The smoothest way to install a new desktop environment, such as GNOME, is to wait for the distribution-blessed packages —or, failing that, depend on the kindness of strangers whove compiled binaries for your platform and have made them available for download.
However, for those who would rather not wait or whod otherwise prefer to take matters into their own hands—this is half the fun of open source, after all—the process of fetching and compiling GNU Network Object Model Environment is made much easier with Garnome, which eWeek Labs used while testing GNOME 2.2 (see review, GNOME 2.2).
Garnome is an open-source, command-line tool for automating the GNOME source code download and compile process, much like the Konstruct tool that we used while testing KDE 3.1 last month. (See eWeek Labs Feb. 10 look at Konstruct.)Garnome can be used to compile and install K Desktop Environment as well.
Garnome connects to the Internet, selects a mirror, downloads GNOME packages and compiles them. As with Konstruct, the only problem we experienced with the process was when our mirror connections timed out. This derailed the process and required us to start the tool up again, at which time Garnome picked things up where it left off.
We used Garnome to install GNOME 2.2 in the home directory of a test user wed created, which left our existing GNOME installation unmolested. After the process was finished, we had trouble figuring out how to launch our new GNOME 2.2 sessions from the KDE log-in screen on the SuSE 8.1 system we were using, so we opted to ditch the graphical log-in and start GNOME from the command line.
For more information or to download Garnome, check out www.gnome.org/~jdub/garnome.