I installed Cinnamon 1.8 on Ubuntu 13.04, and now I would like to completely remove Unity and everything related to it, but I'd like to keep the programs, LightDM and Software Center.

What packages should I remove?

  • 3
    Hopefully there will ever be Cubuntu.
    – jobukkit
    Jun 2, 2013 at 10:32

1 Answer 1


I decided to get my hands dirty and hunt down all files related to Unity in Ubuntu 13.04. I will share my experience in switching to Cinnamon and completely remove Unity.

I am not responsible for any damage to your system nor any loss of data. A Backup is recommended.

First you will need to add the Cinnamon PPA and install it.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gwendal-lebihan-dev/cinnamon-stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cinnamon nemo

After Cinnamon is installed, logoff or reboot the system and login in Cinnamon. You can customize it now, or later, it's up to you.

Now you will need to make Nemo the default file manager.

xdg-mime default nemo.desktop inode/directory application/x-gnome-saved-search
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background show-desktop-icons false
gsettings set org.nemo.desktop show-desktop-icons true

Then run the command below, if Nemo opens this means that everything is configured correctly.

xdg-open $HOME

Now, let's get rid of Unity.

I searched carefully at all the files related to Unity, with the help of Synaptic, and gather them all into a single command line. The next command will completely remove Unity and everything related with it, but will keep LightDM, Software Center and all the programs that comes with Ubuntu.

sudo apt-get autoremove --purge unity unity-common unity-services unity-lens-\* unity-scope-\* unity-webapps-\* gnome-control-center-unity hud libunity-core-6\* libunity-misc4 libunity-webapps\* appmenu-gtk appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-qt\* overlay-scrollbar\* activity-log-manager-control-center firefox-globalmenu thunderbird-globalmenu libufe-xidgetter0 xul-ext-unity xul-ext-webaccounts webaccounts-extension-common xul-ext-websites-integration gnome-control-center gnome-session

Please note that there are a few libraries that will remain in the system, they are necessary, removing them will break your programs and possibly the system. These libraries should remain:

gir1.2-unity-5.0 libunity-common libunity-protocol-private0 libunity9 unity-asset-pool unity-greeter

There is a Thunderbird extension called “Messaging Menu and Unity Launcher integration” that needs to be removed from its folder.

sudo rm /usr/lib/thunderbird-addons/extensions/[email protected]

Cinnamon uses Muffin as window manager, so you can safely remove Compiz.

sudo apt-get autoremove --purge compiz compiz-gnome compiz-plugins-default libcompizconfig0

If you installed Nemo you can remove Nautilus as well.

sudo apt-get autoremove --purge nautilus nautilus-sendto nautilus-sendto-empathy nautilus-share

Optionally, you can remove Zeitgeist, which is considered intrusive by many users, this will also free some memory and reduce hard disk access.

zeitgeist-daemon --quit
sudo apt-get autoremove --purge activity-log-manager-common python-zeitgeist rhythmbox-plugin-zeitgeist zeitgeist zeitgeist-core zeitgeist-datahub

You can also remove configurations files related to Unity, Compiz, Nautilus and Zeitgeist, on your home directory. They are in the following paths:


Another good tip is install Bleachbit, to remove temporary files from your system.

sudo apt-get install bleachbit

That's it, now reboot the system to clear the memory and make sure everything is fine. If all went well, you now have a clean and elegant system running!

With Cinnamon my system became much more fluid, especially on gaming, and the memory consumption has been reduced by 118MB.

Unity: 579MB vs Cinnamon: 461MB

Hope this helps.

  • 1
    Updated: Added instructions on how to remove Compiz and Zeitgeist.
    – Removed
    May 11, 2013 at 2:26
  • Very proactive and thorough, Dennis. Kudos!
    – gravity
    May 14, 2013 at 19:01
  • @Dennis this is really a great answer...
    – Amit
    May 30, 2013 at 6:10
  • This one break my system.. I have a desktp with some icons. No unity or Cinnamon. Jun 18, 2013 at 0:29
  • @Roshan George Sorry to hear that, possibly is a specific issue, maybe hardware related.
    – Removed
    Jun 22, 2013 at 5:04

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