I cannot figure out how to get that cool looking side panel in everyone's screenshot
closed as too localized by RolandiXor♦, htorque, Takkat, Bruno Pereira, jokerdino♦ Feb 4 '12 at 7:10
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If you mean the Unity Launcher, check if you hardware has caused 11.04 to fall back to classic gnome.
You might also want to look at, Run Unity Qt Panel Or Launcher In A Classic GNOME Desktop.