gnome-desktop is an open source and completely free package that contains the libgnome-desktop library, the gnome-about program and desktop-wide documents, which are essential components of the for the GNOME desktop environment.
Not the GNOME desktop environment
Despite its common name, the gnome-desktop package does not provide or manages the actual "desktop" component of the GNOME project, which is a job for the Nautilus project, GNOME’s default file manager and desktop manager. It should also not be confused with the GNOME desktop environment.
Instead, this package only provides the GNOME About dialog, the desktop-wide documentation and the libgnome-desktop library. It is a core component of the GNOME desktop environment, without with the entire GNOME project will not function properly.
Getting started with gnome-desktop
Usually, end-users shouldn’t install the gnome-desktop program separately from GNOME, as it won’t work and it’s installed by default with each new installation of the popular desktop environment.
The package provided here should be used by advanced Linux users who want to tweak it for their computer architecture, as well as Linux distribution developers who want to install the package from sources.
Once installed (see below for manual installation instructions), the gnome-about and the respective GNOME documentation will be accessible to all users of the desktop environment. It has been successfully tested with 32-bit and 64-bit GNU/Linux operating systems.
To install the gnome-desktop package on your GNU/Linux system, download it from the dedicated download section above, save the file somewhere on your computer, unpack it and extract its contents.
Open a terminal emulator, navigate to the location of the extracted archive files with the ‘cd’ command, run the ‘./configure && make’ command to optimize and compile the software, followed by the ‘make install’ command as root or with sudo to install it system wide.