Use a desktop-oriented form factor of Unity instead of GNOME Shell in the Natty Narwhal

Registered by Kenny Strawn

I'm sure you've already heard the news that GNOME is headed towards 3.0, and even though it has been delayed twice, now GNOME cannot turn back: The 2.91.0 release is already out, and we now know for certain that GNOME has got it rolling for a 3.0 release in 2011.

Slight problem: The GNOME 3.0 default UI, called GNOME Shell, conflicts with Ubuntu's branding. On top of this, Mark Shuttleworth absolutely does NOT agree, according to an article that was posted on (although it was on an external site and simply linked to LQ via the Syndicated News forum), that GNOME Shell is easy to use. The desktop shell, especially in the Ubuntu community, has received so many criticisms that virtually no one truly appreciates it.

Here's my solution to the problem: Create a desktop-oriented form factor of Unity that supports the following features:

 * A floating Unity Dash that can be moved to all edges of the screen
 * Floating, overlapping windows with their title bars and controls on them, not on the top panel
 * The home screen consolidated into a simple pop-down menu that extends down from the top left of the screen and allows you access to your programs and desktop search

Basically turn Unity into a UI that can match and exceed the OS X user interface in regards to visual effects (such as transparency and Mutter-like effects). Of course, this would be for the desktop edition, not the netbook edition.

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Mark Shuttleworth
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Mark Shuttleworth
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Maybe just integrating a dock (as docky, Awn, or other) with gnome shell will make it more usable ( there is a gnome shell extension providing a dock). More of that, Gnome Shell isn't finished yet, and according to his roadmap on the gnome website ( ), his UI will change.
Then, but this is just my point of view, I love Gnome shell, All I really miss is the general "notification place" of ubuntu (with me-menu, app indicators....), and the Ubuntu notifications. (I use docky).
That's why I think that using Gnome Shell in Ubuntu, maybe not 11.04, could really be very positive.

10/25/10 amano - I think that the possibility should be discussed to keep the old top panel and improve the user experience by shipping docky oder awn at the bottom. The top panel may look a bit plain but it is widely accepted to be good. Don't fix what is not broken?

10/25/10 aharper - As long as the user has the final say on the user experience on their PC, the default form of the UI, while important, is not a deal breaker. It is ultimately up to our friends at Canonical to determine the default UI for Ubuntu, and they are selecting this to provide the richest, smoothest, Ubuntu-branded experience possible. If you good folks think this is what the future UI looks like, lets see what you got. You have not significantly steered us wrong yet.

10/26/10 liso-v22 - Users have always complained about the lack of proper icon alignment in Gnome, this would be a great opportunity to fix this and other old gnome problems in the process of bringing Unity to the desk.

10/27/10 autocrosser--I have been using GS from the very early days & without a lower dock--GS will not work for me--currently using AWN at the bottom. With a dock, GS meets my day-to-day needs. A upper panel serves no real use for my workflow.

I think this (the original request) has basically been done: There is a desktop-oriented version of Unity shipped by default *and* a user can of course install whatever they want from the rest of the repositories. -sladen 2011-10-14


Work Items