Bringing back the classic “netbook remix” in Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot)

I’ve talked before about how to bring the netbook remix user interface back to Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal), but since 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) came out, Unity has become even more the default – so much so, that you can’t even get back to the classic GNOME desktop (which you need to set up the old netbook remix UI).

I’ve been using the new Unity UI on my netbook since this update, and it’s… OK. It’s better than it was in 11.04, for sure, but it’s still not quite what I’d want for a netbook. (The bigger icons in the netbook remix still win when it comes to ease of clicking.)

Fortunately, there IS (in theory) a way to bring back the netbook remix, although it takes a bit of work.

First, you need to bring back the classic GNOME desktop. To do this, open a terminal and issue this command:

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

Once you’ve done that, you should be able to follow the steps outlined in my original article. Be aware that this time you’ll need to follow the links to manually download the packages for maximus, the go-home applet, the netbook-launcher, and the window-picker applet. And you may need to install some additional packages as well to get it to work – just watch whatever the Ubuntu Software Center’s UI tells you is required as a dependency, and then go get that.

For those who are too lazy to go to my previous article to get the links to the required packages, here they are:

I hope that this works – I’ve been able to restore the GNOME session, but haven’t taken the time to re-download all the packages required. For me personally, I’m giving Unity a try (since the netbook remix is no longer technically supported). But if this works for you, then more power to you.

By Keith Survell

A geek, programmer, amateur photographer, anime fan and crazy rabbit person.


  1. Great guide!
    Gonna try it out tomorrow. I come straight from 9.xx so 11.10 was quite the shock for me. It also seems more sluggish and my laptop seems to run very hot now – I’m a bit disappointed in where Ubuntu is heading with this. It used to be the go-to OS for older laptops :/

    1. There is a “kernel power bug” in recent Linux kernels (supposedly). his article of “Things to Tweak After Installing Ubuntu 11.10” has an item on a tweak you can do to get better battery life and (presumably) have your laptop run a bit cooler.

      It seems like Ubuntu is really trying to become more “user friendly” – and in that respect, they are trying some rather radical changes to the user interface.

      Still, there are always the derivative distributions like Linux Mint or Xubuntu or Eeebuntu or any of the other Ubuntu-derived distributions. (There’s a good list of 20 Ubuntu-derived distributions here.)

      Anyway, good luck with the tweaks and I hope it works out for you!

  2. Hi. I can’t find the netbook-launcher-efl on Ubuntu repositories and I can’t install from the source… Can you help me??

    1. You don’t need to install from source; just go to the link I provided you and download the package file directly (it’s a file ending in “.deb”). Then, you can just double-click that file and it will automatically use the package manager to install it.

      If you still run into trouble, try asking the very fine folks over at – they collectively know a heck of a lot more than I do, and will respond quicker, too.

  3. netbook-launcher-efl appears to of been renamed netbook-launcher in official 11.10 repo. Also window-picker-applet and go-home-applet just aren’t in there at all.

    1. Even if a package isn’t in the current official repository, you can still grab the previous version’s package and since it’s only one version old at this point, you should still be able to use it (assuming you are willing to manage all the package dependency requirements yourself).

      But thanks for mentioning the “netbook-launcher” package in the 11.10 repository – that’ll cut down on the amount of work needed for anyone who tries this!

    1. Sorry it doesn’t work for you – the packages you need are no longer in the official (current) repositories anymore, so this was only a “in theory” thing anyway. Unfortunately it looks like we’re going to be stuck with the new Unity interface from here on out anyway, so…

Comments are closed.