I am a Unity user, but I do prefer how Gnome solved some things.

Let me outline what I dislike about Unity:

  1. Dash - it's slow, looks awkward and does too much things, I just want to launch apps with it.
  2. Launcher - I can live with it, but I hide it by default, I want to have as much space for productivity as possible.
  3. The way launcher is revealed, I need to hover or hold super, I would prefer single button press like for dash, then keyboard navigation.

enter image description here

But I like everything else: how windows look, notifications, integrated menus, HUD...

I like how Gnome launcher works and looks: it's blazing fast, it's full screen and everything is just there under your fingertips. But what I don't like about Gnome is that desktop space is wasted on menus and window titles, window color is light and top bar is black, kinda inconsistent, missing HUD...

The question is, is there any way to have Gnome (or Gnome like) launcher in Unity, or the other way around maybe, to make Gnome look like Unity?

  • You can't do any thing like combining the two, they are independent desktop applications and need all there parts to run, it would be alot of work to add the gnome UI to Unity, seems to me that a simple desktop like cinnamon or MATE, without the fancy bits, combined with a dock application that hides until you mouse over it (like a mac)would meet your needs would it not ? – Mark Kirby Nov 7 '15 at 8:18
  • Gnome and Unity are closer to what I want from a desktop environment. I am thinking about replacing a dash with some launcher, just a simple search for app to run, lika Albert or Gnome Do, but one that fits visually like design-by-izo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/…. – umpirsky Nov 7 '15 at 8:30
  • Have you tried Ubuntu Tweak? I am using it to change the look of windows, cursors, etc. Although Ubuntu Tweak does not seem to be developed any more it still works for me. Try to install the latest version and make customizations in Gnome. Maybe you can change some settings with dconf-editor too. – nobody Nov 7 '15 at 10:00

2 solutions I know that might interest you are:

1) For GNOME:

Hide titlebar for maximized windows: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/354/maximus/

Get the global app menu(I never tried this): http://www.webupd8.org/2011/09/get-global-menu-in-gnome-shell.html

1.1) For theming you didn't like about GNOME:

Enable user themes: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/19/user-themes/

Install some theme that offers shell theme as well, I recommend: https://github.com/horst3180/Arc-theme

Open Tweak Tool(gnome-tweak-tool) and set Shell and GTK+ theme to something you like.

1.2) Unrelated to question, but for anyone who is reading this and wants unity dash as well: https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/307/dash-to-dock/

2) For Xfce:

Yea, I know you didn't mention Xfce, but it is highly customizable, and I would recommend you try it.

Move menu bar: http://www.webupd8.org/2015/02/use-global-menu-in-xubuntu-or-linux.html

Hide titlebar for maximized windows: http://ubuntuhandbook.org/index.php/2014/09/window-titlebar-buttons-on-panel-xfce4/

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  • Thanks, very interesting links! Still looking for some good Dash replacement for Unity, as it is closer to what I want then Gnome. – umpirsky Nov 7 '15 at 21:03

Steps I did to achieve the closest to what I need:

  1. Disabled dash.
  2. Installed Synapse indicator.
  3. Used xdotool to have keyboard shortcut.
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