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The Classic, now called Flashback session was quite popular in Ubuntu 12.04 so I though I'd write an article on how to get the same experience in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. 

The old classic GNOME session, now called "Flashback" is still available and working in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. Here's how to install it and tweak a few things.

Here are the results to expect after following the steps below:

Note: the default setup is to use two panels, but I've only used one in the screenshots above. You could the default 2 panels setup with the window list at the bottom, just one panel like in my screenshots, one panel with a dock at the bottom, etc., it's all up to you.

Of course, you don't have to apply all the instructions below, just those that you find useful.

Install and tweak the GNOME Flashback Session in Ubuntu 14.04

1. Install the Flashback GNOME session

To install the Flashback GNOME session, use the following command:
sudo apt-get install gnome-session-flashback

Once installed, log out and select this from the login screen session menu: "GNOME Flashback (Compiz)" if you want to use Compiz or "GNOME Flashback (Metacity)" if you don't need Compiz and want to use Metacity:

2. Fix the Compiz Flashback session (in my test, this only occurred in VirtualBox and not on my Ubuntu 14.04 laptop, but I'll add this anyway, in case it's not a VirtualBox-only issue)

For GNOME Flashback Compiz session only: In my test, logging into the "GNOME Flashback (Compiz)" session, there were no window decorations. But I was able to fix it so if that also occurs on your system, here's what to do. Firstly, install CompizConfig Settings Manager:
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Then launch CompizConfig Settings Manager from the menu (Applications > System Tools > Preferences), enable the "Copy to texture" plugin, then log out and log back in.

If the window decorations still don't work, you can also try to disable all the plugins from CompizConfig Settings Manager and then re-enable them (remember not to enable the Ubuntu Unity Plugin!).

3. How to add applets to the panel

To add applets to the panel, you must hold the ALT key while right clicking the panel, then select "Add to panel". In some cases, you must hold down both the ALT and the Super (Windows) keys while right clicking the panel so try this if just holding ALT doesn't work.

4. Get a Unity-like appmenu (global menu)

If you want to get an Unity-like AppMenu (global menu), install the following package:
sudo apt-get install indicator-applet-appmenu

Then add the "Indicator Applet Appmenu" to the top panel (I've already explained above how to add applets to the GNOME Flashback session panels):

Note that in my test, adding the Appmenu applet to a panel makes the "Menu bar" applet disappear for some reason. The solution for this is use the "Main Menu" applet or Cardapio (see step 5 below).

5. Get a searchable menu: Cardapio

Cardapio, a menu that comes with a search along with other useful features, doesn't work with Ubuntu 14.04 any more, but I've found a version fixed by Eugene San fixed for Python 2.7 to which I've added a few fixes myself:
  • fixed the GTK3 bookmarks path;
  • fixed GNOME session logout/shutdown;
  • fixed panel icon not being displayed
  • fixed panel icon padding Cardapio using the wrong icon;
  • fixed "Applet" tab in Cardapio preferences not being displayed in GNOME Flashback session.

I'm not a developer so I couldn't fix all the bugs: some of its plugins don't work any more and launching Cardapio using the keyboard shortcut, the menu is displayed in the middle of the screen instead of being displayed where it's supposed to - next to the panel (if you manage to fix this, let me know!).

You can install it in Ubuntu 14.04 by using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cardapio cardapio-gnomepanel
Or download the debs from HERE.

Then, add Cardapio to the panel (see step 3 for how to add applets to the panel) and configure it to your liking. Note that after changing some settings, such as the ones in the "Applet" tab, you need to remove the applet from the panel and re-add it for the changes to take effect (or log out and log back in).