The new Ubuntu 11.10 version (Oneiric Ocelot) has arrived. I was happy using Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) with the classic GNOME desktop environment, but it’s always hard to turn down an upgrade to the new flashy toy when it just takes a click of the mouse.
So I said “yes” to the upgrade, and when it was done I was sad to see the classic desktop was gone and replaced with Unity. For browsing and light activity on my netbook Unity is fine, but I was having trouble getting any real work done with it. I like moving forward and learning new things, but this interface is downright frustrating to me. I wanted my old experience back, or at least something close to it.
Fortunately, it wasn’t hard to find out how to do this because so many others feel the same way. After reading several posts, I found one that was loaded with ad pop-up junk, but it was quite straightforward with advice for “falling-back” to a classic Gnome experience. From a terminal I just entered “sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback” at the command line. After that, log out then log back in choosing “GNOME Classic” (click on the little gears on the login screen to get this choice) and things will look more familiar.
After that I added some applets to the upper panel (Alt-right click on the panel and choose “Add to Panel…”) to add some other things I like having there, for example “The main GNOME menu”, Show Desktop, Shutdown, Trash, and some commonly used application launchers.
I fired up the Nautilus file manager and returned some of the features I prefer there. I like seeing a tree structure in the left panel, so I brought that back by clicking View in the menu, then Sidebar -> Tree. I don’t like icon views, so on the menu I chose Edit -> Preferences select List View as the Default View. Finally I selected View -> Statusbar to get back the status bar on the bottom of Nautilus.
In a few minutes I was able to return my experience to something much more usable. So far it seems fine, and I’ll probably report back here if I run into any issues.