Small Desktop Settings Tool for Ubuntu Unity-2D 11.10 (Updated Apr 3rd 2012)

This is an update to the small tool I made for Unity 2D to save time modifying its settings from the terminal or dconf-editor.

An updated Version for 12.04 LTS can be found in this post

Download: (Requires an up to date Ubuntu 11.10 System)


-> Icon right click Shortcuts (QuickLists) for launcher settings and compositing manager, which brings window edge shadows and alt-tab thumbnail previews, very handy for multi-tasking.

The same shortcuts can be found by searching for them in the dash.

-> An updated (From PyGtk) Gtk+3 GUI with the two available Unity-2D preferences for dash and launcher and a few extras.

Notes: Window Shadows will not show until you click everywhere in your desktop to refresh the compositing effect once enabled via the checkbox icon in the GUI. (The Quicklist and Dash shortcuts will launch a message dialog that will refresh the compositing effects automatically.)
The ‘Always Show’ option for the launcher will not work while the launcher is hidden (A native bug in Unity-2D caused by the ‘use-strut’ gsettings key), you can use “Super” or “Alt+F2” keyboard shortcuts to force the launcher to show.


34 Comments on “Small Desktop Settings Tool for Ubuntu Unity-2D 11.10 (Updated Apr 3rd 2012)”

  1. Cool, i’ve a problem: compositing seem to be enabled but i don’t see any type of shadow

    The app has been updated now.

  2. brett says:

    Love the “Always Show”! THANK YOU!

  3. AD5XJ says:

    It needs a list arranger to set the icons in a desired order rather than using the default.

  4. JCCyC says:

    Is it possible to change the launcher icon size? (In Unity 3D, you can do this from ccsm -> Unity plugin -> Experimental)

  5. It is not possible the easy way yet.

  6. delki8 says:

    it is possible to implement the alt + tab functionality ?

  7. Victor Lesyk says:

    Thanks!!! Everything work fine!

  8. Danzano says:

    Hi is it possible to change the transparency?

    Also icons and stuff will the normal icon packs work sorry new to linux and especially 2d :)

  9. Hi Danzano,

    You can still tweak some transparency aspects through GCONF but those are very inconsistent.
    Sorry, but I didn’t catch your question about icons, could you specify more?

    Greetings :)

  10. Jinha says:

    Thanks a ton. This is exactly what I wanted. :)

  11. The deb file is giving me an installation error when opened with software center but install just fine with dpkg -i.

  12. Hi, I’m using the 11.10 version of Unity 2D. I installed the app, make sure that compositing is enabled, but I’m not seeing any shadows around the windows. Any idea why?

  13. Jonah Brown says:

    Are you going to release source code?

  14. Esteban says:

    Hi, it is possible to implement a change of up panel.

  15. iveand says:

    Mariano, thanks for the work so far. Regarding changing launcher icon size, you say

    “It is not possible the easy way yet.”

    Can you explain if there is any “hard way”? I am happy to find out a way to shrink the size, be it either easy or hard!


  16. @iveand

    An easy way to change or modify aspects of the DE is by using a tool, so there is none yet.

    The other way would be modifying the source code at /usr/share/unity-2d/launcher.

  17. Patrick says:

    I don’t know if this is related to Erik’s question, but I also am not seeing any shadowing effects. Actually, the settings don’t even say anything about transparency or shadowing, all it says is: Enable compositing (Metacity). Unchecking the box removes transparency, rechecking the box does reset transparency, but still doesn’t add any shadowing effects!

    Thanks for any help!

  18. Hi Patrick,

    There are no “Shadowing Effects” but Window Shadowing only. That button is aimed so you can Enable/Disable that.
    This tool got an update patch written by Krytarik Raido so it could be compatible with the latest Ubuntu (11.10). But Krytarik also changed the labels for those effects including “Enable Compositing (Metacity)”. I know it’s confusing, and if I keep getting complains about it, I promise I will update the labels on the tool with something like “Window Shadowing” instead. The previous version said “Shadows and Transparency”, but it wont make sense since Transparency comes enabled by default in Ubuntu 2D (11.10).

    Let me know if you need more help.
    And thanks anyone else for your feedback.



  19. joao says:

    I used the tool but got no window shadows. I tried then to find something in the gconf-edit tool that could be the cause.
    In the “/apps/metacity/general” I noticed that the “compositing-manager” key was on, but the “compositing-effects” key was off. Enabling it gave me the shadows!

  20. Rene says:

    Hello it looks great, I installed but I don´t get results, I selected ¨always show¨ and nothing, what iam doing bad?

  21. Hi Rene,

    You’re probably trying to use it on a non-compatible version or DE. For example:
    1.- Unity 3D (Not 2D)
    2.- An upgraded version of Unity-2D (Such as the “Daily-Build”)

    It only works on Oneiric’s default “Ubuntu-2D” Stable Version (11.10)

    If you’re experiencing issues specifically with the “Always Show” option, read my previous post so you can understand some of the bugs affecting Unity 2D’s native desktop settings.

  22. Works great for me, “always show” sets the taskbar visible immediately. This was valuable for me for running Ubuntu in a VM where the left edge of the screen is a very difficult target to hit.

  23. zgrge says:

    joao is right, but he mistyped gconf key

    So if you are using unity-2d on 11.10 you need to enable both compositing_manager and compositor_effects, you can do it with gconf-editor or via command line.

    enable via command line:
    gconftool-2 -s –type bool /apps/metacity/general/compositing_manager true
    gconftool-2 -s –type bool /apps/metacity/general/compositor_effects true

    enable vi gconf-editor:
    just navigate to apps/metacity/general and enable to options: compositing_manager and compositor_effects

  24. […] Unity-2D Settings UI for UBUNTU 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot […]

  25. Thanks everyone for your feedback and comments!! :)

  26. Installed this app on 11.10 and it worked like a charm. Upgraded to 12.04 and being unable to launch the app for 11.10 version I decided to look for the upgrade. Thankfully it was already available here. Now I am trying to get it to install and I keep on getting this:

    dpkg: regarding …/2d-desktop-settings_3.0.16-1_all.deb containing 2d-desktop-settings:
    unity-2d-settings conflicts with 2d-desktop-settings
    2d-desktop-settings (version 3.0.16-1) is to be installed.
    dpkg: error processing /home/user/Downloads/2d-desktop-settings_3.0.16-1_all.deb (–install):
    conflicting packages – not installing 2d-desktop-settings

    How to fix that? Thanks.

  27. Found the app in Synaptic, uninstalled it, and 12.04 app installed fine. Thanks!

  28. Thanks Alexander.

    You can also try ‘sudo apt-get remove 2d-desktop-settings’ if you need to remove this tool in the future. (Instead using synaptic).


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