I really need to use the GNOME Applets, is there a way to do it?

  • 5
    This is great that you are posting this, what you should do is copy the tutorial part as an answer and just have this question be "How do I use the GNOME Panel in Unity?", that way you have the question and the answer. Nice work! May 2, 2011 at 3:08
  • See also this answer for bonobo based applets running from the command line (which would be a solution specific to Natty only)
    – sdaau
    Mar 28, 2013 at 22:09

3 Answers 3


The original author included this in the Question body rather than as an answer. As such I've made this a CW Answer.

Basically run gnome-panel and remove the top panel, and delete all the things we dont need from the panel, i only add the CPU Frequency Monitor to tweak the CPU Speeds.

  1. Run gnome-panel in the terminal (Don't close the terminal until finished with the instructions).

  2. A GNOME Classic desktop will appear over unity

  3. Remove the top panel for we can use the Unity panel. If you cannot right click it, press Alt + Super + Right Click.

  4. Unlock all the applets from the bottom panel (for we can remove some things we dont need 'cause the unity launcher already do some of this things).

  5. Remove everything you don't need from the panel.

  6. With the bottom gnome-panel empty add your applets.

  7. If you like to have the bottom bar extended over the launcher, you can stop here. If you don't continue the steps.

  8. Right click over the gnome-panel then choose properties.

  9. Uncheck the 'Expand' box.

  10. Add gnome-panel to startup applications..

This is a picture of my desktop! on the bottom the Cpu Applets

  • 5
    I can't right click any of the gnome-panel. (Oneiric). Any ideas? Oct 1, 2011 at 0:56
  • @Lukehasnoname If you have a new question, please ask it by clicking the Ask Question button. Oct 1, 2011 at 1:08
  • 1
    How do I perform step #3. I right-click on the bar, but no menu appears. And when I right-click the shown items, none of them contain an option to remove the "top panel" (or any panel). So how did you remove that top panel? Please elaborate!
    – honestann
    Jun 18, 2012 at 11:31
  • @MarcoCeppi, your comment just made your own answer useless :(
    – Septagram
    Nov 1, 2012 at 6:56

Install the gnome classic:

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

Do a logout and select gnome classic on login.

Remove the top bar using alt+right click

Rpen a terminal and type unity &

That's it!

  • 1
    No, he's asking about 11.04, not 11.10. Gnome Panel 2 was still available back then. :) Oct 25, 2011 at 3:22

I spent some time figuring out how to make it look like Gnome top panel is included inside Unity top panel and I finally managed to reach a plausible state, so I will share my knowledge:

Install gnome-shell and gnome-panel:

sudo apt install gnome-shell
sudo apt install gnome-panel

Install wmctrl:

sudo apt install wmctrl

Add this startup script:

sh -c "gnome-panel & sleep 1; wmctrl -r 'Top Centered Panel' -b add,above"

This ensures that Gnome top panel not only starts at the startup, but it is also visible atop Unity top panel without having to manually check the Always On Top attribute of the panel. Some sleep is necessary, so that wmctrl runs when Gnome top panel has already registered, so wmctrl can find it and set it to be always on top. Without this attribute checked, Gnome top panel might get under Unity top panel when you click on Unity top panel. The & symbol ensures that the rest of the command runs alongside gnome-panel, without it, the rest would run only after gnome-panel has finished running. However, the second delimiter of programs is ;, because we want wmctrl to run only after the sleep command has finished. Wrapping it all up inside sh -c makes it possible to run multiple commands in a startup script which is otherwise not permitted.

If you want to use a bottom panel, the wmctrl command looks like this:

wmctrl -r 'Bottom Expanded Edge Panel' -b add,above"

If you want to use several Gnome panels, you can write several wmctrl commands delimited by ;. If it does not work and the attribute Always On Top of your panel is not checked after a reboot, it might be because you wrote an incorrect name of the panel. To find out the name of your panel, use this command:

wmctrl -l

It lists the names of all running windows. To find out the name of your panel, firstly run this command without the panel running and then with the panel running. The new name which has appeared is the name of your panel.

Then, an additional step is good to do. Edit the file:


Add there this line:


The number might be lower. What this does it that it ensures that the mentioned startup script runs 5 seconds after the startup. Most probably, the desktop and theme have finished initializing until then, so the panel gets the same text color as is specified in your theme. Without this command, I had a problem with the app Character Palette - the symbols displayed at the top panel were too dark, because I set Gnome top panel's background to a dark color - the same as the color of my Unity panel - and the text of the Character Palette panel did not pick the text color of my theme.

Reboot and Gnome top panel should be displayed atop Unity top panel. However, it probably completely covers Unity top panel. To make it occupy only the center space, Hold Super + Alt and right-click on either the left or right edge of Gnome top panel. A menu should appear, click on Properties. Uncheck Expand. It should be a bit less wide now. Additionally, remove any applets which you do not want inside Gnome top panel by again holding Super + Alt and right-clicking on them and clicking on Remove from Panel. This will additionally shrink Gnome top panel until it does not cover the applets of Unity top panel. Add the applets you want in Gnome top panel by holding Super + Alt and right-clicking on the left or right edge of Gnome top panel and clicking on Add To Panel....

Additionally, to make it look like Gnome top panel is included in Unity top panel, make the background color of Gnome top panel the same as the color of Unity top panel. For this, I used my favorite color picker kcolorchooser which is able to provide you with the hex code of any color on your screen you pick. Run kcolorchooser, click on Pick Screen Color and click on Unity top panel. Copy the value of the field HTML: in kcolorchooser. Open the Properties of Gnome top panel, choose the tab Theme, check Background color, click on the color, under the headline Custom, click on the button + and paste the copied color to the text field.

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