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Monday, March 25, 2013

How to run Gnome Panels in Unity (Ubuntu 12.10)

If you are like me and can't understand why Ubuntu removed our so loved Gnome panels (taskbar), but you also enjoy some of the new features that come with Unity, here's a possible solution (I say possible because is one of many).

I opted for running both, Unity and gnome-panels at the same time. This way I can use the quick launch and search of apps and files from Unity, while also able to view running apps and the familiar menu from Gnome.

Here's what my desktop looks like. You can see my gnome-panel running on the bottom:

And here's my gnome-panel "dock" on the left (on top of my Unity launcher, but you can't see it):

And my Unity dash/launcher enabled:

This setup works pretty well as I have virtually disabled the Unity launcher to give space to my gnome-panel launcher. 

Here's how I did it.

1- Make sure you have gnome gnome-panel installed (it comes by default on 12.10):

$ dpkg -l | grep gnome-panel | awk '{print $1 , $2 , $3}'
ii gnome-panel 1:3.6.0-0ubuntu2
ii gnome-panel-data 1:3.6.0-0ubuntu2

Note: Steps 2 and 3 are only needed if you want to use a gnome-panel where the Unity launcher bar is.

2- Change the size of the Unity launcher icons to the smallest possible (System Settings => Appearance):

3- On the same window under "Behaviour", make the following changes

- Auto-hide the launcher - On
- Reveal location - Top left corner
- Reveal sensitivity - Low

With this settings your Unity launcher will only be active when using a Unity keyboard shortcut (like calling the dash, launcher or HUD).

4- Add "/usr/bin/gnome-panel" to your Startup Applications

5- Make sure you are using the Ubuntu default session (which includes Unity)

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