We have this canonical post:

Unity doesn't load, no Launcher, no Dash appears

Apparently this has been a common problem and this question currently has around ~480 linked posts, many of which are closed as duplicates of it. The score, and the timeline of the top answer showing continuing upvotes suggest that many people have been helped by it over time.

However, as Oli's answer has been updated to prominently point out, this particular problem is becoming at least less likely, particularly with Unity on its way out (I actually thought 16.04 was using Unity with Compiz by default though - am I wrong? Anyway, there are several comments suggesting this fix doesn't work for 16.04). The question has many other answers, but few of them are recent. This recent one seems to have worked for a number of users on 16.04, so probably deserves more prominence.

The reason I'm making this post is that I saw this post in review, and I don't think the OP there is having this problem, or at least there is not enough evidence to conclude that they are.

Here are a few more posts closed against this question which seem not to have been helped by it (though perhaps askers just didn't scroll down far enough) or to seem to me to lack evidence that it is really this particular problem, and should have been closed as unclear or not at all:

I do not know what we should be doing about this, but I do think we should avoid closing against the canonical post questions that merely look somewhat similar to it, since these similar-looking problems seem likely to have different causes and to be unlikely to be solved by at least the majority of answers there, including the highest voted ones. I feel we should no longer be assuming that people are using Unity, especially after the imminent release of a non-Unity LTS.

My first thought was that we should try to get an updated answer by offering bounties etc but I feel that would be misguided, because I don't think an updated one-size-fits-all answer is going to be found for the seemingly various contemporary problems that look a bit like this one. Oli wrote

I'm not sure modern builds of Ubuntu even suffer from this problem. If you are having this problem on a modern install of Ubuntu, it's most likely a graphics driver issue.

But there are no new answers to the question that talk about graphics drivers, as far as I can see.

If we are not sure that a new question is going to be solved by answers to this old question and don't know how to update the answers to fix that, I don't think we should be closing against it...


Continuing to close against this question seems likely to be more frustrating than helpful for many current and future visitors. What should we do about it?

  • 1
    Understanding the problem is a good step towards a solution. I'll think about this.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 20:38
  • 2
    You are not wrong; the edit is incorrect. 16.04 uses compiz.
    – chaskes
    Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 3:08

2 Answers 2


Another way to deal with issues like this is organically. What I've done on occasion in the past when there were a multitude of answers to a users question is try to point them directly to the one I thought most likely helpful as in this example. By driving people to the correct answer votes on those answers will increase over time. This approach has the benefits of not requiring any mod intervention and sidesteps the possible issue of stepping on the intent of a highly respected answer. The downside to this approach is the time it would take to become effective could be extensive.

  • I agree with this approach in general, but I feel that what we're dealing with in this question is people habitually voting to close against this question when none of its answers actually address the problems people are having, when we aren't even sure they are using Unity. I guess my overarching point is that we can no longer stretch the scope of this question to cover every circumstance where some stuff on the desktop wasn't drawn properly and we need to look for stronger evidence before voting to close.
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 16:39
  • @Zanna Maybe it's just me, "but looking for stronger evidence" seems to be synonymous with "begging for stronger evidence" It's difficult if not impossible to always know whether closing as a duplicate and leaving a signpost for future users is preferable to closing as unclear. As a volunteer here, I do my best to be accurate, however if i answer the question asked rather than the question intended you have my apologies. I do my best work when I get paid.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 19:10
  • I'm sorry, I don't mean to be rude or negative. Maybe I didn't understand your post. Not having a good day
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 19:13
  • 1
    @Zanna I didn't take you that way, and I certainly didn't intend to come off that way either. I hope your day improves immeasurably! It's entirely feasible that I misunderstood your post. I assumed that you were asking what we could do about the post in question to improve the user experience. I don't know what can be done about anyone mistakenly steering someone the wrong way by erroneously closing as a dupe other than attempting to tease out the details and Voting to reopen upon sufficient edit.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 20:19
  • :) thanks. No you're right, I was asking what should be done about the post to improve the usefulness of the site, but my personal opinion is that this should include not voting to close against this question whenever a desktop element disappears. I don't have the technical knowledge or experience to tell whether Oli's edit to to the post speculating that "modern" versions of Ubuntu don't have this problem was correct, or what is causing problems like this to happen now, but examining recently closed "dupes" of this question suggests they should not have been closed...
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 16:06
  • Oddly, when I edited it the post was listed as a community edit without attribution. Now when I check the edit trail it shows that it was edited by Oli. Most strange. Regardless compiz is still available for all supported versions of Ubuntu, and I think my edit makes that clearer. If a question doesn't make it clear whether they are running Unity or not we should likely be begging for that information, or closing as a duplicate and voting to reopen on those rare occasions that the answers available don't cover the problem.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 16:16

Simply editing the answer to improve accuracy would seem to be the easiest course of action. As unity and compiz and ccsm are still available for all currently supported versions of Ubuntu. This I have done.

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