Having finally got my Trusty Tahr workflow up and running I’ve spent the last couple of days catching up on some the changes already present – and one in particular caught my eye.
In the current daily builds of Ubuntu 14.04 the Unity global menu can now be disabled on a per-app basis.
Before anyone gets too excited I should point out that it’s not a general ‘off switch’ exposed in System Settings or the like. But, with some manual foo using the dconf-editor tool, it’s possible to force applications to bypass the global menu entirely and attach its menus to the main application window.
Fixing A Regression
Given the vocal dislike for the global menu you might be wondering why a configurable option to disable it is only now being added. Well…
Prior to Ubuntu 13.10 application authors were able to make use of a GTK property called ‘ubuntu-local‘ that would force Ubuntu to keep their app menus within the window. With the switch to a newer packaged called ‘unity-gtk-module‘ in 13.10 and up, this flag stopped working and menus were, once again, thrust into Unity’s hide-and-seek bar.
As not all applications work well with the global menu – some would argue that not all users work well with it either! – a configurable switch has been added to the module so that particularly problematic software can be nobbled from using the menu bar from the get-go. This, developers will be hoping, will help ensure that users and app authors alike are able to benefit from the best experience in Ubuntu.
The change-log accompanying this specific update puts the change succinctly:
‘Add a GSettings schema that allows the user to set a blacklist and whitelist for unity-gtk-module’
The following key now appears in dconf-editor:
com > canonical > unity-gtk-module
From here, it’s straightforward to ‘blacklist’ or ‘whitelist’ an application.
- Add applications to the ‘blacklist’ to prevent them using the Global Menu
- Add applications to the ‘whitelist’ to force them to use the Global Menu
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is due for release in April of next year.