How to run unity-2d in development mode?

Asked by Adi Roiban


Are there any hints about how to run unity-2d in development mode from withing a unity-2d session?

I would like to start the unity-2d session in „stable” mode and then for example just replace unity-2d-launcher with the one that I have already compiled.

The information from Unity „Get involved” page are very general.

How are unity-2d developers working on unity-2d?

Many thanks!

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Olivier Tilloy
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Best Olivier Tilloy (osomon) said :

Thanks for your interest in contributing to unity-2d!
There is indeed currently no documentation for developers interested in running unity-2d in development mode, that’s something we need to fix. Here is a quick guide to get started:

 - Install bzr and all the required dependencies:
    sudo apt-get install bzr
    sudo apt-get build-dep unity-2d

 - Check out the trunk:
    bzr branch lp:unity-2d

 - Edit the files /usr/share/applications/unity-2d-launcher.desktop and /usr/share/applications/unity-2d-panel.desktop to change the value of the X-GNOME-AutoRestart key to 'false'. In subsequent sessions, this will prevent gnome-session from re-spawning automatically the launcher and the panel when you kill them, which you will need to do if you want to run them from the development branch

 - Log out / log back in

 - cd into the checked out branch

 - invoke the following commands to build unity-2d:
    cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=$HOME/opt/unity-2d .

 - To replace e.g. the running launcher with the locally compiled one, do the following:
    killall unity-2d-launcher

 - There you go! The same applies to the panel (./panel/app/unity-2d-panel), the dash (./places/app/unity-2d-places) and the spread (./spread/app/unity-2d-spread).

 - If you want to submit your work for inclusion in the trunk, commit your changes locally, push your branch to launchpad and submit a merge request, we’ll happily review it and help you in the process. If you need help with using bzr and launchpad, check out the great documentation at

I hope this helps!

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Adi Roiban (adiroiban) said :

Thanks Olivier Tilloy, that solved my question.

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Adi Roiban (adiroiban) said :


Thanks. This answer is very nice written!

I am familiar with bzr and LP and was able to build the project. I am not familiar with gnome-session and I did not how to change it to prevent it from restarting the components when I kill them :)