i want my old gnome gui back!

Asked by jj on 2011-05-29

i upgraded from ubuntu 10 to 11 and started working with the new launcher/unity whatever...

i went to the ubuntu desktop guide to get some help with this crappy interface. when i saw the opening statements in the overview section about how "Unity is designed to minimize distractions, give you more room to work, and help you get things done," i didn't know whether to laugh at the lunacy of the statements or reach through the monitor to strangle someone.

first, as far as i'm concerned, "unity" MAXIMIZES distractions, not minimizes them. second, it takes up far more desktop real estate with those stupid kindergarten sized icons (i did manage to get them down from 48 to 32, but they're still too big) leaving less room on the desktop not more. yes, i know they're supposed to disappear when not in use, that's not the point. i like small icons, i'm not blind. third, the menu/icon structure is a complete hassle as there are current items installed that were on the old gnome menu (from ubuntu 10) that are no longer on the current menu/unity/launcher/whatever. forth, i absolutely hate those "most frequently used" menus and the fact that the installed icons are by default always minimized in the flyout menus forcing the user to constantly have to click on the "see more" link to show more of the menu items. so far, i haven't found where to turn off this so-called helpful feature nor where i can go to modify/adjust the look/feel of this system to be more customized to how i like to work. there are far more negatives that i have found with this system, but this really isn't the venue to enumerate on them as you get the picture from the above summary.

anyway, enough of my ranting. i have tried to work with this new system and i hate it. so my question is, how do i keep the new version 11 update to ubuntu (as there are some features that i do like -- none of which are tied to the gui), but restore the old gnome menu system/gui? i'd also be open to customization help of this gui, but keep in mind that any customization advice will need to involve some major changes to how the gui works/presents itself. for example, please don't mention about the "launcher & menus" option. been there done that. doesn't even come close to modifying the gui to be helpful.

sorry for venting, just totally frustrated that ubuntu, who in the past, always produced a new version that seemed light years ahead of anything else, really took us back to the stoneage with this gui. i realize we all make mistakes, so i'm hoping to get around this one by either finding some way to make some major modifications to this new gui or find out how to go back to the old gnome gui way of doing things.

BTW, if the person(s) that worked on the "computer janitor" reads this, THANKS LOTS !!! when i first found this gem back in ubuntu 9, i totally loved it! for some reason when i upgraded to version 10, this program got hamstrung and became useless. now it's back to the way it was in version 9 and i GREATLY appreciate it!!!! excellent job!!


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Log off, click username, select gnome classic, log on

To use 11.04 with the classic GUI (i.e., not Unity), log out (click the power icon on the upper-right corner of the screen and click Log Out), the specify what user you want to log in as (i.e., click the username or type it in and press enter), then while you are being prompted for your password, you can specify your session type in a menu near the bottom of the screen. Change the session type from "Ubuntu" to "Ubuntu Classic" (or, if you prefer, "Ubuntu Classic (no effects)"). Then log in. This setting is remembered--you won't have to do this more than once.

Alternatively, you could go into the Login Screen control panel and change it there, but since you have to log out and back in again (or reboot) to change from Unity to a classic desktop, the former technique is probably easier and faster.

Sorry actionparsnip, I didn't see your post.

Bill Ballard (w-p-ballard) said : #4

I absolutely agree with jj on this, the new interface was totally frustrating. I guess you need to be an Apple person to love it.

I've never seen what actionparsnip was talking about when I logged out, I don't see the menu he is referring to to select gnome classic. Now I've gone back to 10.04 which seems to work fine for my purposes.

Sam_ (and-sam) said : #5

> don't see the menu he is referring to to select gnome classic


@Bill Ballard
In case you ever decide to return to Ubuntu 11.04, or you ever need to change your session type on your Ubuntu 10.04 system, it's accessible after you've specified your username, while you're typing in your password, and it looks like http://s4.postimage.org/7ltiirnfx/gdm_login_screen_select_session_type_natty.png. In the future, if you don't understand something answer to a question, please continue to feel free to post a comment as you have done here (or, if it's your own question, to reopen it), requesting clarification.

jj (engine2345) said : #8

ahhhhhhhh, thanks guys for all your input!!! i'm home again!!

thanks eliah for mentioning that i needed to look at the bottom of the login area. i never even noticed the info down there before.

anyway, it's good to know that i can still go back if i want to take the time to do a major overhaul to categorize my menu items, but i seriously doubt that i'll take the time to do that 'cause i really like the gnome classic gui.

thanks sam for the links. i read the info on the computer janitor and was surprised to find out that it's being dropped due to it being buggy. not sure why they don't just fix the bugs 'cause it's a great program. it never seemed buggy to me, (unless you want to count the way it worked in ubuntu 10 as i mentioned above). it's been a great way for quickly cleaning up the grub menu items once i get more than 3 or 4 versions of the kernel.

thanks for the ultra quick responses to my problem.


When you log a question, just stick to the facts and we cn advise faster rather than wading through oceans of emotional fluff.

Bill Ballard (w-p-ballard) said : #10


Thanks, that screen shot really helped, but I don't know that I ever saw that bar appear that offered me the option to change.


@Bill Ballard
Even in Ubuntu 10.04, you can select your session type in this way (though you won't see the same options, as Unity is not present by default in Ubuntu 10.04). The menu for selecting your session type only appears *after* you have indicated your username (either by clicking on your name, or by typing your username in and pressing enter), *while* you are being prompted for your password.

You can also set your session type in the Login Screen control panel.