Install Classic GNOME Flashback in Ubuntu 16.04 Replacing Unity


The classic GNOME look is quite popular in all the Ubuntu releases. Here’s how to install in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

Classic GNOME

The popularity of classic GNOME is mainly due to resource intensive default Unity desktop thus some users with old desktops, laptops prefers it. Have a look on how to install the classic GNOME a.k.a “flashback” in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

How to Install Classic GNOME Flashback

  • Open terminal by searching in Unity Dash or Press CTRL+ALT+T
  • Run below command and wait for installation to finish.
  • sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install gnome-session-flashback
  • Save your work and logoff
  • In the login screen click the small white Ubuntu logo (see below)
  • GNOME Classic Options

  • Click the option – GNOME Flashback Metacity
  • GNOME Classic Metacity

  • Give your password and login.

You will be in classic GNOME desktop.

Classic GNOME Running on Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

Classic GNOME Running on Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

Panel configurations

Once you are logged in to Classic GNOME, you may want to customize your panel e.g. add new items, move items, modifying panel size etc.

To modify classic GNOME panel, press ALT+Right Click.

Classic GNOME Panel Configuration Menu

Classic GNOME Panel Configuration Menu

You can add, modify items on the panel. If you want to move items inside the panel, press ALT+Right Click on the panel item.

Add To Panel Options - Classic GNOME

Add To Panel Options – Classic GNOME

Drop a comment if you are facing problem installing/using Classic GNOME in Ubuntu.

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  • Dex

    Will this tweak permanently default the desktop to Gnome? Or do I have to click for the menu every time I boot? If I have to deal with Unity every morning, I’m sticking with 14.

  • Thanks for sharing , was very informative

  • Roberto Arenas

    Well. your tips are welcome. But I need to configure the windows: buttons (I prefer the buttons at right), install themes for buttons, etc. Ubuntu Tweak, my favorite tool for this, is not ready for Ubuntu 16.04. Any suggestion?

    • For those options, Ubuntu Tweak is the best. I did not find any other tool which makes it easy to customize Ubuntu. However, did you try to install Ubuntu Tweak in 16.04 ?

      • Roberto Arenas

        I decided to come back to Ubuntu 12.04…I guess that the developer of Ubuntu-Tweak (UT) is tired to develop a new release. In fact, there’s not a release of UT for 16.04, because I tried to use UT with the Ubuntu…It was impossible. I believe that in the new Ubuntu is not possible configure the aspect of the windows and to use themes more tasteful that the horrible colors combination used in the Unity desktop.

        • I also think that. I tried to install the Ubuntu Tweak in 16.04 and getting a dependency error. I need to try to create deb file separately for Xenial.

          • Roberto Arenas

            You can report if you have success in that work. In other hand, I can’t explain WHY Canonical don’t upgrade their TexLive installation in ALL servers for the previous versions of Ubuntu like Precise Pangolin (12.04). If only TeXLive in GNU / Linux and Windows is installed by MiXTeK tool…

  • Rob Smart

    Thanks for the pointers, is there a way to have the best of both worlds; as you can now put the launcher on the bottom, is it possible to have both options at once? or should I just use plank/cairo or some such? I was using Mate 16.04 but for some reason there is an issue with VLC when forwarding through movies it goes pixel crazy, Unity no issue at all, brain bender as they are based off the same core…
    Also, another option, if there were a way to make the Unity launcher more like the Deepin launcher, which is just a little more user friendly, categories are more defined, it’s a Noob thing…
    thanks again!!

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