January 20-22, 2012, Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel

Customizing Unity

Richard Gaskin


Unity is the new desktop environment for Ubuntu, having first premiered in version 11.04 and significantly enhanced with version 11.10.

While Unity offers many usability affordances, some Ubuntu users prefer to customize it for their specific workflows.

Linux is famous for its customizability, and Unity is no exception if you know which tools to look for.

This presentation will use software included with Ubuntu 11.10 and available through the Ubuntu Software Center to show you how to customize the Unity interface.

We'll start with a brief introduction to Unity for newcomers to 11.10, and will explore the options in the System Settings as a starting point for tailoring it to your tastes.

Then we'll get CompizConfig from the Ubuntu Software Center to take that customization further. Not all CompizConfig settings are compatible with Unity, and we'll cover the settings you can safely change and note the ones you'll want to avoid so you can tweak with confidence.

For the more adventurous we'll also take a look at dconf and other tools available in the Ubuntu Software Center for even greater control over many aspects of the appearance and behavior of Unity.

By the time we're done both beginners and advanced users should have a good understanding of the power and flexibility of Unity and the tools and techniques that can be used to tailor it for their workflow preferences.