Since the introduction of Ubuntu’s new Unity interface, one of its features has been the “Dodge Windows” functionality. What this means is that if a program window were to be moved so that it would have been on top of the Unity dock, the dock would “dodge” out of the way as much as necessary, up to and including completely hiding itself.
So, you could take a window that wasn’t covering the dock…
… and move it so that it would have covered the dock, only the dock would “dodge” out of the way.
In Ubuntu 12.04, however, this feature was removed. It wasn’t just that the feature was turned off, but that the code was removed from Unity, so anyone wanting the feature returned was out of luck. In Ubuntu 12.04, should a window move into the Unity’s dock’s “space” the window will simply slide behind the dock.
How to get the feature back? As mentioned, the code was removed from Unity, so there’s no setting to tweak, even when using a third-party tweaking tool, but thanks to a patched version of Unity, now available via a personal package archive (PPA), Ubuntu users can soon have their “window dodge” feature back. Here’s how to get it.
First, open up the Terminal.
Now type sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ikarosdev/unity-revamped to add the PPA to your list of software sources.
Now type sudo apt-get update to update those software lists, which will make the new, patched Unity available for upgrading.
Finally, type sudo apt-get upgrade to upgrade your currently installed Unity to the patched Unity with “window dodge” feature included.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to install one more program (if you haven’t already installed it), which will allow us to enable the “window dodge” feature (even after installing the patched version of Unity, “window dodge” is still turned off by default). We’ll be installing the CompizConfig Settings Manager (CCSM), so type sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager to do this.
Now, after the upgrade to the patched Unity and installation of CCSM is finished, go ahead and log out of your current session, then immediately log back in.
We’ll now need to open up CCSM, which we can do by typing ccsm into the Dash.
Scroll down to the “Ubuntu Unity Plugin” (found in the Desktop section), and open it.
The setting we want is in the first tab, and you can see it below. We want either “Dodge Window” or “Dodge Active Window”.
If we choose “Dodge Window” then any window that would have covered the Unity Dock will cause the “dodge” behavior, while chooseing “Dodge Active Window” will cause the Dock to dodge only when the foremost window would be covering it. Once you have made your decision close the Settings Manager and try to move a window on top of the dock. It should now “dodge” out of the way, just as we wanted.
And that’s it. One last note about this: as we are using a patched version of Unity, it is possible that whenever Unity is upgraded by Ubuntu, you will lose the “window dodge” feature, at least until the new version of the patched Unity is available. Other than that, the patched version of Unity is identical except for this patch, and one to allow minimizing by clicking on the dock icon, so there should be no problems associated with using it.