I'm using Ubuntu 14.04 and found out that we can install Unity 8 on it. Will Unity 8 replace Unity 7 once I install it? And if it does can I switch back to Unity 7 if I want? How would one go about it?


So far the best way I've found is to install the edge snap, which has a few advantages over the .deb session.

  • It runs on 16.04, I don't need to upgrade my base OS.
  • It's all self contained, so I'm not stomping on my existing system, so when I remove it my system remains clean.
  • It gets updated independently of what's in 16.04

All I did was:

sudo snap install unity8-session --edge --devmode

Then I have an option to login to Unity 8 on the login screen. I was able to get a working desktop (albeit unfinished) on my laptop. To remove the session:

sudo snap remove unity8-session
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  • I tried this in zesty, up-to-date, and then I couldn't log in. I had to remove the snap to be able to log in again to unity7. – elopio Mar 7 '17 at 0:45

Warning, this project is now depreciated (i.e., don't use this method to install Unity 8, use the unity8-desktop-session-mir method)

Quoted/Stolen/copied from It's F.O.S.S.

You can install Unity 8 desktop preview if you want to try and test it.


For Ubuntu 12.04 and 14.04:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:unity8-desktop-session-team/unity8-preview-lxc
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install unity8-lxc

For Ubuntu 14.10 and 15.04

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity8-lxc

Setting Up

Run the command

sudo unity8-lxc-setup

This will take some time since it's going to download the ISO and then extracts it, and then any last bits of setup necessary to make it work. It will also install a slightly modified version of LightDM. Once everything is done, a restart is required.

Select Unity 8

From the login screen, click on the Ubuntu icon beside your login name

enter image description here

You should see the option of Unity 8 here. Select it:

enter image description here

To remove Unity 8 use this command:

sudo apt-get remove unity8-lxc
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  • mathcubes@MathCubes-VM:~$ sudo unity8-lxc-setup [sudo] password for mathcubes: failed on url cdimage.ubuntu.com/… could not read control file from URL cdimage.ubuntu.com/… usage: unity8-lxc-setup [-h] [--rebuild-all] [--rebuild-config] [--rebuild-rootfs] [--redownload] [--test SECONDS] [--destroy] [--update-lxc] unity8-lxc-setup: error: No Unity 8 Desktop Next ISO exists! – MathCubes Dec 26 '15 at 22:34
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    I think your package is outdated. I think it should be unity8-desktop-session-mir. – Léo Léopold Hertz 준영 Jun 1 '16 at 18:12

You can! What you need to do is to go to the terminal (accessible through the Dash) and type in sudo apt-get install unity8-desktop-session-mir.

Next you have to log out, and you may need to restart. I had to. Once you restart, click on the Ubuntu logo on the login screen and select the Unity 8 Mir option. You'll then be able to use Unity 8 and Mir. Please note that Unity 8 is unstable and prone to crashes, and it's touch-optimized, like Windows 8. Also, the only way to get out of Unity 8 is to press the power button, and there are no window controls. You can also launch it from the command line by using unity8 -mousetouch on the desktop. With this, you can get Unity 8 running in a resizable window on top of Unity 7 or GNOME Panel. Resizing crashes Unity 8 when I use it in a window on my 64-bit installation. I also discovered that there is no keyboard support for most keyboards when using the Unity 8 Mir Desktop Session.

If you want the best Unity 8 experience, try Utopic Unicorn (14.10) Next or the daily build of Vivid Vervet (15.04) Next, both of which use the Unity 8 desktop (out of the two, I'd pick Vivid over Utopic).

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  • no such thing as mousetouch anymore :( – Decebal May 1 '16 at 14:29
  • Can you please specific what you mean by mousetouch? – Léo Léopold Hertz 준영 Jun 1 '16 at 18:13

It seems like installing The Unity 8 Desktop (Preview) in an LXC is the best way currently to test Unity 8, at least that is what Nicholas Skaggs from the QA team wrote about in a recent blogpost.

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  • Just download 15.04 from daily images. – Akiva Dec 10 '14 at 11:35
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    @Akiva What do you mean? The vivid daily-live iamges still contain Unity 7, are you talking about the vivid desktop-next images? – LiveWireBT Dec 10 '14 at 12:11
  • Note: This doesn't seem to work on 14.04 yet. Bug Bug I'm still trying out various things that a Canonical dev has suggested though so it may be that it will work once I get round to doing a few things. – Ads20000 May 7 '15 at 7:42

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