Auto-hiding the application menu in Unity makes no sense to me. It slows me down because instead of automatically moving the cursor to the appropriate menu item I have to look for it then remember that it is hidden and move my cursor to the menu bar. Maybe over time this will become automatic but even so it still doesn't make any sense.

Just wondering if there are some good reasons for this decision or was it just a programmer showing off.

closed as primarily opinion-based by user25656, dobey, Mateo, stephenmyall, Mitch Jul 9 '13 at 21:37

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There are a couple of good reasons. One is saving screen space on small screens. You want to focus on content as much as possible. Hiding parts of a picture in order to show a menu, isn't really that friendly. Also, by hiding the menus when you don't need them, you make the desktop feel less cluttered and technical. A lot of application developers have also started removing the menu bar and the way things are going, the old-style menus will be superseeded by new ways of accomplishing your goals.

You can deactivate this if you want to, although it's not as user friendly as it could be. Press Alt+F2 and enter gksu gedit /etc/X11/Xsession.d/81ubuntumenuproxy. The file will be empty because it does't exist yet. Enter the following: UBUNTU_MENUPROXY=0 and save the file. The next time you log in, menus will be on each window and not in the panel. In order to reverse, just open the file again and remove the content.

  • I take your point that one menu bar at the top of the screen saves screen space by freeing up space in each window that was formerly used for the menu. However why not display the menu items permanently? Auto hiding them doesn't seem to serve any function, nor save any space, unless there are some notifications or other info that is displayed in that area. Maybe I missed something but I have yet to see anything other than menu items in the application menu. – user173838 Jul 9 '13 at 23:35
  • It combines the top panel, the window decorator (title, close, min,max) and menubar into one panel when it's maximized. That's quite a bit of vertical space saved without losing any functionality. It might take some getting used to, because you're already used to something else, but I think it's a very big improvement. – Jo-Erlend Schinstad Jul 10 '13 at 17:11
  • I agree it saves space - my frustration is why are the menu items HIDDEN? Hiding them doesn't save space because the screen real estate is still there and being used, but it is blank (ie wasted). – user173838 Jul 10 '13 at 17:59
  • No, when the application is maximized, the same thing happens except menus share space with the window title. That's highly useful. I suppose consistency is part of the equation. But menubars are outdated and won't be used by most applications in any case. It's been the case that many applications add menubar simply to not look strange. Those often contain only File > Exit and Help > About. That's not useful. – Jo-Erlend Schinstad Jul 11 '13 at 18:31

The rationale is that hardware is moving in the direction of touch screens and tablets.

Keep in mind that you can use the "Windows" / "Super" button on your keyboard and then start typing the name of the application you need. You can also right click on the icon when an application is open and lock it to the task bar.

Ultimately with the keyboard shortcuts, the new unity is a lot faster when looking for applications.

Still frustrated? You could also install something like Cairo Dock or my personal favorite EasyStroke which allows you to create mouse gestures that open specific programs or input commands.

Xubuntu, Lubuntu, and Linux Mint may be the way to go if the new Unity just isn't for you. Enjoy.

  • Unity Desktop is not designed particularly for touch, though you can use touch if you want. That's just a myth. In any case, hiding file, edit, etc, wouldn't do anything to make Ubuntu more touch friendly. If anything, the opposite. But that's fine. Unity for Touch devices is a different thing and is designed for touch. – Jo-Erlend Schinstad Jul 10 '13 at 17:35

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