This delayed answer is intended to simplify the combined solution of @Serg and @user.dz, as well as to explain known issues and the workarounds.
Combined solution simplified
universe repositories have been enabled (Default). If enabled later, run update by running
sudo apt-get update.
Install required packages (without extra plugins)
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-plugins-main
Run CompizConfig Settings Manager (CCSM)
Enable colored window border
In CCSM, go to Desktop > Ubuntu Unity Plugin > Decorations
Select checkbox for option "Override Theme Settings". For better visibility and matching colour, adjust these options: "Active window shadow radius" (suggested value:
20) and "Active window shadow color" (suggested opacity:
Enable ADD Helper
In CCSM, go to Accessibility > Dim Inactive > Misc. Options
First, select checkbox for option "Enable ADD Helper on start", then select checkbox for "Enable Dim Inactive". This way, plugin will be activated immediately without using keyboard shortcut.
Reload Unity (if above steps had no effect when enabled)
Known issues and workarounds
The following are known issues and workarounds that I am aware of.
Matching colour is vivid and great, but all windows are highlighted with same border colour when using window spread feature (keyboard shortcut Super+W or similar).
Proof: BEFORE - Same border colour; AFTER - Replaced with dimmed shadow
This is noticeable when using "coloured window border" only (step 3). Use ADD Helper to replace the highlighted borders for all windows with dimmed shadow (step 4). Changing the border colour may not help much, so user should use both (step 3 and 4) for best experience.
Active window works better with ADD Helper, but the dimming transition is slowing down the system on my machine.
Proof: Self-explanatory for affected users
This is easy to alleviate. In CCSM, go to Effects and deselect plugins for Animation and Fading Windows. Disabling these effects will make the system be more responsive.
Changing theme from Ambiance (default) to Radiance (alternative), vice versa, will cause coloured window border to disappear at all.
Proof: BEFORE - Coloured border shown, AFTER - Coloured border disappeared
This is likely a limitation for overriding the theme settings. The method is not persistent between changes. Therefore, after changing the theme, reload Unity (step 5) to show the coloured window border. Slower machine may need to reload Unity more than one time to take effect properly.
I had purposedly included only links to screenshots for simplicity.
Even without these screenshots, users who followed the solution will understand the issues once they start using. For users who are not having these issues, they likely have good hardware support that allows to run Unity environment without hiccups.
Tested working with Unity 7.4.0 and Compiz 0.9.12.2 in Ubuntu 16.04.