Consort Desktop: A New Fork Of GNOME Classic
Written by Michael Larabel in GNOME on 17 January 2013 at 10:19 AM EST. 32 Comments
The Debian-powered SolusOS Linux distribution has forked GNOME Classic into the Consort Desktop Environment.

While there's already the MATE Desktop fork of GNOME 2.x plus Cinnamon and other open-source initiatives for those not liking the current taste of upstream GNOME 3.x with its Shell, SolusOS felt the need to bring another alternative.

The Consort Desktop Environment is a fork of the GNOME Classix (Fallback) with packages having been forked of the GNOME-Panel, Nautilus, GNOME-Session-Fallback, and Metacity.

Here's more details on the Consort Desktop:
[Why another fork?] Mainly to protect the users of our desktop components. Pinning patched packages higher than underlying packages proves far too tricky. The amount of patches in each mentioned component qualifies fork-status anyway, so it was time to admit it. Some projects are well under way, such as Athena and consort-panel, and some are brand new, such as the Consortium Window Manager.

With our forks, we can maintain an experience virtually identical to GNOME 2, but vastly improve it with no need for hardware acceleration such as with GNOME Shell or Cinnamon. Despite the fact these desktops can be used with software rendering via llvmpipe, it is meant only for debugging purposes.

We’re restoring the GNOME 2 experience and building on it. Bringing back all the old features, such as right click-interaction on the panel, GNOME 2 applet support, creating desktop launchers, etc. Regarding consort-panel a new wrapper API is being written which will allow Python GNOME 2 applets to run natively on consort-panel.

With Consortium, we forked Metacity 2.34. Basically its been a dead project for a while and needs some new life. Work is now underway to bring it up to GTK3/Cairo standards so that we can improve it. Fully antialiased window corners and plugins will be introduced, as well as extended theming.

With this new DE, we still maintain total compatibility with the GNOME suite itself. We’re not touching core-libraries so you’ll be able to install our desktop on most distros with GTK3, and have no issues. SolusOS 2 Alpha 7 will be released with the first test revision of Consort, and we advise that users should try the new ISO instead of manual updating.
More details on the Consort Desktop along with screenshots can be found at

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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