Hate Ubuntu’s Unity? Use Ubuntu Classic

I recently upgraded to Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal, only to immediately decide that I hated the new Unity windowing system. DON’T PANIC.

You can still use your wonderful Gnome-ness in Ubuntu with little hassle. When logging in, click on your user, and down in at the bottom there is a little selection box that says “Ubuntu”. Click on that box and select “Ubuntu Classic” and finish logging in.

There you go, Ubuntu without the terrible Unity Desktop! (Image courtesy of XPG4.net)


  1. I was finished upgrading this morning and I hated unity immediately after. I switched to ubuntu classic right away.

  2. I am dumbfounded! This has to sabotage. Replace the most simple, logical, desktop with one where you need to SEARCH for your applications???

    Who is trying to destroy Ubuntu? Is Ubuntu committing suicide? Is Microsoft behind this?




    There has to be foul play involved.

  3. I hate UNITY too.
    I want my desktop back, my cube, my cylinder and all the fancy things that made me turn to Ubuntu and I made others to turn to Ubuntu.
    I don’t want anybody to tell me how I work on my screen and cut me off my habits.
    I want improvements.
    Since I upgraded to 11.04 my graphics went slow or messed up altogether and OF COURSE compiz started to act funny, slow and became unusable.
    I think that Unity was made for dummy touch-pads, not for real computers.
    SOLUTION: I’ll turn back to my 10.4 WITH COMPIZ

  4. This is horrible!!!! I’ve used Ubuntu since Fiesty and it was great, I had everything right where I wanted it. So when checking through my repositories I noted there was an upgrade available, I thought, why not? So now I have this….. the side bar I can’t get rid of, the taskbar that’s only half-useable, my network monitor is gone, i have to ‘search’ for my applications, and all my windows are locked into place. When I tried looking for options to unlock the windows there weren’t any.. so I decided to reboot… and now even the side bay and task bar are missing. I had to search manually through my bin folder to find Fire Fox so that I could even search for an answer. Unity has failed me completely… I’m reinstalling Maverick Meercat.

  5. HUGE buttons, I can’t see the window list whitout loosing a major part of the desktop area. No notification icons area, what if I wasn’t near and did not read my email o my instant message, there’s no “biff” like app by default. Launching an app takes too long to display (Gnome-do and classic ubuntu desktop does it MUCH MUCH faster). Windows title bar, on the top of everything, COME ON! I took me a lot of time and effort to get used to the left windows buttons operations (close, minimize, etc), and one of the arguments for that change was: “Because you travel less distance with the mouse…” And what about now? If you have a small window on your lower right desktop, you have to travel ALL THE WAY to the top left, to active a menu! I HATE HATE HATE that. No coherence for the BIG changes on the desktop, just sloppy IMO.

  6. I agree. I dual-booted my MacBook with the new Ubuntu 11.04 and immediately thought “yuck” to the Unity interface. It strains my eyes after prolonged use for some reason. the classic Gnome interface is much more accessible and intuitive IMO. Already went into login settings and selected Ubuntu Classic as the default session. :]

  7. unity is real bad

  8. OMG, this UNITY desktop is horrible!!!

    I do like new things and want to try them, but it seems like everything I want to do in Unity requires a 2 hour google adventure with the command line and exotic fixes. arrgggg!

    I especially hate the file menu showing up all the way at the top of the desktop. My 1920×1080 32-inch monitor requires me to mouse allll the way up and then allll the wayyy down to use the menu. The is serious time-suck! Who the heck was the usability engineer on this?

    The search box is horrible, I don’t remember the name of all the software I have installed, I need to see a full list.

    I will be switching back now that I know how thanks to this article. I feel like I have come off a terrible Canonical-roller-coaster when all I did was hit a single “upgrade button”, sheesh.

  9. I quite like it! – It is different but after 2 weeks of it; I’m liking it! Sure, it is in its infancy and needs polishing but I think future implementations of it will be very good indeed!

  10. I agree with the above comments. Unity is designed for a cell phone, not a computer. Using the keyboard to find an application? You’ve got to be kidding. Ubuntu has committed suicide. And this is from a long time Ubuntu user.

  11. Count me in as a Unity Desktop HATER! Non-configurable, non-intuitive, non-functional.


  12. Agreed. Unity blows. I’m switching back now, thanks for the advice!

  13. This UNITY is driving me Crazy!!! My Wife has Freaked out not knowing where to find her applications etc.

    We need to switch back.

  14. Using a tochscreen netbbok. My display is four times (!!) too small to hold this hideous sidebar, and how am I supposed to find my applications – I’m not only surfing the net, you know? Yes, it’s called netbook, but I run a LOT of installed programs. The previous gnome interface was so simple and nice, why did they destroy it???
    This Unity is definitly begging for HATE. Thank you for this tip how to disable it.

  15. oh my god why cant gnome just concentrate on the previous version and polish that instead???? Unity is god awful, it feels like ive gone back in time, everything that i used to do in 2 clicks is now double, hate it hate it hate it

  16. @leon: Unity is a Cononical project and has nothing to do with Gnome. Cononical and Gnome have had a following out, leading to them shipping Unity as the default.

  17. I too hate Unity. I hate when developers decide for me what’s best for me, and don’t allow me to change anything.

    I switched back to classic, but that’s not a solution! Correct me if I’m wrong, but Ubuntu classic won’t be supported next release, so what will we do then?

    We need a real solution, because as it stands now – I can’t work with Unity. It’s not just aesthetics – I just can’t work with it. This thing is literally a “leave Ubuntu” situation for me, and it’s a shame because I’m really fond of Ubuntu 🙁

  18. @guyguy in the future you can just install the package gnome (sudo apt-get install gnome) and it should be a selection in the same dropdown. Although you won’t get a bunch of the nice ubuntu customizations and what not, but at least it’s still gnome!

  19. @Jade, thanks for the reply. Sure, it’s Linux, I can do whatever I want. Still, using non-supported packages is a pain – a pain installing and a pain maintaining. I’m not a “Linux pro”. I don’t have any Linux skills. I don’t know the ins and outs of packages or shells or whatever. I’m just a regular person who uses Linux as my OS, but uses it do non-Linux related work. Hence why Ubuntu was so great for me.

    For some reason Ubuntu decided to go for a UI that might be great for entertainment computers but really bad for work computers. REALLY bad. They decided that “form” and “eye candy” and “cool factor” are more important that “function”.

    I can work hard and manually install and maintain packages to give me the basic needs of a work computer, but whatever I do – I’ll be working against the flow Ubuntu seems to be following. Obviously they decided that the Ubuntu OS isn’t for work. So I guess all I can do is move on.

    Right now I’m still hanging on hoping for a change. I love Ubuntu. I hope they either decide to maintain the Ubuntu classic, or make Unity into something that’s usable for big-screen, multiple-windowed working people who can’t work while constantly distracted by the UI.

    Sorry for the rant :p I need to vent somewhere 🙂

  20. I’m really hating the Unity desktop. Yes, I have tried it — in fact I’m using right it now. I’ve been kicking the tires and test driving it since the 11.04 release. It’s a pain to get going since the proprietary nVidia drivers are broken, but I have it working with the open source Nouveau drivers. (Yes, I could run the Unity 2D desktop, only that sucks even more.) IMHO the Unity desktop is a great leap backwards, and a big disappointment. Nice eye candy; crap to work with. I feel like an involuntary beta tester. It’s not a good feeling.

    For those who want to try tweaking this whole Unity car wreck, see:


    Have at it.

    I spent some time playing with these tweaks. After all was said and done, I was a lot happier after I installed and started using Gnome-do. I’m tired of pointing-and-clicking, or pointing-and-clicking, then typing, then pointing-and-clicking my way to rarely used programs. How do you speed this thing up? Using Gimp on the Unity desktop is just way too… interesting. Admittedly, I far from a Gimp expert, but I find it easier to use with all the necessary windows on the screen. (Three are three required, OK? Not just one.)

    It was bad enough when Ubuntu changed the default color scheme to aubergine barf and moved the window buttons to the left hand side for no good reason. I can fix that. Now we get Unity, which makes things worse. I’m not sure I can fix this. Ubuntu should bring back the arty nudes wallpapers, with the models posed in the organic circle of friends, just to soften the blow of Unification.

    I going to play with Unity a bit more, but I think I will be using a different desktop, and possibly a new distribution, in the future. It won’t be the first time.

    Just my 2 cents.

  21. Yes I agree that Ubuntu Unity is a bad idea. People need to understand one thing. Sometimes we already have a perfect device. For example: you can’t improve on a wheel– circle is really the best shape. Years ago Nautilus company came up with exercise machines to take market from Univerals — but Universals were already perfect — now we have these sit-ups machines that move in all directions. I don’t want them to move in all directions when I am doing sit-ups. Recently I wanted to buy new chairs, I went to IKEA and they had bunch of chairs with all kind of problems. I ended up re-upholstering my 20 years old chairs and they work perfect for sitting. Here is another item about the windows in Gnome, the slider/elevator concept is so bad that I moved accidentally two system directories in the 1st day. If I did not see it, I would be reinstalling my Ubuntu over again. The trouble is the elevator goes in/out of existence — it’s like magical Weegie Board. Can we pls have the perfect Gnome from version 9.x and 10.x. thanks for listening.

  22. I will second everything that people said above. But the best description is by guyguy. Architects say: Form follows function. (aka Function implies form). What we got is cool looking interface/form that does not support the function. Pls give me Gnome from 9.x and 10.x or I am moving to WINDOWS…. Pls remember, we are using Linux for real work, like programming, iPhone has a nice interface — who wants to program on an iPhone? The point is this is cool looking interface that does not support a real work. Maybe even keep the inteface and use it on Linux phone. But not on a computer that is used for a real work. thank you for listening.

  23. there is an easy fix to unity, seems like the ubuntu project is not heading into a very good direction, read around some of the ubuntu forums from disgruntled users posts to see what i mean. but here is the easy fix, install xubuntu, mint, or what i have done, kubuntu.

  24. Remember: even if they don’t support Ubuntu Classic you can install Gnome and run it no matter what (just as you can run Xfce, KDE, etc).

  25. @jade

    I know gnome isnt CANONICAL and has nothing to do with gnome, when did i say it did?

    do i need to repeat myself? i said

    “oh my god why cant gnome just concentrate on the previous version and polish that instead???? Unity is god awful, it feels like ive gone back in time, everything that i used to do in 2 clicks is now double, hate it hate it hate it”

    I will be using a non supported DE, and that puts me off UBUNTU full stop.
    Even gnome shell is shite! and i cant stand KDE

  26. Unity is horrible. I hate to do this but I will start using OpenSuse. I been an Ubuntu user since Hardy. How can they do this to the best OS in the world.

  27. Hated Unity. Nonetheless, I used it for a month. Grew to like some things, but was never comfortable. Clearly they are aiming for notebook/handheld market. I still have unity on my netbook, and like it. However, on my notebook (14″) it totally sucks. Hate it totally. Have done a clean install of 10.04 LTS and at least I know I have three years of that available to me. Really, I think Canonical have made a decision to chase the handheld/phone market and have abandoned desktop and notebook users. Much to my disappointment, as I really liked this OS. Will have to find an alternative. Too bad.

  28. I hate Unity desktop. Switched back to Gnome Class on Natty Narwhal distribution and now I like Ubuntu again.

  29. In fact two of the computers I use Ubuntu on won’t support Unity. One of the reasons I like Linux is the way it supports older hardware well. If there is no Ubuntu Classic in future releases perhaps I should just switch to another Linux straight away, rather than end up on a withering unsupported branch… The only machine that I have that DOES support Unity is a 9 inch screen netbook, where it came default on the netbook edition. I had to turn it off pretty quickly as it just took up so much screen real estate, and yet made everything much harder to find. I don’t really want to be swapping between different interface styles, and some of my computers won’t support Unity. Unity seems to be a tablet style interface, like the new Windows 8 seems to be. Just because Apple did well with the iOS interface style doesn’t mean that I want all my keyboard/mouse/desktop computer interfaces to follow that model!

  30. They say that Ubuntu will only use Unity in the next release!! Time to switch distribution (again). I used Gentoo, Redhat, OpenSuse, Debian etc… I was happy with Ubuntu since Unity. Also the Ubuntu Control Center is crap, on a slow computer (dual 1.66 ghz) installing a application pop-up the Ubuntu Control Center but without any waiting icon or so, then clicking on Installing… same thing nothing that tells you that you need to wait (it was simpler and quicker to use gdebi-gtk).

    And finally clicking and dragging an application on my desktop gave me an error: Cannot copy on /? WTF! How to add an application on the desktop or taskbar.

    And finally 2, i hate it. Huge mistake by the Ubuntu team, a little bit like the PulseAudio instead of using Jack (OT).

    I think i will go back to Debian…

  31. Trying, trying, trying to get used to Linux. Putting in the time and effort reminiscent of Win98. Okay, I’ll invest, learn and get to love Ubuntu. Making decent progress too. Now this. “Unity”. More like “Unusable”. Window Title Bar? Yeah well, I could get used to that. Ubuntu-Tweak won’t work to move the windows buttons to the right. Sigh. Seems Microsoft isn’t the only outfit that can make disastrous decisions and lose users. Let’s see…Mint maybe?

  32. Well I hate it too, when I first saw it.

    but then again, Why the HATE?
    for me, I think Unity may not be the best for desktop
    but just think what Unity can do for Laptop/Tablet interface with touchscreen interface.

    like all software and OS.
    these things need time before you can get used to it.
    Like how I’m at work, relearning to use XP again.

  33. I can’t stand it either. Unity blows It’s not friendly at all. It does seem that I end up clicking twice as much and finding my applications is time consuming. Everything seems to be going to the tablet/phone touch screen interface. With all the major changes I’m just getting turned off by all this.
    I’m considering dropping Ubuntu as well. I may load up Debian I guess.
    I was so happy with Ubuntu 9x 10x and could be comfortable recommending it to people but now I can’t. It should have stayed as Netbook Edition.

  34. Unity is crap. I so love it when political fallout from disagreements between two organizations who are supposed to be formed to serve the users ends up in doing the completed opposite. Way to go Canonical – I blame primarily you – you should have been the adult in the conversation.

  35. I have used Ubuntu on desktops for more than four years. It is irritating to have crap moved around the screen from version to version for no apparent reason, but I never complained because the product was free and seemed to have promise. If Unity in its present form becomes the only choice for desktops, many of us will be trying something else.

    Those who use Ubuntu for office purposes must surely be tired of finding everything in a different place and accessed in a different way. Stability is more than keeping a screen from going black. Serious users want to keep an up-to-date kernel without upsetting employees and slowing their work. Constantly changing interfaces is a good way to show people that you are not serious about office machines.

  36. If you want people to stay with Ubuntu get ride of Unity, it’s pointless, ugly, infuriating, an embarrassment and not needed!

    Seriously it makes my hi spec machine look like one of them leapfrog my first laptop kiddie toys.

    What where you thinking!!!

  37. Thank you for posting this. I installed Natty on my shiny new workplace computer, and was almost in tears over how unnecessarily hard it was to find ANYTHING on Unity, including basic appearance settings.

  38. I don’t like Unity too, eats up too much screen space for my netbook. And I don’t want to go using classic Ubuntu because of taking spaces too (gnome panel on the upper and down screen), not to mention the new compiz give random lines all over the screen. So I just downgrade the recent compiz to older ones (0.8.6) and it’s all running great again (I’m installing AWN for my panel).

    Go here to downgrade Compiz : http://shiliarr95z.weebly.com/2/post/2011/07/how-to-downgrade-compiz.html

  39. Unity is an abortion unless you are a third grader with ADD. Anyone that has to get anything done, aside from posting on FB, requires more than big stupid icons to stupidly click on. Come on Ubuntu, stop trying to be trendy.



  41. @Bob
    It’s The mac people, they’re sabotaging us. *cowers*

  42. FUCK UNITY! I just wanna post my dislike for this blasphemous Unity versions. FUCK YOU UNITY! FUCK THE MAC LOOK ALIKE.

  43. Unity is ugly.

    It looks like someone ate a box of crayons and then took a dump on my screen.

  44. When I first upgraded to 11.04 I was shocked at the ugly sidebar and the non-friendly dash. I immediately logged out and switched to Classic. If Ubuntu doesn’t plan on keeping the classic edition I think I’ll be staying here at 11.04 until they get their craniums out of their colons…or until a better Linux Flavour catches my eye.

  45. Well, as most other commenters, when upgrading to 11.04, I too switched back to Ubuntu Classic (Gnome2 with panel) after I realized that I could never get used to Unity.

    But what now, with 11.10, where there is no option to switch back to anything???
    Well, one can install Gnome3, but for some reason, the new gnome is almost as bad as Unity!!!

    As many other pointed out, why fix something that ain’t broken? Why eliminate something perfectly functional?

    And what are the options now? Stay with Natty indefinitely?
    Switch to another Linux?
    I’m considering Debian, which still seems to sport Gnome2.

    In 11.4 users could still avoid Unity by switching to Ubuntu Classic.
    But with 11.10, I suspect a mass defection from Ubuntu will happen.

  46. Ouch!

    Finally I decided to switch to Linux on my main PC and only use Win7 for some games…

    Okay, I just installed Ubuntu… and after the first few clicks I absolutely hate Unity and the new system options!

    What am I using? A Mac? Even Windows looks better now in terms of options and freedom compared to Ubuntu 11.10.

    I liked the older Ubuntu versions, but now I’ll switch to other distributions.

    Ubuntu, you terribly failed me!

  47. The new shell for Ubuntu 11.10 – How to transform a good product in a bad one hated by a large part of users.
    The Unity Shell are killing Ubuntu.
    I will reinstall Ubuntu 11.04 and do not upgrade to 11.10

  48. While I hate Unity too, I think the talk of switching to a different OS is a bit dramatic.

    Why not just select ‘Classic’ when you login? There are some other nice things in 11.10 even with classic.

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