I currently have the latest Ubuntu 12.10 installed on my laptop. Usually I use Launchy application to have a quick access to any app/config/file etc. Now I'm trying to get used to Dash, which is supposed to be default way to do such things in recent Ubuntu versions. The difference between the usage of Launchy and Dash is following:

Launchy: Alt+Space -> Launchy shell shown instantly -> type your request -> open the target

Dash: SuperKey -> PERIOD -> Dash is shown -> type your request -> PERIOD -> navigate with arrow buttons between the results -> open the desired result

Another problem. When I type the term "ryth" (which is incorrectly spelled part of "Rhythmbox") what is shown in these 2 shells:

Launchy: 1 result, which is Rhythmbox. The letters 'r', 'y', 't' and 'h' are highlighted.

Dash: 2 results, which are MP3s from Amazon and are completely irrelevant to my request

So is there any way to tweak the Dash to allow me to use it as I use Launchy with the same performance and results?


4 Answers 4


You can use a 'low graphics mode' that Ubuntu 12.10 has. This mode disables some dash and launcher effects like active blur and transparency, this make Unity more responsive with a no powerful graphic card.

For activate this mode, you must add following line to ~/.xprofile (if the file doesn't exist, create it):


Logout, and come back for the effect to take place. This really works for me :-)

And for stop dash show you Amazon results, you can unistall the lens with:

sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping

And of course, logout and come back. Grettings!

  • I tried this and got an enormous speed boost! However, there is a huge rectangle at the edge of the screen (where the launcher should be). Do you know of anyway to fix this? Or do I definitely have to disable auto-hide?
    – deox
    Oct 29, 2012 at 5:07
  • I don't think there is a fix for that. Disable auto-hide and it will look fine.
    – FelGutiCo
    Oct 29, 2012 at 20:07

To have launchy behaviour with the power of unity dash I recommend you use synapse. synapse uses the same backend zeitgeist engine to crawl all your activity plus application and commandline run. easy to use ans super fast "low on resources" + themeable.

Open a terminal and copy past the PPA:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:synapse-core/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install synapse

After installation start a gnome classic session and look for the synapse under accessories, configure from the tray icon to auto start and your set with a full replacement of 95% of unity dash functions. add a dock launcher like Cairo-dock or AWN and your set to go with 50% faster experience.

  • I'm already reviewing this option. However, I've just read somewhere that Synapse is no longer developed. Is it true or just rumors?
    – afrish
    Oct 19, 2012 at 14:29
  • That is NOT TRUE, the Synapse team has a development PPA for testing and they are still active, see for example: launchpad.net/~synapse-core/+archive/… Oct 19, 2012 at 14:34
  • This is very interesting option, but still I'd like to see if there are any ways to make use of Dash, since it's the main approach Canonical will go in the nearest future.
    – afrish
    Oct 19, 2012 at 14:53
  • Unity will never preform well under normal to relatively old PCs. you need a powerful graphic card to get unity snappy enough while doing other tasks like watching videos or browsing mutability. unity takes too much resources with all the services running behind to keep those Lenese fresh. </br/> look at system monitor and see how many ram and cpu power used by unity services. Oct 19, 2012 at 15:10
  • I found this statement on Launchpad: "Alberto (albyrock87) said on 2012-04-01: I'm really sorry but we are both busy with our jobs, so at the moment we are no more active on Synapse." answers.launchpad.net/synapse-project/+question/192032
    – afrish
    Oct 26, 2012 at 11:32

The very bad performance of the Dash is a bug that appears to have a fix incoming (or already uploaded?). The bug report is at https://bugs.launchpad.net/unity/+bug/1064834 and your question sounds just like you experience this problem. Try to install nux 3.1 and see if it helps.

Like others already pointed out, the irrelevant results from Amazon can be eliminated using

sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping

and logging out + in again.

  • I have patch #1064834, it doesn't improve performance, at least not noticeably. I've also removed lens's like the shopping one, disabled online searching results in dash: >System Settings > Privacy > Search Results = Off, and also disabled "available apps" from software center in the applications lens: $ dconf-editor > desktop/unity/lenses/applications > Uncheck "display-available-apps. None of these configurations improve performance much at all. Oct 25, 2012 at 15:21

Try to disable 'Record Activity' options in the 'Privacy' settings.

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