Alternative desktop environment with ONLY a sidebar (no top panel menu bar, please!)


Currently, I’m running on stock Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with the default Unity DE. The only visual changes I’ve made are using Unity & Gnome Tweak Tools.

My issue, as it were, is to do with the Unity menu bar / the panel across the top of the screen. I have quite limited screen estate on my laptop, especially vertically. As a result, I was looking for a way to auto-hide that panel since it isn’t all that useful to me under most circumstances. I’m all about keyboard shortcuts when it comes to general access of programs and windows/workspace management.

However, a brief Google later, it seems as if that’s not a viable possibility at this point in time… Which is pretty unfortunate given that a Mac OS with a similarly styled GUI handles this very option quite well; although, I’m aware of making direct comparisons between something like Apple Mac to Ubuntu’s open source project is a bit of a stretch.

Putting that aside, I believe that, for once, Windows 10 has achieved the perfect balance with their vertical task bar as shown in the image attached below.


Some of its notable features include:

Apps can be pinned by just their icons.
Pinned icons act as app launchers.
Pinned icons also house live instance(s) of the app within itself.
Indicators display when an app is live, active or has multiple instances open.
System toggles (volume, network), notifications area & date/time widgets are all packed away neatly along the bottom.
Right-click context menus are available from each app icon to access their commonly used features or switch between live instances of the app.
Keyboard shortcuts to access any of the apps (Super + #) which can: open a new instance of the app, minimize the active app session & switch between different instances of the app.

Unity has almost all of these features, bar the presence of widgets at the bottom: hence the existence of the menu bar. It also doesn’t support all of the aforementioned keyboard shortcuts but it’s got the important ones. Ideally, I’d like a replica of the Windows task bar on Unity. Tabs on Google Chrome browser are a big reason towards hiding the top panel since it serves no real purpose other than to make it that much more annoying to change tabs using the mouse, however occasional as that is.

With the arrival of the option to move the Unity sidebar to the bottom of the screen, I’d hoped there’d be some way to auto-hide the top panel. Since that hasn’t been the case, I’ve looked around for alternative DEs which maintain a close resemblance to Unity while ticking most of the feature checkboxes above. Xubuntu Xfce was one of the options I’d tried & made some good progress towards my target. Having re-positioned the menu bar along the side of the screen & installed DockbarX ( to combine & group app icons, it was a lot closer to what I was looking for. Unfortunately, all keyboard shortcuts are hard-coded to open pre-selected apps. A whole host of other packages & dependencies are also needed to be installed to get anywhere near the usual functionality of Ubuntu in terms of compton/compiz compositor visuals for window management as well as tweaks like hot corners & such.

So my question… Does anyone know of a very similar DE to Unity with a majority of features from the list above that can also hide its menu bar? Cheers.

XFCE’s panel(s) can be relocated to either side of the display, and have a dock-mode option.

Believe MATE can be configured without any panels and using a dock like Plank or Dockey.

There are, I recall, Gnome extensions that hide its top panel until a mouseover. Look also at the Dash-to-Dock extension and how it can be configured.

Panels and docks are typically assumed to be difference creatures. Some of the functionality may not be available without a panel. A more esoteric approach would be a tilable window manager like i3 which is built to rely on keyboard use. Add in a dock and a panel and maybe you’d have something.

View split



I am working with Gnome Shell on 15.10 and I really love the “view split on left/right” function to make windows take up the whole left/right half of the screen. As I am working with quite a wide screen, I would prefer to use three parts (left, center, right) instead of two halves, however.

I wonder if anyone can advise on how to realise this …

montag dp

This can be done in KDE. I’m not sure if it’s possible in Gnome, though. I’d guess not if you don’t see it in the list of keyboard shortcuts.


Hi eclipticon2.

I don’t know a way to this automatically, however if you right-click the maximize button of a window, it would only expand horizontally. I think that would leave you half way there.

Hope it help.

P.S.: middle-click on the same button expand a window vertically.


Hi papibe,is this on Gnome 3 Shell? Both do not work for me …


bummer :/

Unity has shortcuts available for that operation (maximize vertically and horizontally).

Have you look into Gnome keyboard shortcuts?

Just a thought.

14.04: how to start fvwm2 inside Gnome session?


I am a long time fvwm user since 1995. I am a computer programmer (among other things) and I find my custom fvwm2 config to be so much more productive than any other desktop environment.

However, I do need to use gnome panel and indicator applets inside fvwm, and this is where I have troubles.

I wanted to try to start gnome for the proper gnome panels, and then replace metacity with fvwm as the window manager.

Unfortunately, it does NOT work correctly and starting “fvwm2 -replace &” logs me out of my session.

The error message that I captured was:

access control enabled, only authorized clients can connect
localhost being added to access control list
[fvwm][ProcessICEMSGS]: <>
Connection to session manager lost

Is there some trick to starting (or switching to) fvwm2 inside a gnome session?


Installing LXDE in normal Unity Ubuntu


Hi ubuntu users.I’m currently trying to find out whats the best way to install the LXDE DE on Ubuntu with Unity DE.What I want to is to install only the minimum of LXDE so it doesn’t interfere with the currently installed Unity as I also am not interested in the programs that come with it.So which package should I install?(I want it to use lightdm-locker as a lockscreen not xscreensaver)

Probably don’t install the recommended packages. By default, recommended packages are considered as dependencies.

sudo apt install –no-install-recommends lxde lxde-common
You may have to install lxpolkit or run polkit-gnome in the lxde session to get the admin authentication window.

Have a look at the difference in packages to

sudo apt install lxde

When running both you will be given the option to continue or quit, so you can just see what’s to be installed.

Make a copy of what’s installed so you can easily remove if needed.


Thanks will look into it.Also will it use light-dm as lockscreen or will I have to configure that?


You may have to add other packages for complete functionality.
You may not be even able to logout.
If so, to log out run…

kill -9 -1
I’m not really familiar with lxde.

Just look at the difference between the different install commands shown earlier
and add what you think you may need for the session to work properly.

The different sessions are basically a window manager, a session manager a panel or dock and a set of default applications.

Edit: Just tested and for logout to work…

sudo apt install lxsession-logout

Android studio title is invisible on the title bar when maximized.


I use android studio on Ubuntu because is a lot faster than windows among other things. However I have an annoying problem.

When android studio is maximized the title disappears, photo 1.
When the app isn’t maximized the title is shown perfectly, photo 2.
Another case is when android studio is maximized but without focus, then the text is shown.


Anybody with the same problem, solution?


Photo 1 maximized

Photo2 not maximized.

Abiword crashes upon opening


Using Lubuntu 15.10, I cannot open Abiword. When I try, a blank box opens as if Abiword is about to open, but shortly the box closes. Then the lubuntu error-report box appears. In the terminal, the following message shows up:

** (abiword:3154): WARNING **: Error retrieving accessibility bus address: org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.ServiceUnknown: The name org.a11y.Bus was not provided by any .service files
Aborted (core dumped)

Does anyone know what this error means and if it can be fixed?
Rex Bouwense

Have you tried uninstalling abiword and then reinstalling it?


Yes, uninstalling and reinstalling and then restarting worked. Thanks.

Rex Bouwense

Excellent. :popcorn:

Windows 7’s like Aero Snap in Gnome’s portrair mode.


Hello everyone.
I’m looking for some help with Gnome3 configuration on my Ubuntu machine. I was working in single-screen environment, but now, I’ve got second one and I decided to set it in portrait mode. As a long-time Windows 7+ user, I used to use the functionality, which allows to resize windows to the half of a screen by dragging them to the screen egdes (left/right, maximize by dragging to the top). It works fine on Gnome3, but there is a problem with portrait mode of a screen (1080×1920) – the shortcut WIN+Left/Right Arrow does not fit window into half of the screen. WIN+Up/Down resises window into Maximize/previous size.

Any ideas?

Thanks for any answers,


Unable to use “graphical” sudo but works fine in terminal


I can sudo in terminal, and start programs with from the terminal with sudo and perform administrative duties.
However if I don’t, and they ask for the password, for example in GParted or Ubuntu Software Center, I can not successfully approve the request with my password.
Often I can’t sudo these apps because they specifically ask for the sudo pwd. The application seems to fail.

This happens on a single user, on XFCE and Gnome 3.

I believe I started noticing it after I did some funky stuff to my home dir. I installed Ubuntu on a too small partition. Encryption was eating up space I didn’t have, and I had to move my /home/user folder and remove encryption. I successfully copied rights back to a new user(but with the same username) and symlinked /home/user to a different disk following a couple of guides I found.

My explanation of all this is that the GUI auth method uses some hash connected to a GUID to the username as well as the password whereas sudo does not?
I am very little familiar with the inner workings of Linux authentication, but this little problem is starting to get on my nerves a bit!

Any ideas? Any pointers in the right direction is appreciated!

try using “gksudo” in a terminal, and you might get an error message that will give you a clue.
gksudo nautilus
Or gksudo thunar


You should NEVER USE sudo FOR GUI APPLICATIONS; if you do it is possible that you may lock yourself out of the system as ownership of files and folders in your /home may become owned by root, not by you as user. Always use gksudo or gksu instead.

for more information and discussion.


I think he is actually having problems with gksudo, which is why I suggested running it in a terminal to see if he gets any error messages.


You should NEVER USE sudo FOR GUI APPLICATIONS; if you do it is possible that you may lock yourself out of the system as ownership of files and folders in your /home may become owned by root, not by you as user. Always use gksudo or gksu instead.

for more information and discussion.

sudo with the -H switch will work as it sets the correct home environment variable for the root user. This should stop the users home folder or files being altered which is usually the problem with sudo and graphical applications.

From “man sudo” …

-H, –set-home
Request that the security policy set the HOME environment variable to the home directory spec‐
ified by the target user’s password database entry. Depending on the policy, this may be the
default behavior.

Regards, yeti.


Apparently gksu package was not installed, after installing it, everything seems to work like normal again.
I do not recall uninstalling that by choice!

Possibly corrupted something when moving stuff and changing up user rights causing it to fail somehow?
Strange… But seems to be solved!
Thank you! 🙂


gksu was probably not installed, it isn’t always required.
Installing it probably reset your HOME environment variable


Most likely the HOME var. I changed when I messed around with the location but perhaps it didn’t propagate to all places that needed it and copy it upon install/config instead of reading it live?