Like with Gnome 3 (also known as Shell), starting with Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal release, Ubuntu too underwent a major desktop UI change and they call it the “Unity interface”. They designed an API called application menu indicator which basically remove the standard menus in apps, windows and displays it at the top panel of the Unity desktop (just like with Mac OSX).
An Application launcher which is fixed to the left side of the screen was also introduced (among the heavily criticized aspects of the Unity interface). So if you’re coming from a Gnome Classic desktop interface where we can easily open/search for installed apps thanks to the top panel menu bar, with Unity this is simple not possible.
Now in Unity, whenever we wanna find an app we gotta press the “Dash” button and search on it. And personally (just like many others) I’m not that fond of the “app-arrangement” in the Dash because it seems too complicated and confusing to me.
I think the reason is that Ubuntu developers have tried to include everything inside Dash (such as recently used, installed, bookmarked software etc). In a way the Dash has almost “everything” inside it but also because of that it looks cluttered. So most of the time I’m forced to type the command of the app that I’m trying to locate because I just get “lost” & distracted once surrounded by those icons.
In my humble opinion, this “break” of the natural flow of Mouse (didn’t know how else to put it) and is one of the major design flows in Unity desktop. Most of the time I’m “forced” to switch from using my mouse to the keyboard to locate a program, I feel agitated and I “hate” Dash for that sometimes!.
But to be fair, Dash also has its uses because I can just type a command and quickly open it (but unless you’re a touch typist, I don’t think most users gonna enjoy it either), lists the most recently used apps at front, shows you bookmark, download similar or missing apps through USC with ease etc so perhaps it needs to be redesigned for it to look more simple.
Then again the Dash is also designed in a way where Canonical can sell applications via the USC … so it’s also essential for their survival in the future as well.
So if you’re looking for a way to get that classic menu that came with previous versions of Ubuntu, thanks to Florich Diesch we can use the tool known as the ‘ClassicMenu indicator’ for that. Now it’s a bit different than the old menu but hey it’s gets the job done.
You can install ClassicMenu indicator in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot and 11.04 Natty Narwhal by first downloading the “.deb” package from this page (look at the bottom for the “.deb” links) and double clicking on it after the downloading completes and Ubuntu Software Center will take it from there.
If you’d prefer to have the latest versions of CMI, then you can type the below commands in your Terminal (we’re using the PPA channel). But remember, as said, they’re the daily builds thus many not be as stable as the standard releases.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:diesch/testing
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install classicmenu-indicator
That’s should do it.