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Thread: HOW-TO: Build Unity with 'Dodge Windows' and minimize/unminimize behavior

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    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Texas, USA
    Kubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal

    HOW-TO: Unity with 'Dodge Windows' and minimize/unminimize behavior

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    So, I've been running 12.04 since around Beta 1, and one thing that really bothered me was the missing 'Dodge Windows' behavior. I had gotten so particular and used to the behavior that it completely disrupted my workflow when I migrated over to 12.04.

    There has been a valiant effort to recreate this behavior: For the most part, the script works pretty well, but I wanted the "real" option back. In this bug report #930148, one user, damianatorrpm (around comment #141), has created a couple patches that will revert the Canonical changes and re-add the behavior back to the source. I applied the patch to latest release of Unity (at this time, it's 5.12.0) and it works! Not only the behavior work as expected, the option is back in CCSM and has no nasty side-effects.

    Another feature I really like is the ability to be able to click a program's icon on the Launcher and minimize/unminimize that window. Jonathan French (ojno), the developer behind this patch, has not only made this a reality, but also got this to work in conjunction with the 'Spread Windows' functionality. He's even set up a PPA which contains the latest Unity and his patch to make it easier for end-users to get it.

    To make things easier, I've gone ahead and patched the vanilla Unity source to incorporate both of these behaviors. Furthermore, I've uploaded the changes to my Github. You can see this here:

    The relevant commits are here:

    So, without futher ado, let's get started. Open up a Terminal window and follow the steps below.

    UPDATED: New PPA installation method! Choose one method or the other, but NOT both.

    PPA Method (Recommended):

    Alright, guys...

    Now, I realize that for novice users (or even those who abhor the terminal), building Unity just for a couple features seems kind of silly. So, I decided to sit down last night and try to figure out packaging and PPAs...

    So, if you were hesitant about trying this before, you can now add my PPA if you feel more comfortable doing that.

    NOTE: Since I'm running 32-bit, I've only tested the i386 packages. I'll need someone running 64-bit to let me know if it works okay.

    NOTE: If you followed the tutorial originally, please remove ~/.compiz-1 and the 'staging' folder before you do this.

    Add my PPA by doing this:

    sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ikarosdev/unity-revamped
    ...then, simply run an update:

    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
    ...That's it!


    If you'd like to revert back to the offical Ubuntu packages, simply use PPA-purge. First, ensure it is installed:

    sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
    ...then, remove my PPA:

    sudo ppa-purge ppa:ikarosdev/unity-revamped
    I attempted my best to make "proper" packages, but I'm no expert. Use my PPA at your own peril!

    I'll try my best to keep these builds up-to-date with the official Unity packages, but I can't make any promises. Good luck, guys!

    Alternative Method (Compile from Source):

    NOTE: I tried this on a fresh installed of Ubuntu 12.04 32-bit. I can't say for sure if it'll work on older or other versions.

    The first thing to do is to install all the dependencies needed to grab the source (from my Github) and build Unity:

    sudo apt-get install git git-core
    sudo apt-get build-dep unity
    Now, we'll need a place to compile Unity. I usually like to create a folder called 'staging' and dump everything in there. You're welcome to put the source wherever you like, but just remember to change it accordingly for the tutorial:

    mkdir ~/staging
    ...Now, we move into the directory:

    cd ~/staging
    Okay, the next step is to grab the modified source from my Github. While still in the 'staging' directory, run this command:

    git clone git://
    Once it's done pulling the source, we'll need to prepare our environment to build. We'll create a simple bash script and make it executable:

    ...When the blank gedit window opens, copy and paste the following text into the file:

    export LD_LIBRARY_PATH="$PREFIX/lib/"
    export PKG_CONFIG_PATH="$PREFIX/lib/pkgconfig/"
    Notice the bolded text? You'll need to change that to your username (remove any forum syntax!). Once you've done that, save the file and close the window. Let's make the file executable and run it:

    chmod +x
    Okay, now let's build Unity! We'll need to create a build folder for the compile. Let's move into the Unity source directory and create that folder and move into it:
    cd unity
    mkdir build && cd build
    Now, we'll prepare the build, compile and install:
    (Remember to change the bolded text to your username! Also, remove any forum syntax!)
    make -j4
    make install
    All done? Once that's finished, go ahead and log out and back in. Ensure that CCSM is installed and go into the Unity plugin configuration. Turn on the 'Dodge Windows' effect and it should work. Minimize an application to the launcher and click its icon again to unminimize it. If multiple windows of the same program are opened, the spread function should work as usual.

    Warning!: When using this, do not delete anything in the staging folder. More specifically, do not delete the bin, include, lib, and share folders. You will have unwanted side-effects (i.e. Compiz/Unity will keep crashing)!


    If you'd like to revert back to "stock" Unity, simply remove ~/.compiz-1 folder and you should be back to normal.

    Feel free to leave any questions, comments or concerns.

    Credits: damianatorrpm for the patch and Jonathan French (ojno) for the wonderful minimize behavior code.
    Last edited by Elfy; June 29th, 2012 at 09:22 AM.
    Laptop: [AMD Vision A4-3300M | 8GB RAM | ATI Radeon 6480G | Ubuntu 12.04 64-bit]

    Studio Box: [AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ | 4GB RAM | Nvidia 210 | M-Audio FastTrackPro | KXStudio 11.04 64-bit | 2.6.31-rt14-custom | KDE 4.6.5]


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