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How to get going with gThumb on Gnome

The gThumb photo manager is a photo manager for the Gnome desktop. It is excellent and has incredible features that many other photo managers on Linux lack. Unfortunately, gThumb does not come as the default photo manager anymore in Gnome, as it has been replaced with Gnome Photos, and in some cases, Shotwell.

If you’re not a fan of Gnome Photos or Shotwell and want to switch your default photo manager to gThumb, we can help! Follow along as we demonstrate how to install gThumb, how to get rid of Gnome Photos, and even go over some basic gThumb features too!

Note: those not running Gnome but want to enable gThumb will be able to. Simply follow along with the instructions in this guide to get the app working. Then, go to the “Preferred Applications” or default applications area and change photos from the app your desktop currently uses to gThumb.

Installing gThumb on Linux

The gThumb application is pretty easy to install as it has been in use in many GTK+ desktop environments for years till it fell out of favor. To get the app working on your Linux PC, start by launching a terminal window on the Gnome desktop. To launch a terminal, press Ctrl + Alt + T on the keyboard.

With the terminal window open on the Gnome desktop, follow the command-line installation instructions below that correspond with the Linux operating system you currently use.


In Ubuntu Linux, the gThumb image application can easily be installed using the Apt command below in the terminal window.

Note: to get gThumb working in Ubuntu, you must have the “Universe” software repository enabled. If you do not have “Universe” enabled, follow this guide here.

sudo apt install gthumb


In Debian, the gThumb program is available in the “Main” software repository. To get it working on your system, make use of the Apt-get command below in a terminal window.

sudo apt-get install gthumb

Arch Linux

Arch Linux has the gThumb tool in the “Extra” software repository. To install it, make use of the following Pacman command in a terminal window.

sudo pacman -S gthumb


Fedora Linux users can get the gThumb tool in the “Main” software repository. To install it, use the Dnf command below.

sudo dnf install gthumb


OpenSUSE users from every release can get gThumb up and running through the “OpenSUSE Oss” software repository. To start the installation, enter the Zypper command below.

sudo zypper install gthumb

Source code

Using Gnome but not on one of the operating systems covered on this list? If you can’t find gThumb in the software sources of the distribution you use, you may need to compile it from the source code. To get your hands on the source code for gThumb, go here.

Uninstalling Gnome Photos/Shotwell

Now that the gThumb application is set up on your Linux PC, we must uninstall the Gnome Photos or Shotwell app from the system, as it doesn’t make sense to have multiple photo management tools on Gnome at the same time.

To uninstall Gnome Photos and Shotwell from your Linux PC, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T on the keyboard. Then, enter the commands below to get rid of the apps.

Note: if you do not have Shotwell on your Linux PC, omit “shotwell” from the terminal command as you enter it on your system.


sudo apt remove gnome-photos shotwell


sudo apt-get remove gnome-photos shotwell

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -R gnome-photos shotwell


sudo dnf remove gnome-photos shotwell


sudo zypper remove gnome-photos shotwell

Generic Linux

If you’ve installed Gnome Photos or Shotwell on a Linux distribution that isn’t covered in this guide, you’ll need to uninstall them on your own. Use your package manager, search “gnome-photos,” or “shotwell” and uninstall them.

Setting gThumb as the default

With both Shotwell and Gnome Photos removed from your Linux PC, gThumb is the only photo manager on the system, so there is no need to set it as the default. However, if you would prefer to have gThumb handle all image files on your Gnome desktop, there’s a way to set it as default.

To start, open up the “activities” area in Gnome by pressing the Win key on the keyboard. Then search for “Default Applications” and open up the Default Applications area in Gnome.

Inside of the Default Applications area, find the “Photos” section. Then, once you’ve found it click on the drop-down menu to reveal its options.

Inside of the Default Applications drop-down menu, locate “gThumb” and click on it with the mouse. After clicking on “gThumb” in the list, the Gnome desktop will defer to it to handle all photo files that are on your Linux system.

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