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In Ubuntu 15.10, how can I replace the toolbar on the left side with a normal menu like in Ubuntu 12.04?

I don't know how this became "hip," but I hate it filling my screen with that stuff. It is not structured, only icons, unless you move over it with the mouse, and you can only place the most important tools — if there are few enough.

I looked through all the options, but I couldn't find out how to "repair" this.

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ehm "most important tools" What do you mean by that? I can put anything on the launcher that has a gui and probably more. – Rinzwind Mar 5 at 22:13
@Rinzwind There is not enough room to fit very many, so you have to prioritize the "most important" ones. – Matthew Read Mar 6 at 5:16
You can fit endless desktop launchers. When you have more than fit on the screen you can scroll up and down. And if you want more that are the same (like 5 icons leading to a directory in nautilus you can even add them as options to the same icon). – Rinzwind Mar 6 at 9:57
All that is not what I need. I need an item for maybe IDEs from which I can go to Lazarus, Eclipse ..., another for office, where i can go to all my editors, another for GIS Software with Grass GIS, QGIS ... I do not want to scroll through dozens of unsorted applications – am2 Mar 6 at 20:01

You can't in Ubuntu. The launcher is a integral part of the Unity experience and Ubuntu. In the new 16.04 you will be able to place the launcher elsewhere. But the launcher will still be there. By the way: this method was chosen because it looks the best on ALL Ubuntu devices: from 4:3, 16:10 notebooks through to phones and is part of the Ubuntu path to convergence.

If you want another desktop experience you will need to install another desktop. The Mate desktop is a version that supports the old gnome2.

Random image from the internet with the panel at the bottom:

enter image description here

The way to add a desktop is by using apt-get to install it:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-mate-desktop

After it is installed you can pick this desktop (and any other that is installed) at login. You will need to turn off auto-login. If you are satisfied with this desktop you can remove the old Ubuntu desktop with ...

sudo apt-get purge ubuntu-desktop

The same is applicable for any other desktop. A small list:

  • Kubuntu, KDE desktop: sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop
  • Xubuntu, XFCE desktop: sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop
  • Lubuntu, LXDE desktop: sudo apt-get install lubuntu-desktop
  • Ubuntu GNOME, Gnome 3 desktop: sudo apt-get install ubuntu-gnome-desktop

Technically you should be able to add ALL of them to 1 operating system and switch between them from login. But I would try to avoid it, it is likely software will conflict, and/or when removing it might leave traces, make the system unstable.

If testing is the goal (to decide what to go for): use a virtual box and install your operating system in there.

Here is how the login works (from linuxpitstop, theswitchtolinux has also got a good blogpost on it) :

enter image description here

In general it is best to re-install and stick to one desktop. That will remove all traces of the old desktop. Every desktop also comes with a different set of pre-installed software. Not all of them have "gedit" as an editor, not all will have Nautilus as file manager or Firefox as default browser. Some of these desktops focus on the lowest footprint possible so it will work on very old systems. That means less focus on perfectly looking software with all kinds of effects and features. So a focus on performance over a visually good looking desktop with lots of features.

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What does this mean? Do I have to uninstall all I have installed today and download another edition or can I add the Mate- desktop? I tried to intall by ubuntu software center something called "MATE Tweak" but this seems to be useless for me, isn't it? – am2 Mar 5 at 22:32
It's confusing to say "You can't." and then give an explanation of how to do it. Maybe you could clearly mark which part of the answer is an update, or edit it to give a unified answer? – rakslice Mar 6 at 8:01
I wanted to try the same as threadstarter. I ran 'sudo apt-get install ubuntu-mate-desktop' on Ubuntu 15.04, but after rebooting it still autologged me into the default desktop. Even when choosing log out I never see the option to choose Mate. Doesn't it work with 15.04? – Frode Lillerud Mar 6 at 9:03
@rakslice he is asking on how to do it in Ubuntu and there you can't. – Rinzwind Mar 6 at 9:50
@FrodeLillerud added an image explaining the login. Also linked to a pretty nice article about adding more desktops. And regarding 15.04: yes it works too. example: – Rinzwind Mar 6 at 10:09

Not possible in Unity. You might want to try Linux Mint instead (based on Ubuntu). You could install Cinnamon but it is easier to just install Mint completely.

Good luck!

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I wouldn't like to install a new version, cause it took me a while to install all I have now :( – am2 Mar 5 at 22:36
I understand, although installing Ubuntu or Mint normally won't take more than 10 minutes. The answer Rinzwind or IzznogooooD added has all you need to install Mate or Cinnamon. :) – E.F. Nijboer Mar 6 at 2:01

Just open a terminal and:

sudo apt-get install cinnamon

Win10 like

After the installation finishes, log out an choose Cinnamon at your login screen.

You can add many more desktops like this...

sudo apt-get install mate

Simpler XP like

I´d like to add this though. I hated Unity at start... But after forcing myself to use it and installed unity-tweak-tool i cant live without.

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