How To Change The Settings Of Ubuntu Unity With CompizConfig Settings Manager

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ubuntu unity settingsUbuntu‘s latest release, version 11.04, brings with it a completely new desktop interface called Unity. Its release has received mixed reviews, though honestly it comes down to taste. There is never a piece of software that literally¬†everyone likes, and Unity is a good example of that. But if you do like it, congratulations! Aside from a functional desktop, you’ll have a number of configuration tools at your fingertips to modify Ubuntu Unity settings.

Installing CompizConfig Settings Manager

As Unity is actually an extension of the Compiz Window Manager, you’ll be able to find the Unity plugin in the CompizConfig Settings Manger. By default, however, it is not currently installed. For easy installation, just click here. The link will prompt the package manager to install the package for you. You can also fire up the Synaptic Package Manager and type in

compizconfig-settings-manager

. You’ll see it along with another package called “simple-ccsm“. You can install either of these packages; they are virtually identical.

If you wish to use the terminal, you can use the commands

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

or

sudo apt-get install simple-ccsm

to install the correct package.

ubuntu unity settings

Once that completes, you can launch the Dash and begin typing in “

compiz

“, and the settings manager will appear for you to select. Once that opens, you can scroll down to the “Desktop” section of plugins, where you will find the plugin for Unity. Click on it, and you’ll have some options that you can configure.

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ubuntu unity configuration

Configuring Unity

In the Behaviour tab you’ll find a couple of options that pertain to, well, the behavior of Unity, specifically the dock on the left side. You can choose the Reveal Mode as well as when the Launcher (Dock) should hide itself. Below those options are configuration keyboard shortcuts for various tasks.

ubuntu unity configuration

When you click on the Experimental tab, you’ll find a couple more options than in the last tab. Although I find that the options you can configure in this tab wouldn’t be something drastic, there is most likely a reason why it’s the “Experimental” tab, so be cautioned with what you change here.

Except for one, all of the options in this tab affect the dock. Changing the Backlight Mode will change whether the background of the icons in the dock are colored all the time, only when the application is open, or never. The Launch Animation option can change what happens to the icon when you click on it. The Urgent Animation is when an application is trying to get your attention, such as when someone mentions your nick on XChat, a program for IRC. You can also change the Panel Opacity, Launcher icon size, and Hide Animation. The Dash Blur option lets you choose what kind of blur you want for the dash, which is the window that appears when you click on the Ubuntu logo in the top left corner.

ubuntu unity settings

Conclusion

Unity is a good desktop shell that is capable of letting you easily get your work done. With a nice selection of customization options, you can easily tune Unity to your liking so that it works how you want it to work. That way it can stay out of the way so you can get your work done efficiently.

For more information about the latest Ubuntu release and Unity, you can check out Justin’s post here.

What do you think about Unity? Are you using it or going to use it, or are you deferring to a different desktop shell or environment? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Wikipedia

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6 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Roy

These were among the first steps I took after upgrading. To be honest, I was hoping this article was going to cover something more than the CCSM options (e.g., a way to move the launcher/dock anywhere one might like it), but I’m glad to see these tips being articulated for those who haven’t discovered them. Good article.

I personally set my launcher to autohide by default and made it as small as possible. And even though there are reasons that the launcher can’t be moved (such as the notion that its placement unifies the interface), I really do think it would be more convenient if we could move it elsewhere on the desktop. It almost reflects an Apple-esque “We know what you need in your user interface better than you do” attitude.

RichieB07

It’s only like that for now because of how new it is. When 11.10 comes out I’m sure you’ll be able to move around. Mark Shuttleworth said that they’re going to be working on a lot more for 11.10 and that Unity should be near perfect by then.

Roy

¬†I definitely hope you’re right.

Danny Stieben

RichieB07 is partially right. This new vision for Unity hasn’t existed for very long, so Unity itself isn’t _that_ mature yet. On the other hand, Mark Shuttleworth did mention a couple of times that the dock can’t be moved because it’ll break things the designers wanted to have close to each other. For example, they wanted the Ubuntu button and the dock next to each other, and they felt that it would break their design if the button was still in that corner but the dock was on the right side. Don’t ask me why, but that’s what they said.

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Pat Ryan

¬†I decided to stick with the Ubuntu Classic desktop because I can find the apps I’m looking for easier. They are organized more intuitively. And I also noticed that the apps open quicker. Unity seems to use more system resources than Classic, at least on my computer.

Reply

Christian

The new Ubuntu Unity is
not really usable out of the box, but I could tweak it to suit my own
preferences. For my part I changed the following:

1. Disable the global
menu (Appmenu)

It can be removed this
way: sudo apt-get remove indicator-appmenu appmenu-gtk

The menu will be back
within the window of the application.

2. Where is my
scrollbar?

The new overlay toolbar
can be removed as follows: sudo apt-get remove overlay-scrollbar
liboverlay-scrollbar-0.1-0

The scrollbars is
back.

3. Need a quick access
menu?

Install Cardapio
(https://launchpad.net/cardapio).

You can even add it to
the launcher, it works great (see
http://www.ubuntuvibes.com/2011/05/get-best-of-both-worldsyour-own.html).
Instructions from this site to create the launcher:

Create a new text file with the code below, name it
Cardapio.desktop and copy it to ~/.local/share/applications

[Desktop Entry]

Version=1.0

Type=Application

Terminal=false

Exec=cardapio

Name=menu

Icon=gnome-main-menu

Now drag it to the Unity launcher, move it all the way to the top
and pin it on the launcher. Click on it and you will have your new
menu. But it is still at the center.
(refer to above
site for further tweaking like location on the screen)

4. Start windows
un-maximized.

In Compiz Settings goto
Place Windows and change Placement Mode from “Smart” to
“Centered”. It seems to remember
the last time it was opened either maximized or not.

I still need a way to
figure out which windows are currently open. Something different from
pressing ALT TAB.

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