I installed the ubuntu desktop package without recommends on Ubuntu server 12.04 and noticed that dash does not work - it just won't find any applications (screenshot). How can I activate it? I assume that some required packages were not installed (on the other hand, dependencies are always checked...). Appriciate any help.
I think the problem is, since you did a minimal install, you don't have any of the scopes and lens that come by default in unity. If you look at the bottom of your dash, it only shows the home dash, not any applications, files, music... etc options.
And then log out and log in again.
You can also install unity-lens-files unity-lens-music unity-lens-photos... etc if you need them.
That should do the trick.
It might be related to the icon cache. Take a look at that answer.
My guess it that the