March 30, 2018

Easily Install A Unity-Like Theme On KDE Plasma Via United Look And Feel Pack

United Plasma theme
In the wake of Canonical dropping Unity like a hot potato as it moves on in life after kissing and making up with Gnome, some users out there are looking for ways to not disrupt their computing lives. Some, including me, have been surprised at the blow-back from the decision to move back to Gnome, indicating just how popular the sometimes-maligned desktop actually was. And in the minds of many continues to be. Honestly, and in a nutshell, Unity continues to have a lot of fans.

Those looking to continue on with the Canonical-developed Unity Desktop have a few options out there. Users looking to keep using Unity on their PCs can of course do so by installing from the normal Ubuntu repositories, at least for a little while longer. In addition, as some of you may know, there are the obligatory forks of Unity 7 and 8, respectively.

On the KDE Plasma side of things, and in a stunning display of just how versatile Plasma and Qt actually are, a Unity-like desktop experience had emerged several months ago. As a result, Unity refugees can ease into KDE Plasma while continuing on with the look and workflow they are accustomed to. Thus, Unity users not wanting to move to Gnome 3 can now install a Unity theme on any system running KDE Plasma with just a few clicks.

Called simply United, the experience is delivered via a KDE 'Look and Feel Pack'. If you're not familiar with Look and Feel Packs, or are confused with how they differ from standard Plasma themes, your not alone. Basically, a L&FP includes the ability for the author to include any definable items from the KDE Store. Meaning, you can specify icons, wallpapers, color schemes, plasmoids (KDE's name for desktop widgets), and more as part of the pack. And this level of control and customization is exactly what allows things this United theme to emerge.

Recently United was updated and the author put together a nice video about it showing off some new elements and enhancements.


By default, United adds quite a few elements to achieve the Ubuntu look. One that's not included, however, is the Ubuntu wallpaper. Completely optional, you can download and install the Ubuntu 17.04 wallpaper from the Open Desktop site. Links below.

Ubuntu 17.04 wallpaper
Installing the Ubuntu 17.04 wallpaper
As for the Look and Feel Pack itself, open System Settings and click on Workspace Themes. From there, you can press the 'Get New Looks' button, shown on the bottom-right-hand side. Next, search for 'United'. Once found, install it. Then, once back in your Workspace Themes window, you'll see United. Choose it. Make sure the check box in the lower-left that says 'Use desktop layout from theme' is checked. Finally, hit apply. After a few seconds you'll be enshrouded in an Ubuntu-like experience. Feel free to continue tweaking from there, should you desire, by downloading new icon packs, etc. Otherwise your desktop transformation is now complete.

United Plasma theme details page
United download page accessed
from KDE Plasma's System Settings

Uswitch plasmoid
The inclusion of plasmoids, like this one
named "USwitch" add to the Unity experience

The author has given care as to the widgets used, and where they are placed, in order to mimic Unity's look and function. While not a 100% perfect recreation, Unity users should feel right at home in KDE Plasma through the addition of this pack. If you find it useful, make sure to give it a thumbs-up over on the KDE store. And, as always, happy computing.

KDE Plasma's Application Dashboard menu launcher
Using Plasma's Application Dashboard launcher
to emulate Unity's full-screen app launcher


- Ubuntu 17.04 wallpaper
- Plane icon theme for Ubuntu  
- United Look and Feel Pack 

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