As opposed to this question, I'd like to change the window manager that unity-2d launches when logging in. IOW, when I select a "Unity 2d" session at the greeter screen and log in, I want to change things such that a different window manager is launched instead of metacity.

Neither setting the:


nor the


gconf keys seems to make a difference.
How can this be done? I'm running Ubuntu 11.04.

$ apt-cache policy unity-2d
  Version table:
 *** 0
        500 http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ natty/main i386 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
  • I'm not clear on what you are asking as distinct from the other question. (Perhaps if the answer in the other was elaborated, I would see this more easily....) – belacqua Sep 14 '11 at 16:56
  • Not sure how to make it clearer. I elaborated in the question. Perhaps if you told me what was unclear about the question... – Ross Patterson Sep 14 '11 at 17:04

Unity 2D is largely window-manager independent. However the Unity 2D session defines metacity as the window-manager and ignores the relevant gconf keys you listed.

If you look in /usr/share/gnome-session/sessions you will see the different sessions defined for the benefit of gnome-session.

You can create a new session. For example, here is mine, called 2d-ubuntu-compiz.session:

[GNOME Session]
Name=Unity 2D with Compiz

You could also change the line to Required-windowmanager=gnome-wm

which should then respect the gconf keys for the window manager.

Then all you need is to tell the logon manager (gdm) about your new session. Create a new file in /usr/share/xsessions. Here is mine, called unity-2D-compiz.desktop

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Unity 2D with Compiz
Comment=This session logs you into Unity 2D
Exec=gnome-session --session=2d-ubuntu-compiz

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