Unity has a nice layout. I really do like the Ambiance and Radiance themes. However, I just feel that the window manager itself is lacking. KWin has an excellent tiling mode that automatically handles all my window needs without having to drag, resize, or keypress. I can focus on the information and the work.

My question to you is: Is there a way to get Kwin or another similar tiling window manager to work within Unity so that I can have the benefits of both worlds?

  • KWin and the Compiz/Mutter/Unity family is probably mutually exclusive. I'd suggest that you look into something like awesome, which is a tiling windows manager. Jul 17, 2012 at 17:23
  • one possible alternative would be using KDE4 and making it look like Unity, as described in this German blog (if you don't speak/read German, just take a look at the screenshots there and try to translate the page using e.g. Google translate -- this should at least give you the basic info).
    – Izzy
    Jul 17, 2012 at 20:18
  • Unity being a Compiz Plug in won't run if Compiz isn't running, Compiz a Window manager, Kwin is a Window manager, Kwin will replace Compiz and viceversa thus disabling Unity in the process. Jul 17, 2012 at 23:54
  • As it has been awhile since I had used Unity, I was not sure if it was still fully created by Compiz. Thank you @Izzy for the reference to the blog. That has been a great starting point. Jul 18, 2012 at 15:49

1 Answer 1


I've been using Unity-2D with KWin for about two weeks now. In the login screen, choose Unity-2D as your session type. Install the kde-window-manager package to get kwin. Then fire up a terminal and run kwin --replace &!. You'll probably want the systemsettings and kde-config-gtk packages for configuration.

  • After running "kwin --replace &!" unity launcher and top panel are gone.
    – shantanu
    Sep 7, 2014 at 18:32

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