12-Year-Old Developer Brings Ubuntu's Unity Desktop Back to Life

12-Year-Old Developer Brings Ubuntu’s Unity Desktop Back to Life

Unity 7.6 is the first major version of the Unity desktop in six years, with the previous release in May 2016.

Unity is a graphical shell for the GNOME desktop environment designed and maintained by Canonical for Ubuntu. It was beautiful and innovative, but another controversial Canonical’s decision threw it out in 2017.

So, since its 17.10 “Artful Aardvark” release, Ubuntu has reverted to using GNOME as the default desktop environment. In addition, the last official update from Canonical for Unity was the minor 7.4.5 version dated back in March 2019.

Now, the restart of the active maintenance of the Unity 7 Desktop Environment is a fact. And this whole thing is thanks to 12-year-old Rudra Saraswat, Linux Foundation Certified Developer and Ubuntu member from India.

I had used Ubuntu 17.04 back when I was 8 [years old], and I really loved Unity7, so when Unity7 was discontinued by Canonical, I wasn’t happy and wanted to bring it back. I created this project to give Unity7 a new life.

Rudra B. Saraswat

So, Unity 7.6 rises from the ashes six years after its major 7th release. Let’s have a look at what has changed.

Unity 7.6 Desktop Environment Highlights

Unity 7.6 Desktop Environment

In a nutshell, Unity is still Unity. That is most likely the main idea in this case. Therefore, this release contains no new interface or desktop functionality.

Instead, the focus of Unity 7.6 is on supporting the desktop environment and getting it to a stable operating state that is compatible with the other software libraries available today.

Of course, there have been certain adjustments, primarily to its appearance, which we shall highlight for our cherished readers.

The overall impression of the Unity 7.6 desktop environment is that the design is flatter while preserving the system-wide blur. In addition, the app launcher and HUD have been slightly redesigned to offer a more modern and slick appearance.

The dock’s menus and tooltips now have a more modern look, similar to the current GNOME implementation in Ubuntu. Furthermore, the dash is speedy now.

It is worth noting that accent color support has been introduced to Unity and unity-control-center, as well as an updated theme list in unity-control-center. Moreover, the dock’s menus and tooltips now have a more modern look.

Unity 7.6 Desktop Environment with Firefox browser and Terminal running

There are also a few improvements in functionality that deserve admiration. The most significant improvement is that the memory utilization in Unity 7 is slightly lower, whereas the RAM usage in Ubuntu Unity 22.04 has been significantly decreased to around 700-800 MB. On top of that, the low graphics mode now performs considerably better.

For those who can’t wait to try out the new Unity 7.6, the easiest way to do so is to get the most recent version of Ubuntu Unity 22.04.

However, all Ubuntu 22.04 “Jammy Jellyfish” users can recall the good old days by installing the Unity 7.6 desktop environment using the commands listed below.

sudo wget https://repo.unityx.org/unityx.key
sudo apt-key add unityx.key
echo 'deb https://repo.unityx.org/main testing main' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/unity-x.list
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install -y unity

For more information on the latest Unity 7.6 version, visit the official announcement or the project website.

Bobby Borisov
Bobby Borisov

Bobby is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, Bobby has worked as a Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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