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I did a quite drastic removal of packages from my Ubuntu, and seem to have lost the sidebar / dock in Unity. The desktop icons are still there and work, but there's no way to launch applications from the side-bar or get to the terminal.

What's the name of the program / package so I can reinstall it?

Update : actually it's worse than this. I seem to have lost the ability to tab between different windows, and all the necessary Window maximize / minimize / close buttons in the "chrome" of the browser are gone too. How can I restore these?

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You should be able to get a terminal Window by hitting Ctrl+Alt+T or executing "gnome-terminal" in the Alt+F2 HUD.
If those two also disappeared, you have to use the TTY1 full-screen terminal. You get there by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F1. You get back to the graphical surface (TTY7) with Ctrl+Alt+F7. In the TTY, you have to login first by manually entering your username and password. After that you may run any command you want.

I am not sure which packages you have removed or which packages are needed to get back these basic functionalities, but I would think that reinstalling ubuntu-desktop would be a good start.

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop --reinstall
  • Yes, that reinstall of ubuntu-desktop was exactly what I needed. What I'd (rather foolishly) done was try to apt-get remove python2.7 from my machine. A hell of a lot of dependent functionality went with it. – interstar Mar 16 '15 at 19:50
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    Nice to read that I could help you. Next time you should read through the list of packages that is going to be removed before saying yes and amen... :) – Byte Commander Mar 16 '15 at 19:56

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