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The default Unity Applications Lens displays frequently used applications as well as applications available for download along with the installed applications list, and this may seem too cluttered for some. So here are two alternatives to the Unity Applications Lens: Unity Bliss Lens and RunLens.

Unity Bliss Lens

Unity Bliss Lens displays applications in a classic way, using categories: when clicking on a category, all the applications in that category are listed and there's also a back button to take you back to the categories list. And of course, there are no frequently used applications or applications available for download.

If you perform a search, however, the applications show up without their respective categories.

There are a few minor glitches though:
  • the icon used by Unity Bliss Lens is the same as the default Unity Applications Lens so this may be a little confusing;
  • by default, only 5 categories are displayed (probably an Unity limitation) so make sure you click the "see 5 more results" button to see all the categories.

Please note that in my test, Unity Bliss Lens didn't work properly in Unity 2D: the category icons were shown as unknown icons and clicking any of them closes Dash (I've reported the bug here).

Since there was no PPA to install Unity Bliss Lens, I've uploaded it to the main WebUpd8 PPA so Ubuntu 11.10 users can install it using the commands below:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-bliss-lens

If you don't want to add our PPA, download the .deb from HERE.

Once installed, log out and log back in (if the lens doesn't work try restarting your computer; also, make sure you have the latest Unity!).

If you encounter bugs, report them @ Launchpad.


RunLens is a very simple alternative to the default Unity Applications Lens and it only displays installed applications. Also, this lens displays the application description under each application name, a feature that isn't available for either the default Unity Applications Lens or Bliss Lens.

Currently, the RunLens search text is in German (I've already reported the bug), but that shouldn't be problem since you already know that you must type some text to search.

To install Unity RunLens in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, use the commands below:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:diesch/testing
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install runlens

Once installed, log out and log back in.

Unity RunLens should work in both Unity 3D and Unity 2D.

Report any bugs you may find @ Launchpad.