The Ubuntu Netbook Remix interface is designed to make Ubuntu Linux easy to use on mini-laptops with small, low resolution displays. It comes with a custom program launcher that replaces the normal Ubuntu desktop and panels with a series of tabs and program shortcuts. But sometimes you want an old fashioned desktop. You could just uninstall Ubuntu Netbook Remix or kill the ume-launcher process to restore the desktop. But as Ubuntu Mini points out, you can also just install the Desktop-Switcher utility.

The utility was just released for Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex. In order to install the package, make sure the Ubuntu Netbook Remix repositories are in your repository list, and then install desktop-switcher either using apt-get or the Synaptic package manager.

The switcher will show up in your System Preferences menu, and it will let you toggle between the UNR desktop mode or a classic desktop with the click of a button.

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18 replies on “How to quickly switch Ubuntu Netbook Remix interface on and off”

  1. I have Ubunto Remix 10.4. Can’t install the desktop-switcher. (the only reason I’m trying is I HATE the system bar being on top! I don’t want a Mac!). When I run sudo apt-get install desktop-switcher , it tells me it can’t find the package. Other forums say don’t install the remix on top of 10.x . Help …

  2. i just installed the unr 9.10, and i’m trying to install the desktop-swticher, but i’ve some troubles coz it says that the package has not any candidates to install. so, where can i find the good repository for my unr?

    thanks for ur help.

  3. The last I used this it was broken… hope that it was fixed somewhere along the way. It got locked into one mode and could not ever switch back? There were others complaining about this too.

  4. >it will let you toggle between the UNR desktop mode or a classic desktop with the click of a button.
    Which button? My screen shows only a background image. Is there a keyboard shortcut to restore my desktop?

  5. Piece of cake.
    No doubt you’ve heard Apple fanboys and fangirls bemoan the difficulty using Microsoft Windows, and that is why OSX should rule the netbook market.

    1. 1. OS-X available pre-loaded on a Netbook? Not as long as Steve Jobs is still breathing. Apple doesn’t want to cut into their fat profit margins.

      2. Regarding my post yesterday. I have nothing against Ubuntu on a Netbook. I had it running on my 1000H from an extrernal CD drive using the method posted here a couple of months ago. It worked just fine for network browsing and email. I found the user desktop to be OK.

      1. Basically I think you have not really experience the powerful side of linux, as a simple Windoze user, lolx !!

        Linux is so much secure and powerful in a network environment that I believe you should explore further before making your comment here.

        Especially you have not even install it in your system, but merely run from the LiveCD I believe !

    2. I think you nailed it Alan. It used to be that Apple users would say that Macs are “really” superior, while Windows users would say something like “to each his own” (the most sensible view in my opinion).

      Nowadays that Linux is being deployed in significant numbers in netbooks (still a minority though) you see Windows users shifting to “Apple mode”. Now its Windows that is “really” superior. I guess free choice is only fair if “your” platform is winning (whtever winning means).

  6. “In order to install the package, make sure the Ubuntu Netbook Remix repositories are in your repository list, and then install desktop-switcher either using apt-get or the Synaptic package manager.”

    What does the above sentence even mean? This is why XP (and the upcoming Win 7 which works great on my Asus 1000H) will rule the netbook market. I believe that most netbook users want a simple to use portable device.

    1. Yes and no. There is diversity among current and potential netbook users: techie/hobbyists, business travelers, college students, and many others. What is attractive or even necessary for one kind of user is unattractive or simply a low priority for others. For instance, a long-life battery is desirable but unimportant for me, while lightness in weight and smallness in price matter a great deal. I would be happy with linux, that is, a seller-modified and installed distribution that doesn’t demand much of me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t see others being happy to learn linux from A to Z.

    2. It says that you make sure you can download it, and then dl/install in a single step. As simple as that, except it tells you how to fix it if things don’t immediately work.

      Let’s see the “hard” terms:
      “repository list”: The sites where you get updates. It won’t force you to use ubuntu.com, like microsoft forces you to use microsoft.com.
      “Ubuntu Netbook Remix repositories”: If you don’t use Remix but regular ubuntu you may have to add it.
      “Synaptic package manager”: Like Add/Remove programs in the XP control panel.
      “apt-get”: The same for the command line (so you can create automated scripts)

      With the exception of adding the repository it is really much simpler than Windows. And adding the repository is like installing an XP program in Win98. Only you don’t have to do as much hacking.

    3. The short answer:
      *) One edit of your /etc/apt/sources.list file – add two lines.
      *) Update the package management database – one command.
      *) Install the remix-package – one command.
      *) Optionally, install the desktop switcher – one command.
      *) Restart the display – one command.
      Note: You don’t even have to re-boot the machine, just keep on using it.

      The long answer:

      Now if you would be so kind, list for us the steps to change out the
      windows desktop software for another of your choosing. 😉

      1. Bravo Mikez… I’m running dual boot with both.. and its obvious from rich that he has Noooo idea what he’s talking about.. I’ve been at it with linux for about a year.. i respect it for its efficiency and for what it is.. Ubuntu forever!!!

  7. This is a good idea, but it pretty much blew up my setup. I ended up having to trash most of the gnome preferences and rebuild. I also have the issue with the latest netbook-launcher, exiting evertime there is a menu change. It basically just crashes. Hopefully things will be better with Jaunty.

    1. I’m a long-time Linux guy. But this netbook thing on top of Ubuntu 9.10 has done it for me – install, netbook interface, hate it, remove packages via Synaptic – no user interface at all. Alt-F2 to get a browser to find this page, and frankly I’ve had enough. Netbook should have a massive warning, or removal should be fixed.
      Cheerio, al.

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