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[How To] Minimize Apps to the Unity Launcher in Ubuntu 12.04

Many first time users of Ubuntu’s Unity interface become slightly confusing by one aspect of the Launcher’s behaviour: minimising app windows.

Coming from Windows, KDE, or other similar desktop environment, the first expectation of the Unity launcher is that it works like a traditional task bar or dock. Users expect to be able to not only maximise/restore windows that have been minimised to the launcher by clicking an applications’ icon, but also that doing so again will minimise all the relevant windows.

Of course, the launcher doesn’t behave like this – and that’s by design. Unity uses a slightly different workflow paradigm, one that many find they just can’t get used to.

The good news for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS users is that you don’t have to get used to it, not if you don’t want to.

As reader Edward C. pointed out to us,  a third-party patch implementing this behaviour is available to install through in a PPA.

The Patch is only available for Ubuntu 12.04 users, and it’s not supported by Ubuntu. It also won’t work on earlier or later releases.

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ojno/unity-minimize-on-click
  • sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

After installing you will need to log out and back in for the change to become effective.

To uninstall the patch you will need use the ‘ppa-purge‘ command for the PPA above.

Thanks to Edward