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Disable the Global Menu (AppMenu) in Ubuntu 11.04 and 11.10

00_global_menu

As of Ubuntu 11.04, a new feature was added, called the Global Menu, which is a common menu bar shared by all applications (shown above). Most of us have been used to each application window having its own menu bar.

The Global Menu is available on the top panel on the Unity desktop, no matter where the application window is. If you have an application window resized to be small in the lower, right corner of your screen, the menu bar for that application is still on the top panel. This can be confusing and uncomfortable if you are not used to it. If you don’t like the new Global Menu and want to move the menu bars back to each respective application window, we’ll show you how to disable the Global Menu.

Press Ctrl + Alt + T to open a Terminal window. Type the following command at the prompt and press Enter.

sudo apt-get autoremove appmenu-gtk appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-qt

NOTE: You can also copy and paste the command at the prompt. To paste text at the prompt, right-click on the Terminal window and select Paste from the popup menu.

01_entering_command_to_disable_global_menu

Your system’s current status is read and a message displays telling you which packages will be removed and how much disk space will be freed up with this action. When asked if you want to continue, type “Y” (without the quotes) and press Enter.

02_do_you_want_to_continue

Three packages are removed and you are returned to the prompt. To close the Terminal window, type “exit” (again, without the quotes) and press Enter.

03_closing_terminal_window

You shouldn’t have to reboot for the changes to take effect. Simply close any open application windows and reopen the applications. Each application’s menu bar should now be on its own application window. If not, log out or restart your computer.

04_menu_bar_on_app_window

Removing the Global Menu feature does not remove it from Firefox windows. To do this, you must disable the Global Menu Bar integration add-on in Firefox. To do this, select Add-ons from the Tools menu in Firefox.

05_opening_addons_in_firefox

The Add-ons Manager opens on a new tab. Click the Extensions tab (with the puzzle piece icon) to see the list of extensions currently installed.

05a_clicking_the_extensions_tab

Click the Disable button for the Global Menu Bar integration extension.

06_disabling_global_menu_addon_in_firefox

You must restart Firefox for this change to take effect. Click the Restart now link.

07_restarting_firefox

When Firefox restarts, the menu bar will be on the Firefox window, below the title bar, as usual.

08_menu_bar_on_firefox_window

If you want the Global Menu back, you can enable it using the following command in a Terminal window, just like you ran the command to disable it.

sudo apt-get install appmenu-gtk appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-qt

09_enabling_global_menu

Disabling the Global Menu is part of returning the Ubuntu desktop to its previous classic glory. You can also install the Classic Gnome Desktopinstall the Classic Gnome Menu on the Unity desktop, and move the windows buttons back to right.

Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 02/22/12

Comments (11)

  1. Citrus Rain

    Oh I am emailing myself that line of code so I remember to use it.

    So hard to minimize stuff before I run downstairs when it relys so much on what window has the focus.

  2. Phil

    Unfortunately, this doesn’t enable or disable anything. All it does it remove “appmenu-gtk appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-qt”. So it isnt available to any user. What if I just want to disable these features in my profile.

    I bet there is a way to do this by editing a file in .gtk3…

    Thoughts?

  3. kenedy123

    Good to know about the Disable the Global Menu (AppMenu) in Ubuntu 11.04 and 11.10.

  4. serg

    You know what I miss that Global Menu in ubuntu 11.10

  5. TheFu

    On the Ubuntu Forums a few days ago, a devel offered that a clean fallback to Gnome2 will be included with Ubuntu 12.04 http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1928350

    Here’s the command:
    $ sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

    So now I’ll have 2 easy commands after a desktop install.
    $ sudo apt-get purge nano
    $ sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

  6. motang

    In 12.04 you can choose to have this on or off with one click. No need for hack things. :-)

  7. Anonymous

    Have you noticed a lot of “how to” articles on how to “fix” Ubuntu lately? Do you think maybe there’s something very wrong here?

    If you don’t like Ubuntu introducing a whole new category of brain damage then how about avoiding Ubuntu in the first place? At the very least, you might want to stay away from Ubuntu versions 10.10 and above. In fact, you might want to stick with Ubuntu’s latest “LTS” (Long Term Support) version 10.04.4. until you find something better.

    Personally, I hate Ubuntu’s choice to use the moronic “Unity” desktop that was obviously designed for a tablet or touch screen than for something using a mouse/touch-pad/trackball. And yet, all of Ubuntu’s recent versions will force you to use the much hated Unity tablet design. That is, unless you choose another fork like Kbuntu, Lbuntu, etc. But if you’re going to do that then why not just go back to the mother ship Debian which is much more stable?

    Even Windows 8 has this same tablet design problem when trying to use it on a regular PC. So does that sound like any kind of original thinking when Canonical tries to essentially copy them?!

    For some reason, Canonical (the makers of “regular” Ubuntu) seem bent on forcing their users to use the new “Unity” desktop where all these “fixes” all of a sudden become necessary. It’s pretty obvious that Canonical made a huge mistake – at least with regard to “desktop” design and functionality. They totally blew out just about every regular PC when they decided to move away from the very long time and well established GNOME. Quite frankly, Canonical tried to fix something that just wasn’t broken! Bad move, if you ask me (and a very good reason to extend the middle-finger towards Canonical for introducing a whole new bunch of bugs too).

    So if you want a better Linux OS, may I suggest Linux Mint? Mint is 100-percent compatible with Ubuntu and many of Ubuntu’s repositories. Mint also incorporates the Unity desktop as their default too (since they too seem afflicted by some bad decisions), but with Mint it won’t make you suffer like Ubuntu will. You won’t constantly find yourself asking WTF when trying to find a window menu or when trying to do that most simple of all tasks, launch an app!

    Don’t take my word for it either. A lot of users have already jumped Ubuntu’s (sinking) ship. In fact, Mint has been ranked ahead of Ubuntu by the most popular Linux review site out there – Distro Watch (http://distrowatch.com). And I suspect if Canonical doesn’t get their act together with Ubuntu they will continue to experience more decline and possibly experience what happened (or is happening) to Mandrake/Mandriva (another very well designed OS that eventually became plagued by some very serious leadership decision problems).

    …Besides, who ever heard of a GUI that requires command lines to launch an app that isn’t in your “favorites” or something? If you like command lines then that’s what the terminal is for!

  8. Matthew

    Brilliant, one step closer to me switching from Ubuntu 11.04. This tweak might make Unity more bearable.

  9. akbozo

    how about this for an easy fix, after years of ubuntu excitement, frustration, bug fixes, command line prompts, etc, ad naseum; i went to windows 7, which as the ubuntu fanboys like to say “just works”. ubuntu doesn”t like the hardware on my computer, doesn’t play well with intel core2 i5. doesn’t like the graphics card. it’s bs. ubuntu 12 is designed for tablets, windows 8 is designed for tablets. latest research shows tablets are taking a huge negative hit because they don’t provide the power, the graphics, the memory, the gaming capabilities of laptops.. so much for product research and development at the corporate level. tablets were designed for minimal operating systems designed to work in the cloud. guess what!!!! people are becoming more security conscious and don’t want their information in the cloud. ergo: crappy os for a people who have no life away from their os.

  10. svg1234

    Even with disabling the Firefox add-on, I still have the Close/Min/Max buttons on the global menu bar (annoyingly – at the top left) when FF is maximized. When it’s not maximized, it’s like it used to be.

  11. LieNixir

    First of all I <3 my Ubuntu interface && LM12 which is just gnome shell w/ a few simple extensions

    I enjoy the Unity interface, and anyone who thinks it is not customizable, has really not been paying attention…

    I have installed a half dozen indicator applets for the system tray, custom launcher applets, and dash lenses that increase my search customisability x12…I have also installed GTK3, mouse-cursor, icon, and window themes, as well as custom wallpapers, firefox extensions/themes, plymouth loading screens, and many other things…

    I like the app-menu saving me tons of screen real-estate on my netbook, so I even install global menu package in libre office…

    I am looking FWD to the option for a drop down global menu in 12.04…

    I also am really closely watching the cinnamon Linux mint desktop, which I have installed as a seperate session so I don't have to re-install all of my software apps to try a different interface…

    @TheFu gnome-session-fallback isn't really gnome2, but a gnome 3 made to look like gnome 3 session…
    If you like the simplicity of gnome 2 I reccommend installing MATE or xfce-desktop as alternative sessions…

    BTW Mr. Anonymous let's all remember that LM && Ubuntu && SUSE && all Linux distro's are all a family, and flamers like you make us look like the dysfunctional family that windows/mac fanboys Flame about.

    Let's just take a step back and look at the bigger picture that we're all in the community together, so if we want people to be interested in Our community let's all start acting more adult-like…

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