Some Applications May not Work in Unity, Says Developers!

Now while running applications in Unity there are these "icons" that appear at the top right corner of the Unity Desktop called indicator icons. Here's the thing. Almost all the GTK+ based written applications rely primarily on Gnome to run properly. For instance, Gnome panel applets are heavily being used by some of the popular applications in GNU Linux in order for them to run properly.

Now since Canonical is obsessed with the "libappindicator" type application indicators which is the single most important idea that defines their new "Unity" desktop... they are trying to convert these Gnome panel applets to indicators.

But if they do so and completely remove the applets from Unity, then those programs that rely on Gnome applets won't simply run!. According to an Ubuntu developer, Martin, there has been a long discussion concerning the issue as well.

So they could make the decision to simply ignore the applets and convert them into "indicator icons" thus resulting few of the major applications not to run in Unity OR to create a white-list of apps and only to keep those applets needed by those applications in Unity. So when they release the long awaited Unity desktop within the next few days and some of the popular applications fail to work due to "missing Gnome applet" support, then I think you can guess what happened!.

Anyway, according to Martin, there are few proprietary applications that need these Gnome applets and it would be interesting what percentage of GNU licensed vs Proprietary will be white listed. And let's hope that Canonical would not disappoint their loyal users by simply not letting few popular apps not to work in Unity because of this "conversion" thing. 


Anonymous said...

The Unity Desktop is very un-intuitive and very user unfriendly. I had to go to a Web based tutorial to learn how to use it. I find it very difficult to use and I'm always losing my open windows. Worse yet important message windows get lost or hidden. Unity is one of the biggest steps backwards I have ever seen in computing during the past 20 years save KDE 4. I want my "Glipper", and the temperature next to the time.

Gayan said...


"I want my "Glipper", and the temperature next to the time."

Hmm, one of the problems with Canonical users currently having is that, it's so hard to ask for what you want and get it (just like with Gnome)... you seem like an experienced GNU/Linux user... what's your favorite distribution?.

Anonymous said...

I have used many over the years. I was a big Libranet fan at one point, Then moved to Mepis. Sidux, and now Ubuntu 10.04. Most every time I changed distributions it was due to some radical change made by the developers in the name of improvement. All it did was force me off the distribution. Unity is another one of those changes.

I see now that Unity needs a Gnome bottom panel to give a quick over view and easy management of open windows. Instead of the Wiper which annoyingly jumps out when unwanted, An "Apple" Menu in the top left hand corner is needed. This would be in place of the "Shortcuts" Ubuntu button which pops out a full screen search Window.

It seems to me that Unity is sort of a cell phone interface that is being misapplied to a full sized desktop. It obviously is for a touch screen, but I still have my doubts that it could ever be considered user friendly. An example of the unfriendliness is this web page that tells you how to use the command line to fix it:
Who wants to use a command line to make their modern computer system desktop user friendly?

The biggest thing wrong with Unity is it doesn't not provide an overview of the system with the glance of an eye, and right clicking on panels and buttons to modify preferences doesn't seem to exist.

I would like someone to tell me what exactly is improved in Unity. It's perhaps one of the most clumsy user interfaces yet devised. The real fix seems to be logging into "Gnomme Classic." How can that be considered progress?

Gayan said...

"Most every time I changed distributions it was due to some radical change made by the developers in the name of improvement"...

Excellent point!. Thank you for the long explanation. I did read it 3 times :).

Joe Linux said...

More Unity Unfriendliness:

You cannot paste into the Applications Launcher search box. In all honesty the original Gnome menu system with its three main headings was very user friendly. It was easy to find Applications, Folders, and System Management Tools. In Unity you have to know the name of something and then type it in. Maybe Unity's hope is to make us all very good at the command line. After all it already had "auto-complete." Want to see your file structure? Just type "ls". Of course one big problem for Unity Sheeple will be finding the terminal in the first place.

If this weren't bad enough, Once you do learn to install your applets through the command line, you find out that you can't organize them on the panel like you could in the past. They find their own place and then just stick.

Previously the weather applet could find a weather station near your actual location, now it just finds "Denver". It doesn't seem to be able to find Centennial Airport, Denver. Denver's urban sprawl encompasses at least 35 square miles and probably more. It can be raining down south while it is dry up north and so on. Previously I could have just the temperature near the time. Now I have to have a cloud and the temperature. I don't want the cloud, but Unity could care less. With Unity, they do it their way and the end user be damned.

Unity is also harder to use from the point of view of providing too much unwanted information. Another example of this is the application menus at the top. In Mozilla it gives a lengthy description of the web page while hiding the menus. When you look for your Mozilla menus, you don't know where they are. I would like my eye directed directly to the menus, not have them hidden by repeated information. For Christ's sake, I'm already looking at the web page, If I wasn't the information wouldn't even show on the top bar. Unity doesn't work the way the human brain does. Unity reminds me a lot of the old Edsel automobiles.

The Edsel was a marque of car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company during the 1958, 1959, and 1960 model years. The Edsel never gained popularity with contemporary American car buyers and sold poorly. Consequently, the Ford Motor Company lost millions of dollars on the Edsel's development, manufacture, and marketing. The name "Edsel" has since become synonymous with failure.

Unity is Canonical's Edsel.

Gayan said...


Guys the "list" just fills up more and more... excellent work.

If anyone has to say their frustrations, please share... it might help us at least try to figure out what's wrong with Unity from our prospective.

Anonymous said...

For one, Unity doesn't have an actual menu system. If anything it has an embedded key command interface which is very similar to StarOffice 1.0. All well and good for people manufacturing keyboard overlay cards. I suppose there will be a big market for plastic Unity "Cheat Sheets" that will be sold directly from Canonical since big box office supply stores really don't carry anything for Linux anyway.

What would improve Unity the most would be for Canonical to dump it. In all honesty, Unity is a project that isn't worth fixing.

Anonymous said...

I went to a Linux Installfest in Denver yesterday, Nobody liked the Unity desktop. One guy actually had a Unity cheat sheet as mentioned in one of the prior posts. I looked at the cheat sheet and it gave me a headache. It was full to the hilt, and the printing was very small. The guy said, "It's not bad if you can memorize all this." The problem with both Unity and Gnome 3 is that neither have a user friendly menu system. Both will need to add user friendly taskbars.

Gayan said...


Thank You!.

When asked both Ubuntu and Gnome developers just say the same thing actually... they say this is what users want according to their "surveys", etc but interestingly... both Unity and Gnome3 has a lot of differences of their own.

In that sense it's interesting why these "two" "surveys" seems to give different "opinions"... well I guess anyone can see why :).

Again, thank you for the input, appreciate it.

Joe Linux said...

Somewhere here:, Mark Shuttleworth claims Unity is a project inside of Gnome, In other words, it is developed within the Gnome framework.

Anonymous said...

According to David Siegel, Coanonical’s Desktop Interaction Architect, Unity was originally conceived for small screen devices.

I just learned today in a Linux Outlaws interview with Scott Lavender, the project leader of the Ubuntu Studio distribution that the Ubuntu Studio team has deemed both Unity and Gnome 3 unsatisfactory for their users’ needs. Ubuntu Studio will be migrating to XFCE as the default desktop.

Perhaps Mark Shuttleworth should consider renaming Unity to Exodus.

Gayan said...


Hmm makes senses. I love XFCE, in fact I'm using FC XFCE spin and I just love it!. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Bottom Panel: A GNOME2-Like Panel GNOME Shell Extension

Davidy said...

How to Install on ubuntu desktop 11.10 ?

Gayan said...


I'm sorry, not familiar with it. Though I did find an old "how to install" page below that might help you... otherwise it's best to ask the developers...

It seems like they're using the Adobe Air API thus you might wanna install adobe air first and then simply run the app (just a guess though).

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