Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hating (and Fixing) Natty's Unity

As a Ubuntu user on my primary home computer, i wanted the updated OS (Natty Narwhal 11.04) with newer 2.6.38 kernel for various updates, fixes, and Wacom compatibility. Sure some of these updates I had "patched" but that wasn't good enough.

I rebooted into Unity... It didn't seem so bad at first -- I'm also a Mac OSX user at work and it was very similar, albeit a poor, implementation of that. (I even have my dock on the left.)

After about 20 minutes I was no longer liking unity. But i wanted to enable my rotating desktop and continue to review unity. I ran the compizconfig-settings-manager from the menu, turned on the rotating cube effect, and thus began to completely bork unity. I lost the frames first and eventually lost the dock and title bar also.

Alt-tab and desktop switching was lost too and I was soon out of usability of my system. The only thing that really saved me was i already had "nautilus-open-terminal" installed so i was able to right-click the desktop for the terminal window.

It took awhile to search for the fixes, so I'll list them. You'll need to have the compiz settings manager installed:
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

It took quite awhile to find the command to launch it. In the terminal, run:

Go to "preferences" toward the bottom left, and either select "default" or re-select "unity" this should re-load the frames, but i was forced to "sudo reboot" to get everything in order.

At this point, I non-verbally begged for gnome again. Again, it took awhile, but I found i could select the default interface by running
from the terminal and selecting "Ubuntu Classic". This is already available for you if you have to login, but I had setup auto-login so it was not selectable for me.

Once I was rebooted again I followed the suggestions from to remove Unity completely and will unlikely attempt it again.

Also, I like the new overlay scrollbar, but often enough it slows effeciency down due to having to locate the scroll area; therefore, I zapped it from existence too:
sudo apt-get purge liboverlay-scrollbar-*