Easily Configure Ubuntu’s Unity Interface With Confity [Linux]

Justin Pot 01-06-2011

ubuntu unityCustomize Ubuntu’s new Unity desktop, all from an easy-to-use interface. Confity allows you to re-enable the Ubuntu system tray, resize or hide Ubuntu’s dock and remove the Fisher-Price color scheme.


I called Ubuntu 11.04 a big step foward for Linux, Ubuntu 11.04 Unity - A Big Leap Forward For Linux It's here. The newest version of Ubuntu sports an entirely new user interface: Unity. It also includes a much-improved Software Center, alongside the usual updates for the thousands of free programs Ubuntu offers. Canonical decided... Read More but not everyone agrees. Ubuntu’s Unity interface is brand new, and reaction to it has been mixed to say the least. Love it or hate it, however, most people agree that it could be a lot easier to customize.

It’s understandable that every element of Unity cannot yet be configured; the system is brand new, and programmers were focused more on stability than adding options. Confity, despite it’s stupid name, does make it possible for the average user to quickly change settings, however, so it’s worth a look.

System Tray

The first option seen: re-enable the system tray completely. Ubuntu is trying to eliminate the many incompatible icons in the tray gathered over the years, but you might not be ready for the transition to indicators.

Luckily for you, Confity gives you the option to completely re-enable the system tray.


There are quite a few options in Confity related to the Unity dock:


ubuntu unity

An obvious perk is the ability to re-size the docks icons, which can really make the dock bigger or smaller overall. You can also turn off or change the icon animations, which some will appreciate.

My favorite tweak, though, is the ability to turn off the “Backlight.” Not sure what this means? That makes sense; it’s not obvious. It means, so you know, turning off the lego-colored blocks that you see. Turn it off and the colors are gone. An improvement, I think.


You can make the panel transparent, if you want. I did, and I like the look, but this is certainly more nifty than useful.



You’ll notice a pretty big section for tweaks:

ubuntu unity customize

What are these tweaks? Basically, you can add items to the right-click menu of various things on your system tray. For example, you can add playback controls to Banshee’s icon:

ubuntu unity customize


Keyboard Shortcuts

You can change Unity’s three main keyboard shortcuts, if you like. Some may not like the “super” button being so prominent, so change away. If nothing else you might learn the keyboard shortcuts.


Ready to make use of Confity? Installing random crap you find online is never a good idea; it’s always better to install stuff directly from the repositories. Sadly, Confity cannot be installed from any repo. It can however be found on SourceForge. Head to Confity’s SourceForge page and you’ll find some downloads. The source code is there, but you’ll probably find the .deb file easier to install, so download that. When you try to install the .deb file, you’ll see a warning. Remember: you are installing this program at your own risk. I didn’t run into any problems but you might.


I had fun changing my configuration, and ended up with this:

ubuntu unity


I shrank the launcher icons, turned off the launcher backlight and made the panel transparent. I think it’s an improvement over the default, but then again I’m the one who made the tweaks. That’s the best part of software like this; you can make things you already love even better.

What changes did you make? Share them in the comments below.

Related topics: Linux Distro, Ubuntu.

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  1. Allstar_playa89
    June 1, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Bleh I think I'm going to reformat my netbook again and switch back to Unity. How exactly can i get this in a more beginner-friendly method? I'm not exactly an expert at using Ubuntu and I installed Gnome 3 on it a couple of days ago.

    • jhpot
      June 1, 2011 at 8:50 pm

      It's pretty user friendly: just download .deb file; double-click to install. Or do you mean Unity?

      You probably still have it; just change the session when you log in. It will be at the bottom of the screen when you're entering your password. 

  2. Heather
    June 1, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    nice tutorial. My question is unrelated ... I like your desktop wallpaper. Where can I find it??

    • Luke Matthews
      June 1, 2011 at 5:50 pm

      Found it through a google image search. "Super Mario Brothers wallpaper" was what I searched for. If you click the screenshot on this page it'll download:

      [Broken URL Removed]

      • jhpot
        June 1, 2011 at 8:49 pm

        Responded in the wrong place; sorry about that. Thanks for the hand, Luke!