Tag Archives: unity

[HOWTO] Disable Unity Interface and restore original (classic) interface in Ubuntu Natty Narwhal

Unity interface is the default interface in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. It consists of the dock and launchers. However, if you don’t like the dock, animations and the interface as a whole, you can just disable it and login to Ubuntu Classic Desktop.

Logout and type in(or select) your username and in the bottom panel, select “Ubuntu Classic Desktop” instead of “Ubuntu Desktop Edition”. When you login next time, the same will be selected by default.

To re-enable Unity interface, just select “Ubuntu Desktop Edition” during login.

Compiz in November 27 daily build of Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal

I just used zsync to download the latest daily build of Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. It features Ubuntu Unity Plugin for Compiz among other changes.

Compiz version is 0.9.2 and it features several plugins by default for functionality and effects. However, extra plugins are not available in current repository (0.8.6 version is available, which breaks 0.9.2)

Clicking the Workspace Switcher icon on Unity brings up Expo interface and it is easy to switch to another workspace and move windows between workspaces.

You can enable autohide in Unity by installing compizconfig-settings-manager:

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

After it is installed, you can launch it by pressing Alt+F2 to bring up the Run Application Dialog and then typing in ccsm.

The hidden unity dock can be brought back by putting mouse over the Ubuntu icon in the top left corner.

It also features a global menu (indicator-appmenu) which removes the menu bar from the applications and puts it up on the top panel. The menu shown is the menu of the application in focus. This feature is similar to Mac OS X. However, only GTK Applications are supported currently. This means, Openoffice and Firefox are not supported till date.

The current interface lacks an easy way to launch applications (it has to be done via Alt+F2 if compiz is enabled), compiz crashes a lot, sometimes when opening up Appearance Preferences, sometimes when changing compiz settings and sometimes just while doing something arbitrary.

Currently compiz in Natty is far from being perfect, but this is quite some change considering the fact that even the final relase is scheduled in April 28, 2011. The first alpha however, should arrive shortly and hope we see something better.

Unity shell to be the default user interface for Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal

Mark Shuttleworth, at the Ubuntu Developer Summit held on October 25th 2010, has announced that the next version of Ubuntu i.e. Natty Narwhal, which is scheduled to be released in April 2011, will feature Unity Shell as the default interface. The Unity Shell was introduced in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Netbook Edition.

Additionally, since Mutter has been disappointing, they have decided to change the Window manager to Compiz in Unity interface for Natty. Shuttleworth also emphasized on commitment to use Zeitgeist, which was declared earlier to be a part of Gnome 3 but later rejected.

Shuttleworth said that this change is the most significant change ever for Ubuntu. With control button moved to the left and several small modifications to the default Gnome interface, Ubuntu seemed to part away from the default Gnome interface. This change will help it even more. However, Shuttleworth has emphasized that Ubuntu is still committed to Gnome and these changes will encourage innovation and benefit the Gnome ecosystem.

Since Gnome Shell is still not ready for prime time and Gnome 3 is not coming anytime soon, this change may be refreshing for many Ubuntu users. But Ubuntu can also lose users that are committed to Gnome in the long run. Also, since people resist change, they may want to change the look and feel back to the original Gnome and continue to use Ubuntu. However, many users may move to other distros which use Gnome as is and are contributing in the development of Gnome Shell instead.

Personally, I think this change was required. The Gnome 2.x interface is too old and many users already use docks like Avant Window Navigator or Docky and remove the bottom panel anyways. If Gnome 3 would have made it by now, there would be not much reasons to choose Unity over Gnome 3. However, that is not the case and Unity will provide a visual and usability refresh for those who were bored with similar look and feel. Also, the Compiz Project, which is one of the wonderful things that have happened to Desktop Linux will continue living with the endorsement of Ubuntu.

There will be disappointed people who will speak against the change. But we have always opposed change and will continue to do so. Computerizing your workplace, upgrading from Windows 9x to NT or moving from Windows to Linux, all of these are/were not easy but once it is done, it feels way better. As a Linux user, I am all for positive changes, diversity and innovation.