Ubuntu – How to have the Taskbar with Unity at the same time


My question is simple. How can I have the classic Taskbar with Unity at the same time in Ubuntu 11.10?
Somehow in the previous version I managed to achieve that, but now I can not remember how did I do that!

Best Answer

It is no longer possible to use Gnome Panel 2 with 11.10 since Gnome 2 has been deprecated. You can use Gnome Panel 3, though. There are also several other panels to choose from. If you only want the taskbar, then I would recommend having a look at xfce4-panel since it works better with multiple screens and supports more plugins/applets. Lxpanel is also nice, but isn't quite as good at multiple screens. Keep in mind that these panels are just apps, so you install them, run them and remove them just as you would with other apps.

How to install and use xfce4-panel with Unity

  1. Install http://apt.ubuntu.com/p/xfce4-panel
  2. Press alt+f2 and type xfce4-panel.
  3. Give it a try and see if you like it.
  4. If you don't, press alt+f2 and type killall xfce4-panel to stop it. It will not start automatically on next login.
  5. If you do like it, open Startup applications from your power cog (the menu in the top right where you log off, etc). In the dialog that appears, click add and fill out the fields. Name can be anything, but use xfce4-panel for both name and command so you remember it. From now on, Xfce4-panel will be run automatically at login. You'll need to custimize it a little bit, and then it'll look something like this:

Unity with an xfce4-panel complete with taskbar, shortcuts and menu

How to install and use lxpanel

A second option is lxpanel. This is also a quite nice panel to use, designed for the very light-weight LXDE. It is just as easy to install and use as the xfce4-panel and, like xfce4-panel, it provides other useful plugins/applets.

  1. Install http://apt.ubuntu.com/p/lxpanel
  2. Press alt+f2 and type lxpanel and make sure you actually run "lxpanel" and not "lxpanelctl".
  3. Have fun exploring it.
  4. If you don't like it, press alt+f2 again and enter killall lxpanel
  5. If you want to keep it, and use it by default (which isn't obligatory), open Startup applications from your power cog, click add and enter "lxpanel" for name and command. Lxpanel is actually a little bit easier to use since it requires less configuration to begin with. You will want to configure it, of course. Mine looks like this:

Unity with a bottom lxpanel

How to install and use Gnome Panel 3 as a bottom panel

Using Gnome Panel 3 is a little more difficult, since it's less mature than Xfce4-panel and lxpanel, and doesn't have as good GUIs to configure. Furthermore, it defaults to using an upper panel, which will conflict with your Unity panel. So there are a few extra steps to perform.

  1. Install http://apt.ubuntu.com/p/dconf-tools
  2. Install http://apt.ubuntu.com/p/gnome-panel
  3. press alt+f2 and type dconf-editor.
  4. Navigate to /org/gnome/gnome-panel/layout.
  5. Change "toplevel-id-list" to say ['bottom-panel']. In other words, remove the top panel.
  6. press alt+f2 and begin to type gnome-panel, but stop when you see it in the results and click the entry labeled "gnome-panel". (Possibly due to a bug, entering "gnome-panel" and pressing enter will run "gnome-panel-screenshot" instead.)
  7. Now that you have a bottom Gnome Panel, try it out for a while and see if you like it.
  8. If you don't, press alt+f2 and enter killall gnome-panel. If it doesn't go away immediately, do it again.
  9. If you do want to keep it, then open Startup applications, click add and fill out the fields, using "gnome-panel" for name and command. That way it'll be used automatically when you login.

It is possible to customize Gnome Panel 3 further, but you'll have to do it using dconf-editor, manually entering configuration strings. I prefer the plain one:

Unity with a Gnome Panel 3 bottom panel

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