A new look at the Ubuntu Unity desktop. Some new features.

Posted: February 15, 2012. At: 6:09 PM. This was 6 years ago. Post ID: 2719

Unity appearance settings dialog.
Unity appearance settings dialog.

I will admit that I have dumped on the Unity desktop in the past, and most of the flak it has copped has been well deserved. I thought I would take a look at the latest features that the developers have put into the Unity desktop. I am looking at the Ubuntu 12.04 desktop with the latest updates. The first thing I wanted to look at is the ability to shrink the Unity sidebar allowing for more desktop space. And you may also choose whether to auto-hide the sidebar for even more desktop real estate, and the sensitivity can be adjusted as well, this makes the Unity desktop a little more like Gnome Shell. This provides even more customisation for the Unity desktop that badly needed it. If you could keep the Unity sidebar auto-hidden and install a proper dock like Docky or a similar utility, then the desktop could look just like a Macintosh OSX desktop. The Unity desktop interface with all of the latest updates is very fast indeed, I am using Firefox and vlc at the moment and everything is very slick and speedy. Sure this interface is just a copy of the Macintosh OSX desktop and it is very different to the Gnome 2.32.2 desktop that preceded it, but it is the future of the Ubuntu desktop whether we like it or not.

Adjusting the size of the Unity sidebar.
Adjusting the size of the Unity sidebar.

There is a monitor icon on the far right end of the Unity top panel, this when clicked will open a menu containing the system menu, this allows access to the System Settings menu, Displays, Startup Applications as well as the Lock Screen, Log Out, Suspend and Shut Down menus allowing quick access in a hurry. I just wish that this desktop had a quick window switching feature like the Gnome Shell desktop. If Unity uses the Compiz OpenGL acceleration backend, I am sure there is some way to set this up. Actually the Windows Key + s switches to the Compiz expo mode that displays all windows on all workspaces and then you double click on a window to zoom into that window and resume what action you were performing in that application. There is a list of the Unity keyboard shortcuts on this webpage. http://askubuntu.com/questions/28086/what-are-unitys-keyboard-and-mouse-shortcuts. I would prefer to be able to sweep the mouse up to one corner of the screen to enter expo mode and switch windows, but the keyboard shortcuts are better than nothing. I am not telling anyone that they should use the Ubuntu Unity desktop, I am just telling you about the new features that you might be interested in.

1 responses to “A new look at the Ubuntu Unity desktop. Some new features.

Sooner or later you have to be tninkihg about moving Linux to the business desktop. The factors of software cost, of reliability, of virus protection have become so powerful that you have to at least think about it a little. You probably haven’t done anything about it yet, but maybe it’s time for a little investigation. This book is an excellent place to start, and for two reasons. First, you probably haven’t started to play with Linus yet. You have your PC on your desk, it’s (finally) working the way you want, you don’t want to go put Linux on it and screw everything up. Solution: the CD included with this book has Linux on it in a version that will run off of the CD. You can start playing with Linux on your own desktop without screwing it up. Second, the writer is oriented to tninkihg like managers. He discusses such things as the true cost of ownership. What does a visit from tech support really cost? What about the cost of a hit from a virus that puts your call center down? He talks about Linux, not as a teckie, but as a manager who really is concerned about his people getting some use out of their PC’s. This is a good place to at least start your tninkihg.

Leave a Reply