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A branch that implements minimize on click for the Unity launcher was proposed for merging into Unity but unfortunately it was rejected (bug report) because it's "unwanted behavior according to design".

I'm trying to reraise the lack of minimize on launcher icon click functionality. I'd like to make this a test case for listening to users, since this is a tiny change and *vastly* improves Unity's everyday usability.

- Jonathan French, the patch developer

It's understandable that they don't want this behaviour by default (well, more or less) since they want to use Spread, but at least an option to have minimize on click would be very helpful for many Ubuntu users. Especially since the patch adds minimize on click as part of the launcher icon click cycle, so it's not incompatible with Spread:

1. If there is no opened window for that app
1.a. Open a new window
2. If there is only one opened window for that app
2.a. Focus the window, if not focused
2.b. Minimize the window
2.c. Restore the window
2.d. Goto 2.a
3. If there is more than one opened window for that app
3.a. Focus the latest used window, if not focused
3.b. Open spread view
3.c. Close spread view and minimize all windows of that app
3.d. Restore the latest used window
3.e. Goto 3.a

Here's a video I've recoded, demoing the Unity minimize on click patch:

(direct video link)

Since it wasn't even considered adding minimize on click as an option, Jonathan French has created a PPA with the minimize on click patch. If you're using Ubuntu 12.04 and want to test it (only add the PPA for testing purposes!), use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ojno/unity-minimize-on-click
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

If later on you want to go back to the default Unity from the official Ubuntu 12.04 repositories, use PPA Purge, like this:
sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
sudo ppa-purge ppa:ojno/unity-minimize-on-click

Update: the PPA now has packages for Ubuntu 11.10 too.

What do you think?

Thanks to Jonathan French for the patch and info!