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I have installed Cairo-Dock and Synapse so I have no use at all for the Unity dock and dash.

What more is there to Unity than that? The top bar with the indicator applets I guess. I don't mind it, but I wouldn't mind having another one either.

Can I disable the Unity dash and dock? Or do I need to use a different desktop manager? Which one? The lighter the better. Possibly one that does nothing but display applets in the corner of the screen.

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I was going to suggest running a light weight window manager such as openbox + cairo-dock + synapse. – bodhi.zazen Jan 6 '12 at 23:37

If you are using Cairo-Dock 2.4.0 or later, a custom GNOME session for it should already be added to your login menu. You should be able to start into this session from the LightDM menu and get Cairo-Dock without Unity, no further fiddling necessary.

More detailed information for advanced configuration (if desired), as well as notes on common issues and how to get around them, can be found at this post.

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Thanks for the tip and the link! Unfortunately the Cairo-Gnome bugs totally for me: it doesn't show anything except the desktop on which I can right-click. No menu/task bar/applet/dock/anything. It still responds to hotkeys though, as I can summon Synapse. This might be related to the fact that my (normal, without Cairo) Gnome sessions suffer from heavy visual bugs as reported by other people around here. – Niriel Jan 7 '12 at 9:31

Here's how you disable unity.

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Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. – Christopher Kyle Horton Jan 7 '12 at 0:35

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