How to Install Unity DE on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

The Unity desktop environment is a popular user interface for the Ubuntu operating system. It is built on top of the GNOME desktop environment and offers a sleek, modern look and feel. One of the main benefits of using Unity is its ability to provide a consistent and intuitive user experience across different devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Additionally, Unity is highly customizable, allowing users to tailor their desktops to their specific needs and preferences.

Some of the features that Unity offers include:

  • A Dash search feature to quickly locate files and applications
  • Integration with the Unity launcher, a convenient tool for launching and switching between applications
  • Support for multiple workspaces, making it easy to organize and switch between different tasks
  • Support for a variety of plug-ins and extensions, allowing users to customize their desktop experience further

Unity desktop environment is ideal for users who want a modern and visually appealing desktop experience. This tutorial will guide you on installing Unity on Ubuntu 22.04 “Jammy Jellyfish” or Ubuntu 20.04 “Focal Fossa” using the command line terminal.

Step 1: Update Ubuntu

Before installing the Unity desktop environment, update your Ubuntu operating system to have all existing packages up-to-date.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Step 2: Install Unity Desktop Environment

When installing the Unity desktop environment, you have three options: minimal, standard, or complete. Each option has advantages and disadvantages depending on your specific needs and preferences. The minimal installation includes the minimum necessary to run Unity and is best for users who want a lightweight, fast desktop environment. The standard installation consists of commonly used applications and features and is best for most users. The complete installation includes all available features and applications and is best for users who want a fully-featured desktop environment.

Before you begin, for Ubuntu 22.04 LTS users, you need to ensure the following package is installed, or you may not be able to log in to Unity.

sudo apt install dbus-x11

The first installation option is minimal installation. Run the following command to install.

sudo apt install ubuntu-unity-desktop --no-install-recommends

The minimal installation option of the Unity desktop environment is best suited for testing or those with older hardware. It includes only the bare necessities to run the environment and comes at around 80-100MB to download, with an additional 280-300MB of space required for installation.

Next, you can install the standard installation of Unity desktop environment with the following command.

sudo apt install ubuntu-unity-desktop

The standard installation of the Unity desktop environment is the most commonly recommended option for the average desktop user, as it provides a balance of features and performance. This installation package takes around 250-300MB to download and requires an additional 1600-1700MB of space.

The last option is to install the whole experience of the Unity desktop environment with the following command.

sudo apt install ubuntu-unity-desktop --install-suggests

The complete installation of the Unity desktop environment includes all available features and applications. However, it can add unnecessary “bloat” to older systems with limited resources. On the other hand, newer methods may not benefit from this installation as it includes many applications that may not be needed, such as firebird, jackd2, etc. It is recommended to be installed separately. This installation package requires a significant download of 3GB, and an additional 16GB of space is needed. Unless you have a specific need for this installation, it is recommended to stick with the standard installation for a balance of features and performance.

See also
How to Install Wine on Fedora Linux

Next, you will encounter a prompt window asking about the display manager during the installation process. The display manager, or lightdm, manages a Linux system’s graphical login screen and user sessions. The prompt will ask you to choose between using lightdm or another display manager, such as gdm or sddm.

The default option is lightdm for the Unity desktop environment; select this option.


Install Unity Desktop on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS
How to Install Unity DE on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 5

Once complete, you will need to reboot your system for the new changes to take effect.


Step 3: Log in to Unity Desktop Environment

After restarting your desktop, you will arrive at your login screen. Select the Unity session as the default option in the top right-hand corner and log in.


Once logged in, you will notice several changes to the user interface, including color and background changes, which can be customized further by going into the Appearance menu. Additionally, there may be other changes, such as changes in the layout, launcher, and other unique features of Unity.

Example (Click Image Expand):

Unity desktop environment is known for its sleek and straightforward design. The taskbar is located at the top of the screen and can be customized to fit your needs. The backgrounds and colors can be adjusted to match your preferences, but the performance and overall functionality keep many users returning to Unity. It is designed to be simple, easy to use, and efficient, making it a great option for users of all skill levels. Some features you might want to check out include the Dash search feature for quickly finding files and applications, integration with the Unity launcher, support for multiple workspaces, and support for various plug-ins and extensions. Ultimately, whether Unity is the right desktop environment for you depends on your preferences and needs. It

Additional Commands & Tips

Switching Default Display Managers

To switch back to using GDM and GNOME in the future, open a terminal and run the command to reconfigure the default display manager after switching from Unity and LightDM.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure gdm

Removing (Uninstall) Unity Desktop Environment

The command provided can be used by users who want to attempt to remove Unity.

sudo apt autoremove '^unity' --purge

Reboot your system afterward.



In conclusion, installing the Unity desktop environment on Ubuntu is relatively straightforward. First, open a terminal and use the command line to update the package manager. Then, use the appropriate command to install Unity and any necessary dependencies. Afterward, you can configure the default display manager to use Unity and reboot your system to complete the installation. With Unity installed, you will now have access to the familiar and user-friendly interface and the many features and tools it offers.

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