You can install and use legacy “xorg” apps on Unity 8 Desktop Session on Ubuntu 16.10
Ubuntu 16.10 comes with an optional Unity 8 pre-installed.
Using Unity 8 on a Ubuntu 16.10 machine is actually a good experience. You can install more ‘Snap’ apps, like photo gallery, from the command line using:
sudo snap install --edge --devmode gallery-app
But what happens when you need the classic apps that we all know? Apps like GIMP, Firefox and Gedit. Well, you can still run them in Unity 8 as well courtesy of the ‘Xmir’ compatibility layer.
How to Install Xorg Apps on Unity 8
You can install and use legacy “xorg” apps in the Unity 8 Desktop Session on Ubuntu 16.10
The first thing you’ll need to do is to install Libertine.
Libertine is ‘a confined sandbox where you are able to install deb-packaged X11-based Ubuntu applications have them run under Unity 8.’
1. Install Libertine
Open a new Terminal window and run the following command:
sudo apt install libertine libertine-scope libertine-tools
After it installed open the Apps Scope, refresh it and you’ll see the ‘Libertine’ app icon appear.
2. Create a Libertine Container
Open the Libertine container app.
First time you run this you’ll see a blank white screen with a header. Click on the ‘+‘ icon in the upper right-hand corner and this screen will appear…
You can ignore everything that you see and click OK leaving all the fields blank.
This will take some minutes to finish as it has to configure itself, install some packages and set the proper permissions.
If you’re running your Unity 8 preview session on device with limited storage then do be aware that each container you create can take up to 500MB, and every app you install in it will add bloat on top of this.
When the spinning circular icon disappears your container has been successfully created.
Your new container has the default name “Ubuntu ‘Yakkety Yak’”.
3. Install Legacy Apps In Your Container
Click on the container titled “Ubuntu ‘Yakkety Yak’”.
Click on the ‘+‘ icon in the upper right-hand corner to open the package install wizard.
You’ll be presented with three options:
Select the option named: ‘Enter package name’.
Next, type the package name of the app you want to install (e.g., Leafpad is ‘
leafpad‘, Firefox is ‘
firefox‘, VLC is ‘vlc’, etc.) in the text field.
Click ‘OK’ when done.
You’ll once again see a spinny circle as application packages download and install within the container.
When done open the Apps Scope and refresh. Finally, click on the icon of the app you install…