One of the (most hated?) features in Ubuntu is the Unity theme that changed almost every aspect of the familiar GNOME environment that you are used to. You can’t add custom icons to the panel or to the system tray, you have to change your workflow and get used to the dash. To make it worst, you have to put up with a launcher bar that stays on the side and won’t go away until you place a window on top of it. While you won’t be able to change much of the interface, you can, however, change the behavior of the launcher bar and get it to go out of sight (autohide) when not in use. Here’s the way:
1. Install Compiz Config Settings Manager (either via Ubuntu Software Center or Synaptic Package Manager).
2. Once installed, press “Alt + F2” and type “ccsm“.
3. Scroll down the list until you see the icon “Ubuntu Unity Plugin”. Click on it.
4. Under the “Reveal Mode” section. You should be able to see the option to hide launcher. You can select “Never”, “Autohide”, “Dodge Windows” or “Dodge Active Windows”.
5. The default option is “Dodge Windows”, but you can change it to “Autohide”, or “Never” if you want the launcher to be always there. There is no confirmation button. Once you have made the change, just click the Back button, or close the Compiz app.
That’s it. Your Unity Launcher bar should autohide itself when not in use. To retrieve it, simply move your mouse cursor to the left corner of the screen. It will take about 1 second for the launcher to appear again.