[Linux] Customize Ubuntu’s Unity desktop environment with MyUnity

unityUnity has been around for a few releases by now and with every single release, Canonical guts customization a little more. With Ubuntu 12.04 you weren’t allowed to set the Unity launcher to auto-hide anymore, and with 12.10 it became increasingly confusing for new users to customize Unity. That’s where MyUnity comes in. MyUnity puts the customization back into Ubuntu’s Unity desktop shell.

WHAT IS IT AND WHAT DOES IT DO

Main Functionality

MyUnity is a tool that will help you better customize almost every aspect of Ubuntu’s Unity desktop environment.

Pros

  • Easily change your icons in the Ubuntu desktop (something that Canonical has made harder with every release)
  • Changing the panel’s opacity level is very simple
  • Allows you to change the app blur around items in the Unity panel
  • Lets you change the font and the Unity icon’s background color
  • Allows for the re-enabling of desktop icons (home folder etc)
  • Allows for the changing of Ubuntu desktop themes

Cons

  • For more advanced Unity tweaking you still need to install CompizConfigManager, a separate program
  • Does not allow you to re-enable the Unity ‘window dodge’ feature that Canonical removed (another thing you need CompizConfigManager to re-enable)

Discussion

myunityyI’m not too big a fan of Ubuntu’s Unity desktop, but I’m not the type of person to stick with one singular desktop (though I find myself in XFCE for the most part), so at times I’ve re-visited Unity. Each time I come back to Unity, with every release, I find that it is increasingly harder and harder to customize. Ever since 12.04 I’ve needed to install MyUnity. MyUnity has made it so I don’t have to mess with configuration files and entries to change things like Desktop icons.

I don’t necessarily hate Unity, but I’m not a huge fan of the fact that someone has to make a utility that you need to download if you want to customize your Unity desktop. MyUnity does a great job at allowing you to personalize your Unity experience, but it doesn’t do some of the advanced tweaks to Unity. You’ll need more advanced tools and tweaking techniques for that kind of thing.

MyUnity is a great tool for Unity fans, especially the kind of fans of Unity that were a bit bummed that they needed to download and install dconf editor just to change an icon theme. That’s pretty pathetic on Canonical’s part, but, MyUnity makes up for that along with a lot of other features you’d think Unity would allow out of the box.

I find myself downloading the faenza  icon pack after every install of Ubuntu. With Unity, the faenza pack looks extremely beautiful, and it’s a relief that MyUnity makes it so easy for me to set up. Among other things, I was glad that MyUnity makes it easy to restore desktop icons, change your dash color, panel backlight color, font, display effects and so much more.

After all that I like about MyUnity, it doesn’t go without some criticism  I’m not that happy that after all MyUnity offers, I still need to install CompizConfigManager to bring back some of the features of the Unity panel. The features (that I think are really important) that Canonical has decided to remove. Other than those critiques, I really have no other problems with MyUnity. It’s a very great utility and companion to your Unity desktop. It’s almost essential to make Unity usable for me.

CONCLUSION AND DOWNLOAD LINK

If you’re a heavy Unity desktop user and you’re really disappointed with the lack of customization options, you really need to check out MyUnity. It allows you to better customize your Unity experience, and it’s a wonderful tool to use. If you’re a Ubuntu Unity user, this program is a must.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 3.1.3

Supported OS: Ubuntu 11.04+

Supports software repositories: In all official Ubuntu software repositories

Download size: 2.1 MB

Is it portable? No

MyUnity homepage

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6 comments

  1. Derrik
    Author/Staff

    [@AFPhy6] Personally, I use XFCE. I feel it’s the best DE, but by all means, if you’re interested in a more modernized classic experience, try out cinnamon.

    However, you should force yourself to use Unity for at least a week. I know I hated it at first, but now I don’t find it that bad after a few tweaks.

  2. Col. Panek

    [@AFPhy6] I like Cinnamon, but you can install Mate afterwards and swap between them, just log out then back in. Same price for both!
    Also, the link you referenced is for the Debian edition, which is not based on Ubuntu so you can’t use the Ubuntu repositories; but .deb packages work. I have it on one machine and it had some broken packages a year or 2 ago, but seems to be better now. Not having to reinstall every upgrade might be a selling point.

  3. AFPhy6

    About an hour ago, I checked out Mint/Debian. Considering downloading it tonight.

    Would you recommend the MATE or Cinnamon desktop? I am kind of a retro kind of guy, so I believe Cinnamon would suit me better, but I would appreciate your opinion if you have one.

    (I’m not really crazy about Unity, myself)