Setting up a community Unity7

Hi all, I’ve posted this very same message some weeks ago in the unity7maintainers ML, but this seems a better place where to post this, as it seems there’s more interested audience around.

I’m Marco and I’ve been working and maintaining the unity stack for the last years, I’m really happy to see the community finally jumping on this.

Unfortunately I won’t have much time to dedicate to it, but indeed I can help you guys in getting all the development done.

To begin, of course you need to build things… There’s a jhbuild project too, but I’m not sure it’s still working since I’ve always used a pretty raw approach to it (I think @azzar1 was using it for a while).

Anyway, what you need is to install in your preferred prefix compiz, unity, nux and bamf (if you don’t want to use the archive ones for hacking just in a thing)… These are the main components, then all the lenses, but these are optional to run unity itself for development. Unity has also some standalone UIs that you can run to test the views in confined mode.

As said, I wasn’t using jhbuild, but if you want to use my mode, just create a prefix where to install all these things, use this tool I did for setting the various environment variables and just configure and make the projects.
(you can also do all this in schroot, if you want to keep your environment clean).
Something like:

add-build-prefix ~/unity-build
cd ~/unity-build
bzr branch lp:unity
cd unity
sudo mk-build-deps -ir
mkdir build; cd build
cmake .. -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=~/unity-build
make install

The same for all the projects you want include, then just run it with

compiz --replace &

And enjoy it. :slight_smile:

Also, since Unity is still a thing to be maintined in 16.04 (mostly), it would be nice if you guys could look into fixes that we can eventually backport too.

Other thing, I’d love to move unity to Git(hub/lab), but please before you create forks there or whatever allow me to create this project with all the components we need to port.
Unfortunately, I won’t have time immediately, but you can still use bazaar to work in the mean time :slight_smile:

Happy hacking,

PS: I’ve also quite a lot of work that I had in progress (various unfinished branches) and that I could share with you so that you could finally ship them :slight_smile:


Hi Marco,

Thank you for replying here. For some reason I missed your post on the mailing list. Any way I will try to go through your post.

Atm, we are still looking up to you and others to fix critical bugs (at least for unity, libunity, nux & compiz). We are still looking for capable maintainers, I have started studying the code, @dale-f-beaudoin is there. Hopefully more people will join.

I prefer your raw mode. Thanks for sharing this with us here. I will try building unity that way.

Launchpad recently gained git capability including compiling binaries from git branch. So can we not use that instead of git(hub/lab)? I was reading recent blog posts ( about replicating UDD workflow with git in launchpad. If it happens I think it would be great for community contributors.

Please do share with us.

Thank You.

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Hi Marco,

I got your ML msg and you requested a few weeks to get back to us and so you are here now and thank you for your input. We are still having discussions about maintenance vs development. Although I would like to open up development of unity, it is just my opinion that we keep unity7 in maintenance mode until Janurary/2018 and see where official status is going with the Ubuntu Unity 7 Desktop Experience. However… whatever the community decides. I am not a launchpad janitor by trade but I am getting to know the ropes really well and a lot about building code. So let’s have at it and do our best. :slight_smile:


Indeed, it’s also true that git allows to have multiple remotes and thus to be able to sync to multiple repositories and being in places like github/gitlab, you know, increases the visibility (and potentially) contributions. Anyway as first step I can just port this to launchpad, then having a project in other websites will enable to group all the needed projects in a better form.

That said, I’m still a fan of the launchpad and bzr workflow, just I was thinking to this in order to make it more appealing to community. Although it’s not the crucial point.

I think launchpad and bzr workflow is the path to take for now. As things settle down then your propose could certainly be expedited by mid January. Then again there is nothing wrong with having a framework ready for an on-the-fly transition. my 2cents worth :wink:

I suppose, it would be nice t have Unity 7, and netinstall of ubuntu-unity (or ubuntu-unity-remix) in github (gitlab), where the netinstall script over/on the mini.iso would install relevant packages from bionic repos, and some unity related packages (your team’s) from github and install the ubuntu-unity in one’s computer. There are some distros in github, based on Debian and Ubuntu.

There are ‘distros’ like that everywhere - I thought the plan was to make this official - ie in only the one place? An actually official thing.

I sure hope it will be an official thing :smiley:

Yes. This is it. Khurshid along with many others are advising/setting up the necessary frameworks in launchpad. I am fully behind what Khurshid is doing. I trust his experience and expertise and he has wisely recruited some bright sparks to the team to get the job done in a timely manner. Whether quickly or slowly I think we will have all the bells and whistles set. I would hope the process moves forwards rather than backwards and hope it will not become too arcahic to understand modernistically.


Could be, but I still like @3v1n0 idea.

Hi Daedra,

Perhaps I can take an opportunity to clear a few things up. if I may quote my preamble from the unity7 Maintainers team:

So as originally set out -we have accomplished our core goal - unity7 in is the universe repositories during the 18.04 cycle. During this process I started some threads elsewhere about the possibility of opening unity development to unity 9 which would include more refined assistive technologies and perhaps a general facelift in theming and functionality upgrade to apps like nautilus. Not drastic changes, but changes noticeable enough to prompt a version change.

I can’t make it clear enough -and some persons had asked me in email about it- that we will not be dealing with any unity8 desktop issues. This is a horse of an entirely different colour that is beyond the scope of the maintainers team with the exception that we would like to experiment with mir and unity7 and/or wayland.

I also realize that this project is bigger than just me. It is a community effort and so it is not a project of exclusion but, rather , inclusion and we can have these discussions about all of these things. We are almost a month in 18.04 development so it may be that some quick decisions may need to be made after brief discussions so as we can move forward and be in sync with the rest of the development as a whole and if we can streamline things to better work with a lot of the new gnome-desktop ideas being incorporated . I would not be disappointed if development did not go forward or if we do not achieve official flavour status but I would be insincere to say that I would not feel a sense of defeat about it all.

The team is forming quite well and I am very optimistic that we can do it. I have watched some of the devs in action and maintainers behinds the scenes and their dynamic and dedication always seems to overcome the most worst of bumps in the road :slight_smile:


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I am not sure of where to post this… so I apologize in advance if this needs to be discussed elsewhere. If it does, please give me some advice as to where to post… I’m a bit confused as to how to get in touch with the right people.

I love seeing development of Unity7 continuing. I see that you are trying to make it an official flavor of Ubuntu… but are there plans to make it a DE that will be available on other distros? I use a different distro and have helped maintain a port of Unity to that distro. I don’t want to go further into detail here unless this is the right place for this question.

Thanks for your hard work porting Unity7 to 18.04!!

You can use this thread or start a new thread.

I created a slack community, see more here!