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Revision as of 07:25, 15 March 2013 by Fengchao (Talk | contribs) (Quote from its site. Unity belongs to Ubuntu which is more true after Mir.)

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Template:Article summary start Template:Article summary text Template:Article summary heading Template:Article summary wiki Template:Article summary end Unity is a powerful desktop and netbook environment that brings consistency and elegance to the Ubuntu experience.


There are two ways to install Unity on Archlinux: from the source and from a repository.

From source

All of the PKGBUILDs can be browsed on the Github repository, where Unity-For-Arch provides a minimal working Unity shell, and Unity-For-Arch-Extra provides some additional applications, including lightdm-ubuntu (lightdm with ubuntu patches), light-themes, ubuntu-tweak (a popular unity tweak tool) and some more.

To install a minimal Unity shell:

1. 'cd' into a directory, where you want to keep the sources, and run:

$ git clone https://github.com/chenxiaolong/Unity-for-Arch.git

For this to work, git is required.

2 Open the README file and build packages according to the ordered list. Basically run:

$ cd packagename
$ rm -rvf # Clears out any files from a previous build
$ makepkg -sci # '-s' means install needed dependencies, '-c' means clear left files after build and '-i' means install the package after it is built.

3. Log out and log into the Unity session.

To use lightdm to start Unity, follow the same steps mentionned above to install lightdm-ubuntu and lightdm-unity-greeter from the Unity-For-Arch-Extra repository. lightdm needs to be added to autostart daemons. For Systemd users, check the Systemd wiki page.

Tip: To complete this procedure automatically, this script can be used.

From repository

Compiled packages are also available at unity.humbug.in and unity.xe-xe.org. Take unity.xe-xe.org as an example, to install the packages, add

Server = http://unity.xe-xe.org/$arch

Server = http://unity.xe-xe.org/extra/$arch

to /etc/pacman.conf


$ pacman -Suy
$ pacman -S $(pacman -Slq unity)
Tip: There are many ubuntu-patched packages that replace original Arch packages. It is also recommended to use freetype2-ubuntu from AUR.
Warning: Remember that you are installing unofficial packages which are not supported by the Arch Linux developers.
Warning: Almost all packages related to Unity in AUR are outdated. Do not mix those packages with the ones provided from the repository.


For Unity repository, the update is the same as packages from official repositories.


1. 'cd' into the 'Unity-for-Arch' directory where it was originally cloned

2. pull all of changes from github repository:

$ git pull

3. Check if packages need to be updated:

$ ./What_can_I_update\?.py

4. If any packages need to be updated, just build them like mentioned above in from source section.

Note: Sometimes if certain crucial package is updated, those package which depend on it will also need to be recompiled though they won't be reported. For example, Unity is often required to be recompiled if nux gets updated

Trouble Shooting

Unity notifications doesn't work

Ensure following is installed: notify-osd

Screensaver locking doesn't work

Ensure following is installed: gnome-screensaver . For now you need to also create this file

[D-BUS Service]
Exec=/usr/bin/gnome-screensaver --no-daemon

online accounts doesn't work

Ensure following is installed: signon-keyring-extension and gnome-keyring. You may also require telepathy to get certain accounts to work.

ssh keys aren't remembered by keyring

Ensure following is installed: gnome-keyring

KDE apps aren't integrated into the HUD and menubar

Ensure following is installed: appmenu-qt

Files and Folder lens doesn't seem to work or display anything

Ensure following is installed: zeitgeist and zeitgeist-datahub

Can't right click on desktop

Few things this addresses/fixes:

  • Can't right click on the desktop
  • Title bar at top doesn't display 'Arch Linux Desktop'
  • Shortcut keys like Super and Alt doesn't work when there are no active windows

Simply install gnome-tweak-tool then open Tweak Tool and check Have file manager handle the desktop. You might to uncheck Home icon visible on desktop and Trash icon visible on desktop.

Unity stops working after update

Try to run:

$ compiz.reset

and Log out and log into the Unity session.

If it still doesn't work, report an issue on github or discuss it on Arch forum.

Window decoration doesn't work properly

Try to install gnome-tweak-tool to adjust the theme.

Window decoration can't use certain theme

Install metacity-ubuntu instead of metacity.

Some gtk themes look ugly after update to Gnome 3.6

It also happens for unity default theme light-themes. Put

GtkLabel {
background-color: @transparent;

in .config/gtk3.0/gtk.css

Workspace switcher widget dissappeared

Check this setting: Go to settings, Appearance, Behaviour, Enable workspaces

Newly opened window is always placed at (0,0) on the screen

Metacity-ubuntu needs to be used instead of metacity. Metacity-ubuntu is now included in Unity-for-Arch again.

Window's titlebar still exists when maximized

Metacity-ubuntu needs to be used instead of metacity.

Indicator-messages doesn't work properly

Pidgin and a bunch of other applications can not be integrated into indicator-messages due to its API changes. Wait for the upstream software updates or you can help file a bug report.

Known Issues