It seems that the wishes of the Linux fans have finally come true as after six long years of requests, as the Unity 7 desktop on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS can now be moved from the left side to the bottom of the screen. This is an official feature now.
However, it’s tricky and requires a hidden terminal command. All of this has been possible only due to the efforts of Marco Trevisan, who works on Ubuntu Kylin which can be said as an official flavour of Ubuntu targeted for Chinese users. Kylin uses some different software but it uses the same Unity desktop environment as used in the main Ubuntu version.
After the numerous requests of users went unheeded, Trevison had posted modified Unity code which would allow the users to relocate the launcher in December last year. It was, however, unclear whether this code would be incorporated into the main version of Ubuntu or not. It has finally been included as a part of Unity 7 desktop on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.
You just need to open a terminal and insert the following command on your Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to relocate your launcher:
gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Bottom
You can move the launcher back to its original position by this code:
gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Launcher launcher-position Left
Ubuntu’s developers may even add a graphical appearance tool to make it easier, but it doesn’t seem inclined in doing so.
The question arises what took this so long. Going back in history, responding to a bug report back in 2010, where a user had asked for the ability to relocate the Unity launcher to other sides of the screen, Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Linux had said, “I’m afraid that won’t work with our broader design goals, so we won’t implement that. We want the launcher always close to the Ubuntu button.”
This was his reason for not adding this capability back then, however, in subsequent responses he conceded to the idea that he was open to a code adding this option, but on the condition that someone else would have to write, test and submit it.
He said in 2013, “I’ll take time again to express what I think is the real challenge: we have built a converged UI across phone, tablet and desktop.”
The left edge of the screen was intended for launching all apps across various Ubuntu platforms, from PCs to phones to tablets.
However, this has never been a major issue considering the fact that users can install numerous other desktop environments that function and although the Unity desktop is the default, but it is still optional.
There hasn’t been any official word on the addition of this option but the timing sure seems strange considering the fact that Ubuntu is finally shipping smartphones and tablets featuring the new Unity 8 Desktop while this option has been added only to the older Unity 7 desktop, which doesn’t support convergence.
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is shaping up to be quite a release and will bring a lot many features including the new speedier GNOME’s software app instead of Ubuntu Software Center. Linux is also finally ending the controversial practice of doing online searches by default. AMD users should, however, avoid it for now considering the fact that it drops AMD’s catalyst driver.
This is all for now, stay tuned for more news and updates.