Unity 8 arrived as an interface for testing in Ubuntu 16.10, although it is very limited, there are some things you can do to make it “more usable”, so to speak, by installing some applications and enabling some functions.
I’m experimenting with Unity 8 since its launch and I already have some impressions to share with you, even though I’m unable to make a video this week because of my trip, as I commented in this channel video, but even so, I can give some tips for those who want to venture into their testing environment.
Things you should know
It is known that Unity 8 for desktops is not yet ready, however, it already shows the possibility of using it for simple everyday things, like surfing the internet, watching videos and listening to music. more complicated depending on how demanding you are, so keep in mind (even to avoid frustration) that Unity 8 is still software in development, perfectly usable on a touch-sensitive device, but that on the desktop version still has serious imitations.
What hardware am I running Unity 8 on?
One of my doubts about Unity 8 was about its lightness, will it be heavier than Unity 7 or lighter? Nothing better than testing, isn’t it?
To do the tests I installed the recently released Ubuntu 16.10 on an Acer Netbook that I have here, it is the synonym for weak computer that I have here at home, processor with only a core of 1.4 Ghz (Centrino) and 2GB of DDR2 RAM memory. Surprisingly Unity 8 works very well on it, even with a certain fluidity, something Unity 7 eventually chokes on, although it runs reasonably well too.
I had the suspicion that Unity 8 would be light on computers, after all, it runs on Smartphones, but this Netbook is worse than many Smartphones out there, in short, good surprise.
Post installation tips for Unity 8
If you decided to install Ubuntu 16.10 and are looking for a post installation tutorial for it, you can use this one I did yet for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, it works without problems. But now let’s talk about Unity 8 and how you can do to increase the functionality of the interface.
To use Unity 8 you need to select the interface on the Ubuntu login screen, enter your password and log in normally.
As you will notice, Unity 8 comes practically without any application, only the settings application, browser and terminal basically, fortunately this is all you need to start building the system however you want, and here are some tips for you to do that.
1 – Activate the “Multimedia Scopes”
Scopes were inserted in Ubuntu a few versions ago, however, their operation in Unity 8 is a little different, they are “pages” of the application menu that are capable of functioning as an independent program, so that you can listen to music and watch videos through them without having to install additional programs.
To install, open the terminal and paste the following command:
sudo apt install mediaplayer-app mediascanner2.0 unity-scope-mediascanner2 ubuntu-restricted-extras
To activate the desired Scopes, you can click on the bottom of the screen and select the ones you want, returning to the application screen you can slide the page to the side and there will be the added Scopes.
We can install several packages via Snap, here are some possibilities, use the terminal again:
2 – Gallery App
sudo snap install --edge --devmode gallery-app
3 – Camera App
sudo snap install --edge --devmode camera-app
4 – Address Book App
sudo snap install --edge --devmode address-book-app
5 – Calendar App
sudo snap install --edge --devmode ubuntu-calendar-app
Other converging applications can be installed from a special PPA repository for testing converged apps, these you can install even in version 7 of Unity if you want. The first step is to add the PPA:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:convergent-apps/testing -y && sudo apt update
After that we will install some more applications.
6 – Music App
sudo apt install music-app
7 – Calculator
sudo apt install ubuntu-calculator-app
8 – File manager
sudo apt install ubuntu-filemanager-app*
And last but not least, let’s enable the installation of applications that run on X.org, as you may know, Ubuntu with Unity 8 runs on the Mir graphics server, so it is necessary, at least currently, to use an application called “Libertine” to create a container and run the application you want inside it.
9 – Install Libertine
sudo apt install libertine libertine-scope libertine-tools
Libertine works like this: Once installed, open the application, and just click on “create”, without entering a password or name necessarily, after that the program will download about 500 MB to form a container and through it you can install other applications that you would normally install on traditional Ubuntu, just know the name of the package, for example: gimp.
For it you can install other applications downloaded in .deb format as well, but it is just a “gambiarrinha” in the most literal sense possible, the final version of Unity 8 should have this function natively, another thing you will notice is that there are no the light themes, because of that the applications that run on XMir get that nostalgic face of Windows 98.
With these tips you can already use a little bit of Unity 8, remember to report the bugs you find if you want to help the project mature more quickly, as soon as I can I will make a video detailing everything I learned about the new interface .
To the next!