Easily configure Ubuntu‘s Unity, without causing crashes and instability. MyUnity is an application for customizing Ubuntu’s interface and is so stable and easy to use, it’s included in the default Ubuntu repositories.
If there’s one thing commenters complained about when I reviewed Ubuntu 11.04, it’s the lack of customization options. And they’re right – while more things can be tweaked than in prior versions of Unity, the customization options are nothing compared to KDE 4 or Gnome 2.
There are a few ways to tweak things, however. I’ve shown you 4 simple tools for tweaking Ubuntu’s feel, and those tools offer more than a few tweaks. So does Ubuntu Tweak and the Compiz Settings Manager, but with great power comes great potential for messing things up.
MyUnity is a compromise between all-access applications – which can be risky and difficult to use – and the default Ubuntu configurations tools – which hardly allow for any customization. Some often requested tweaks – including custom fonts and rearranging the virtual desktops – are made easy with this tool. Others, such as moving the location of the Unity launcher, are sadly not. Still, it’s a tool worth checking out if you like to tweak.
MyUnity’s interface isn’t conventional. It includes a (largely decorative) top banner where the “tabs” would normally be:
Using the program isn’t complicated. Just pick your section and make your tweaks. Changes should be visible immediately.
So what can this application change? To find out, let’s move through the tabs from left to right. First up: launcher tweaks.
You can change the background color of the launcher, as well as its transparency and size. Obvious enough. Do you hate the Lego-inspired colors behind the launcher icons? Turn off “highlighting” to remove them.
Much better. You can also tweak the animations, whether the launcher is hidden or always shown and when device icons show up.
Next up: the dash.
You can turn off the available apps in the menu and the recent apps on the main screen. You can also configure the “blur” effect, which some complain wastes processing/graphics power for no reason. Finally, you can set the dash size to Desktop, Netbook or Automatic (the default setting which attempts to guess which sort of system you’re using).
There’s not much you can configure about the panel: you can make it transparent and set whether it stays transparent when you maximize a window.
When it comes to the desktop, there are a few more settings:
Ubuntu doesn’t include any icons on the desktop by default; you can change this easily here, as seen above. You can also configure window animations and change the number of virtual desktops available. This often-requested feature gives you complete control over the number and location of virtual desktops.
It should be obvious to you what you can change in the font panel: the system fonts. Change them to whatever you want.
The themes section is similarly obvious. Here you can change your system theme and your icon theme.
That about covers what this app can do, for now. Stay tuned – more options could show up.
Ready to install MyUnity? All you need to do, if you’re using Ubuntu 12.04, is install the package “myunity“.
Not sure what that means? Simply click here to install MyUnity, then. It’s easy.
Can MyUnity configure everything? No. But it can configure a number of things that are hard to by default, and it’s very easy to use. For these reasons I’d recommend checking it out and playing with it.
Do you know a better tool for the job? Feel free to share it in the comments below. I love learning from our readers so join the discussion.
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