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ubuntu unityEasily 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 4 Things You'll Love About Ubuntu 12.04 4 Things You'll Love About Ubuntu 12.04 The new version of Ubuntu–12.04, codename "Precise Pangolin"– is officially here. 12.04 improves on Unity's strengths, and addresses some of your old complaints. It's fast, includes new features desktop users will love, and, as always,... Read More , 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 4 Simple Tools For Tweaking Ubuntu's Look & Feel [Linux] 4 Simple Tools For Tweaking Ubuntu's Look & Feel [Linux] Do you like Ubuntu, but wish it behaved differently? Don't worry, there are a variety of ways to tweak Ubuntu to your liking. It's been a key criticism since the launch of Unity, that Ubuntu... Read More , and those tools offer more than a few tweaks. So does Ubuntu Tweak Change Hard-to-Find Ubuntu Settings Easily With Ubuntu Tweak [Linux] Change Hard-to-Find Ubuntu Settings Easily With Ubuntu Tweak [Linux] Tweak the way Ubuntu behaves, easily. Whether you want to stop Ubuntu from locking your screen or change your 3D desktop settings, Ubuntu Tweak is the easy way to access the Ubuntu settings that are... Read More and the Compiz Settings Manager How To Change The Settings Of Ubuntu Unity With CompizConfig Settings Manager How To Change The Settings Of Ubuntu Unity With CompizConfig Settings Manager Ubuntu'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... Read More , 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.

Using MyUnity

MyUnity’s interface isn’t conventional. It includes a (largely decorative) top banner where the “tabs” would normally be:

ubuntu unity

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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.

linux ubuntu unity

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.

linux ubuntu unity

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.

linux ubuntu unity

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:

configure ubuntu unity

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.

configure ubuntu unity

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.

ubuntu unity

That about covers what this app can do, for now. Stay tuned – more options could show up.

Installing MyUnity

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.

Conclusion

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.

  1. Caroline West
    October 26, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Thanks Justin.....getting ready in a couple of hours to install Ubuntu back into my NetBook and your article is a good reminder of what's got to be done for getting it look spic & span :-)

    Off topic...Do I need to remove my Windows 'Ready Boost' stick when boot into Ubuntu??

    • Justin Pot
      October 26, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      I don't think you need to remove it, but I also don't think you can use it.

    • Caroline West
      October 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      Ok. I figured that it wouldn't work but wanted to make sure it wouldn't cause a disruption by leaving it in. Thanks!

  2. Shawn Ashree Baba
    July 18, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    First thing I downloaded once I got Ubuntu.

  3. Eric
    June 21, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Unsttings is a great tool to autohide launcher

    http://www.florian-diesch.de/software/unsettings/

    • Justin Pot
      June 21, 2012 at 11:48 pm

      Does it work? I'm going to have to look into this. Thanks for the tip!

    • Eric
      June 22, 2012 at 2:13 am

      Yes, Unsettings works great. It has quite a few features and seems very stable. I have been using it for about 2 months now with no problems. I originally installed it so I could turn off the global menu placing the application menus back in the applications.

  4. David Commini
    June 20, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    I'll have to give this a look and then comment back here on how well I think it works. I just upgraded to 12.04 (like less than 12 hours ago) after having 10.04. I stopped at each upgrade (10.10, 11.04, and 11.10) to familiarize myself somewhat before the final stop. I used gnome themes to change a few things but this seems like it is more in depth.

    Lastly, I am looking for an option similar to AWN that allows the launcher to hide when there is an open window, but is visible when its just my desktop. I'll write back soon after I've given My Unity a spin.

    • David Commini
      June 20, 2012 at 10:01 pm

      Gave it a spin and I think it is better than gnome tweak. There is still a ways to go to reach the same level as customization as gnome, but I think it is a pretty good start. Although, I am still looking for something with a feature that will have an auto-hide function for the launcher.

    • Justin Pot
      June 20, 2012 at 11:34 pm

      It will be interesting to see which other tweaks are added to this as time goes on. Not sure how to make the auto-hide feature like it was before, but I'll look into it and let you know.

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