Natty Tweaks

Overall think the Unity Desktop is a decent interface. There are some aspects I find intolerable however.

Issue One
Unity moves the Application Menus from the top of the application window to the Unity top bar. Maybe I could get used to this but I don’t want to. Turns out there’s a relatively simple fix. Open a terminal and:

sudo mv /usr/lib/indicators/5/ /usr/lib/indicators/5/

Then press alt-f2 (don’t open a terminal for this) and enter:

unity --replace

to restart Unity.

Issue Two
Next on my dislike hit parade is the new Dash menu. It’s sort of a cross between the KDE 4 Menu (which I also dislike) and Gnome Do which I don’t use. Gnome Do is great if you know the name of the program you what to run, but darn near useless otherwise. There are several possible approaches to addressing this one. Unfortunately, none of them are particularly elegant. Here they are in order of decreasing preference:

  1. Add a rather nice menu called cardapio to the Unity Launcher. Open a terminal and:

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cardapio-team/unstable
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install cardapio

    Now, to create a Launcher entry for Cardapio, copy the following and paste it into the command line of a terminal then press enter.

    echo "[Desktop Entry] Version=1.0
    Exec=cardapio show-near-mouse
    Icon=gnome-main-menu" | tee ~.local/share/applications/cardapio.desktop

    Alternatively, a usable cardapio.desktop file is available here:

    In whichever path approach you choose, move the resulting launcher to the ~./local/share/applications folder. Finally drag and drop the cardapio.desktop file onto the Unity Launcher and you are done. Of course Dash is still there you just won’t be using it.

  2. Add a new AppMenu Launcher to the Unity Launcher. First you need to install the package gnome-main-menu. So open a terminal and:

    sudo apt-get install gnome-main-menu

    Next, right click anywhere on the desktop and select Create Launcher. In the Name box enter Menu.desktop. In the Command box enter /usr/lib/gnome-main-menu/application-browser. Click on the icon box and browse to /usr/share/icons/Breathe/scalable/places/gnome-main-menu.svg. The result should look something like this:

    Then move the resulting launcher to ~/.local/share/applications. After you have moved it, drag the launcher from there and drop in on to your Unity Launcher. Here’s what the menu looks like:

    The downside of the approach is that your new menu does not have the applications that appear under System&Preferences in the Classic Gnome Menu. To access those, click the shut-down icon at the right end of the Unity Top Bar.

    Then select System Settings from the menu that drops down. (It’s the bottom item in the menu)

  3. Add a small dock like AWN or Cairo that contains only the Gnome Menu. Install AWN (see how-to page on this site) add only the Menu Widget, move it to the lower left corner near the Unity Launcher, and set to to Intelli-hide. The only problem, it’s definitely not clean or elegant.
  4. Add a Classic style Gnome Menu to your systray. Open a terminal window and run:

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:diesch/testing
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install classicmenu-indicator

    Exit the terminal and press Alt+F2 and enter


    This might be my favorite option if I could get it to work properly which I can’t so far…Okay so I have an icon in the systray that does open classicmenu but it’s the wrong icon. It’s a Block Left Arrow instead of the Ubuntu Logo even though the classmenu-indicator has the correct one. Also some of the icons in the menu itself are huge. One of them takes up nearly 1/3 of the vertical space on my screen. Even worse, about half the time when I reboot the menu doesn’t work at all.

Issue Three
The limited icons in the systray. To fix this open a terminal and

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

after the install type


into the text box.

On the panel that appears, navigate to:

desktop -> unity -> panel

Replace the “systray-whitelist” <…current-list-of-programs…> with <all>

Then press alt-f2 (don’t open a terminal for this) and enter:

unity --replace

to restart Unity.

Issue four
The overlay scroll bar was the Natty feature I kept longest. I finally got tired of hunting for the overlay and missing it with my mouse. You can remove the packages that provide this functionality, but this is a bad idea. Instead, just add another entry to be loaded for the X session:

sudo su
echo "export LIBOVERLAY_SCROLLBAR=0" > /etc/X11/Xsession.d/82disablescrollbars

Then restart and you should have the classic scroll bars back

Note: If that fails (and it did on some of my systems) you can remove a couple of packages. Open a terminal and:

sudo apt-get remove overlay-scrollbar liboverlay-scrollbar-0.1-0

Then restart x or just restart.


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