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How can I disable some lenses in the Dash menu?

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Open terminal: sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping –  Dr_Bunsen Oct 29 '12 at 14:28
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5 Answers 5

There are several ways to do this, though one would think the easiest thing for ubuntu to do would be to have some easy to access configuration options from within the dash, but that's just crazy talk.

If you're confident using the terminal then I recommend option 1, because the behaviour of the software center will be misleading and confusing.

Option 1 - Use the Terminal (Recommended)

  1. Open the terminal Ctrl+Shift+T

  2. To check what scopes and lenses are currently installed, use dpkg with grep. e.g. list all scopes and lens packages

    $ dpkg -l | egrep "(unity-lens-|unity-scope-)"
    ii  unity-lens-applications     ...     Application lens for unity
    ii  unity-lens-files            ...     File lens for unity
    ii  unity-lens-gwibber          ...     Gwibber Lens for unity
    ii  unity-lens-photos           ...     Unity Photos Lens
    ii  unity-lens-shopping         ...     Shopping lens for unity
    

    Notes on 14.04

    14.04 has a great many more lenses and scopes than ever before. Some of which can't removed without destroying the system e.g. unity-scope-home.

    These are some of the scopes and lenses installed by default in 14.04:

    unity-lens-video
    unity-lens-friends
    unity-scope-audacious 
    unity-scope-calculator 
    unity-scope-chromiumbookmarks 
    unity-scope-clementine 
    unity-scope-colourlovers 
    unity-scope-devhelp 
    unity-scope-firefoxbookmarks 
    unity-scope-gdrive 
    unity-scope-gmusicbrowser 
    unity-scope-gourmet 
    unity-scope-guayadeque 
    unity-scope-home 
    unity-scope-manpages 
    unity-scope-musicstores 
    unity-scope-musique 
    unity-scope-openclipart 
    unity-scope-texdoc 
    unity-scope-tomboy 
    unity-scope-video-remote 
    unity-scope-virtualbox 
    unity-scope-yelp 
    unity-scope-zotero
    

    Scopes and leneses after most of the one's that can be removed have been removed:

    $ dpkg -l | egrep "(unity-lens-|unity-scope-)"
    ii  unity-lens-applications ... Application lens for unity
    ii  unity-lens-files        ... File lens for unity
    ii  unity-scope-home        ... Home scope that aggregates results from multiple scopes
    
  3. To remove a lens use apt-get remove. e.g. remove the unity shopping lens:

    sudo apt-get remove --purge unity-lens-shopping 
    

Option 2 - Use Ubuntu Software Center

  1. Open up Software Center and search for "lens".
  2. Uninstall by selecting the item and clicking "Remove".

    IMPORTANT!

    • You must select Show (count) technical items to show all installed lenses. e.g. The "shopping lens" is a technical item, which personally I think is a little bit cheeky. You know, because you're too dumb to know what that is.

    • Don't select "Installed" and then search for "lens". This doesn't do what you might expect. It should list any "installed" len's, however it doesn't do that. Probably a bug.

What lenses do I recommend uninstalling?

All of them except for unity-lens-applications and possibly unity-lens-files. Personally I'd be happy a great deal happier without the dash. In place of which was a simple, straight forward, no messing, fast-as-possible, application launcher. I can't belive I'm about to say this, but there's actually something I miss about windows.

Note on 14.04 You can't remove unity-scope-home without remove the unity-desktop and breaking the entire system.

Additional Information

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I agree. When I first started using Ubuntu, what I loved about it was its simplicity and speed. And If I'm not mistaken Unity is made to provide a straight forward environment in which can get your work done. I think Unity is moving away from its goals. I love the fact that I have a lot of options, but I wouldn't want to sacrifice speed or simplicity in return. I really disliked the "internal error detected" popups in Precise(isn't that one of the reasons people don't like Windows??). And the new ads on Quantal, with terms of service, I don't like this. –  tofurator Dec 19 '12 at 8:59
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This doesn't seem to work for me on 14.04 Trusty. I have uninstalled all lenses except for unity-lens-applications but they still show up in the dash. Any ideas? –  nifr Feb 12 at 19:09
    
@nifr Disabling it using the unity-tweak-tool still works: askubuntu.com/questions/107701/… –  Cedric Reichenbach Jul 8 at 13:19
    
@nifr Whar still shows up the dash? There are many more scopes and lenses in 14.04 than what I've described above. What does dpkg -l | egrep "(lens|scope)" show? e.g. you can't uninstall the "home" scope i.e. unity-scope-home without uninstalling unity-desktop. Also, when removing the one's that you can uninstall, purge apt-get remove --purge <package_name_here> –  BullfrogBlues Jul 8 at 13:36
    
@nifr I've updated the answer with some notes on 14.04. –  BullfrogBlues Jul 8 at 14:07
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If you're using Ubuntu 13.04 or newer:

sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool

In the tweak tool you can use the search tab to modify the relevant settings:

  • Uncheck "Search online sources"
  • Uncheck "Show more suggestions"
  • Uncheck "Enable search of your files"
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Here's a small package I whipped up if you're comfortable with either setsid unity or logging out

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Great tool. Unfortunately I have not found a way to disable the cities scope within the utilities scope as it often crashes on my system (Ubuntu 12.04 AMD64), but the calculator scope is very useful and I want to keep it. –  Filbuntu Jun 21 '12 at 2:41
    
It doesn't manipulate scopes directly...just lenses –  hbdgaf Jun 21 '12 at 2:45
    
Thanks for the explanation. Do you know a way to manipulate scopes? –  Filbuntu Jun 21 '12 at 7:23
    
If you wanted to do that, you'ld have to modify all the lense descriptions or hijack the dbus calls depending on exactly what you wanted to do. If you want to chat about it...pop in to the chat room –  hbdgaf Jun 21 '12 at 15:31
    
Thanks for the explanation and offer. But this would take up more time and efforts than I would spend on this issue. Thanks again. –  Filbuntu Jun 22 '12 at 0:55
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I would imaging that the easiest way of doing this would be to uninstall it, logout and login. It would still be in the cache if you would like to install it again later on.

If you on the other hand do not want to uninstall it and want to just make it go away from the Dash you could just move it out of the /usr/share/unity/lenses folder.

For example let us say you have install the Askubuntu Lense like me.

you would then have a folder inside /usr/share/unity/lenses called extras-unity-lens-askubuntu/. Move that folder somewhere else. Logout. Login.

An example:

cd /usr/share/unity/lenses
sudo mv extras-unity-lens-askubuntu/ ..

This would move the askubuntu lense from the lense folder to the parent folder. If you logout/login, the askubuntu lense will be gone.

UPDATE - As aking1012 points out, typing setsid unity will "refresh" Unity with the changes.

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nice ! thank you ! –  deonis Feb 28 '12 at 1:25
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just a note, if you setsid unity, you don't have to log out –  hbdgaf Apr 24 '12 at 7:26
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setsid unity doesn't work for me. All windows decoration disappeared and the program didn't exit. It force me to Ctrl+C and gnome-session-quit to logout. –  BornToCode Jun 3 '13 at 23:31
    
@BornToCode I would guess a bug or misconfiguration. Last time I tested this was a year ago. Maybe you can provide more information about yout system. –  Luis Alvarado Jun 4 '13 at 0:40
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setsid unity removes all window decorations and doesn't exit on 14.04, too. Any suggestions how to debug this behavior? –  nifr Feb 12 at 19:11
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Uninstalling the lenses does not work in 14.04.

What works is:

  • install dconf-editor
  • remove scopes from the strings in com -> canonical -> unity -> dash. I left only home.scope in there.
  • logout, login, enjoy.

(From here)


You can also do it without installing dconf-editor. Edit the string with double quotes to your liking:

$ dconf write /com/canonical/unity/dash/scopes "['home.scope', 'applications.scope', 'files.scope']"

(From here)

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