In April, Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) shipped with a new window manager called Ubuntu Unity. I tried to like it, really I did! But it just kept getting in my way. The Launcher made it harder for me to figure out what applications were running, the Mac-esque disappearing Global Menus were painful when I had several windows side-by-side, and the Dash forced me to know in advance what program I was looking for (recall is harder than recognition). What worries me about disabling it outright is that the upcoming release of Ubuntu (Oneiric Ocelot) will apparently not offer the classic window manager at all. In the meantime, I made the following changes to have a workable and consistent environment.
Disable Ubuntu Unity
To revert to the classic look and feel, select “Ubuntu Classic” from the Session select box in the bottom panel before you enter your password to login. You’ll only need to do this once. If Ubuntu automatically logs you in, “Log Out” using the on/off button in the upper-right and follow the previous instructions.
Disable overlay scrollbars
There are many reasons why these new scrollbars are frustrating, chief being the inconsistent deployment across applications, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was the orange scroll indicator obscuring what I was typing in gedit. Annoying!
Thankfully it’s easy to fix:
sudo apt-get remove overlay-scrollbar liboverlay-scrollbar-0.1-0
Disable snap resizing
In my opinion this is a usability nightmare. I frequently work with two windows open side by side. For example I’ll have the photo viewer (Eye of Gnome) on the right, sized-wide and gedit on the left, sized-narrow to take notes (e.g. photos I want to include in a blog post, captions, etc.). Since the top panel is a barrier that windows can’t cross, I usually just grab the window by its title bar and slam it to the top-left/right. But with “snap resizing” enabled (aka “Aero Snap”) the window frustratingly maximizes itself, and I have to start all over again, slowly and carefully. Grrr.
Thankfully this is also relatively easy to fix:
- Install the CompizConfig Settings Manager
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
ccsmin the terminal (or goto System > Preferences > CompizConfig Settings Manager)
- Scroll down to “Window Management” and uncheck “Grid”