending on your system and on your luck, you could just end up with a fully functional GNOME 3.18.
Upgrading is easy and that’s the catch
It might seem like a nice and simple upgrade. You just enter a few commands in a terminal, you wait a little bit until all the packages are upgraded, you reboot, and you’re done. That’s in theory. Practically, you’re upgrading many components that need to work together with a ton of other packages, and this is where problems start.
All you need to do in order to get the latest GNOME stack is to enter these commands in a terminal and cross your fingers (root is still needed, even with the fingers crossed):
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3-staging
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
As usual, you can revert the changes and go back. For that you will have to enter the following commands:
sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
sudo ppa-purge ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3-staging
sudo ppa-purge ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-gnome-desktop^