Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Monday, October 14, 2019 at 23:44

 (Unity7 is still always be with Ubuntu even in this Eoan Ermine release)

This guide will explains installation of Unity desktop environment, the lovely user interface that dismissed since 2017, on Ubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine. Thanks to Dale and Khurshid Alam of Unity7 Maintainer Team, even today we can enjoy this Dash and HUD-powered desktop once again in latest Ubuntu version. I hope this article helps people who still love Unity just like myself. Let's go!

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1st. Install Unity

$ sudo apt-get install unity-session

Total size:

This installs all packages that provide Unity 7 desktop. These are stuffs that Unity7 Maintainer Team, leaded by Khurshid and Dale, working on.

2nd. Install Lenses

$ sudo apt-get install  unity-lense-applications unity-lense-files

Total size:
1MB or less.

This installs at least ability to search installed apps, and, a package needed by Unity Tweak Tool. 

3rd. Install Unity Tweak & CCSM

$ sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool compizconfig-settings-manager

5MB or less. 

This install Unity Tweak --that specifically helps you to tinker with the desktop-- and CCSM --to tinker with the window manager, our beloved Compiz--.

(Unity Tweak Tool appearing over Eoan's wallpaper Flight dive)

4th. Install Ambiance Theme

$ sudo apt-get install light-theme

1MB or less.

This brings both Ambiance and Radiance themes, the dark and light ones of Ubuntu 16.04, back to 19.10.

5th. Enable Theme and Animation

Run Unity Tweak and go to Themes section and enable Ambiance.

Run System Settings and go to Appearance and enable Workspace Switcher.

Run CCSM and make sure Animation is enabled, and Ubuntu Unity Plugin is also enabled.

Still at CCSM, enable Expo, and go to its Behavior > Animation > switch it to Zoom.

6th. Relogin

Logout and then login by selecting Unity as session choice at login screen.

7th. Testing

I'm glad I find out that Unity7 works well on my testing at 19.10. Working Unity desktop should looks like 16.04 once again but with 19.10 wallpaper on 19.10. Precisely, this means you should see the Dash menu, vertical panel, HUD, and Alt+Tab switcher all being transparent and not opaque.

A working Unity7 desktop on 19.10 Eoan Ermine looks like below with smooth drop shadow under black panel, window border, and icons:

Alt+Tab switcher looks nice with transparency:

Launcher, the vertical panel, looks transparent against windows below it:

Global Menu and Head's Up Display work with menubar-styled apps like Firefox, Rhythmbox, LibreOffice, GIMP, Inkscape, etc.:


Workspace switcher works well with animation:

Shortcomings and My Gratitude

I am aware that this tutorial doesn't include LightDM as I failed to enable it as default DM on this 19.10. So here I use built-in GDM3 instead. I am also aware that LightDM appearance is more suitable to Unity rather than GDM3's, but at the moment I don't know how to make it works. Do you know some workaround? Please add it on comment. Thanks!

One more shortcoming is that Unity System Settings still read OS name as 19.04 (Disco Dingo) and not 19.10 (Eoan Ermine). I guess this is only because Eoan at the time I write this article is still in development stage and I believe this will be corrected once it officially released.

Finally, I would love to say huge thanks to Unity7 Maintainer Team leaded by Dale and Khurshid and also good luck for you using Unity. Happy working!

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.