Netbeans and Ubuntu Unity

June 11th, 2012 | by Tonny Kohar |

If you are developing application with Netbeans in Ubuntu Unity environment, most likely the Netbeans menu is black (hard to spot) and in bold text (ugly). And this things effecting all java program. It is due to the ambience theme employed by Ubuntu which result in menu black and bold. And not only that, because the new Unity is using Unity Launcher and Global menu, all java application will looks weird on that environment eg: no global menu, wrong launcher icon, not integrated into Unity HUD, etc

So how to fix that. The menu black things can be solved by changing the ambience theme into another theme or you can edit the ambience theme resources definition file. But the global menu and HUD integration is harder to workaround.

Luckily if you are using Netbeans you can just use Java Ayatana plugin which solve all the problem above. Java Ayatana will integrate Netbeans nicely with Ubuntu Unity eg: Ubuntu global menu, Ubuntu HUD integration, Unity launcher fix, etc.

How to install Java Ayatana Plugins
– In Netbeans, goto menu – Tools – Plugins
– On the settings tab, add the Update Center, and use
* Name: Java Ayatana
* URL:
– On the Available Plugins tab, choose reload, then find and install Java Ayatana
– Restart Netbeans and done. Netbeans is integrated with Ubuntu Unity

For detailed instructions please visit Java Ayatana plugins

And if by any case you are developing Netbeans Platform application, you also can use Java Ayatana plugins as extra cluster.

Netbeans in Ubuntu Unity Global Menu
*see Ubuntu Unity global menu works

Netbeans in Ubuntu Unity HUD Integration
*see Ubuntu Unity HUD integration

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  1. 27 Responses to “Netbeans and Ubuntu Unity”

  2. By Laszlo Kishalmi on Jun 12, 2012 | Reply

    Ugly fonts can be fixed by copying the fontconfig.Ubuntu* form java-6-sun/jre/lib to java-7-oracle/jre/lib

  3. By Andrew on Jun 15, 2012 | Reply

    This didn’t work for me. Using Ubuntu 12.04 and Netbeans 7.1.2. The plugin installed OK and it shows as active after a Netbeans restart, but the menu is still on the application and not in the global menu.

    Is there something else that needs doing?

  4. By Tonny Kohar on Jun 15, 2012 | Reply


    In my case, everything is works as expected, no need to configure anything. Just install and done.

    Did you modify your Ubuntu Netbeans Launcher in the past to allow custom plaf, etc ?

  5. By Andrew on Jun 15, 2012 | Reply

    UPDATE! It turns out that I couldn’t get it working because I was using Java 6 JDK/JRE and I needed to use Java 7.

    Install it with ‘sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jdk’ and then edit the netbeans.conf file (/usr/local/netbeans-7.1.2/etc/netbeans.conf on my system) to use the new java version ‘netbeans_jdkhome=”/usr/lib/jvm/java-1.7.0-openjdk-i386/jre”‘

  6. By Daniel Bolduc on Jun 22, 2012 | Reply

    Merci Andrew
    Ça fonctionne ! Sauf pour la “font”, i will follow the Laszlo comment.

  7. By Mauro on Aug 3, 2012 | Reply

    Is there a way to apply the same fix for Netbeans Platform Applications? I mean, for example I have the same issue with the VisualVM that is a NBP based App.


  8. By Tonny Kohar on Aug 3, 2012 | Reply


    Yes, as long as you have access to Plugins system and able to add the above plugins, it will works

  9. By Werner on Aug 6, 2012 | Reply

    I just installed Netbeans 7.0.1 in Ubuntu 12.04. I suggest that the easiest way to make the Netbeans menu bar readable is by opening the Apppearance Window in System Settings and changing the Theme from “Ambiance” to “Radiance”.

  10. By yiannis on Aug 31, 2012 | Reply

    This didn’t not work with netbeans 7.1
    It worked after upgrading to netbeans 7.2

  11. By Roman on Nov 26, 2012 | Reply

    Thanks a lot! It solved the problem. Ubuntu 12.10, Netbeans 7.2.1, JDK 1.6.0_32 (from Oracle)

  12. By Artur on Dec 19, 2012 | Reply

    It worked nicely for me. Moving menu to top also gives you more space for editor. Thanks!

  13. By Samuel on Mar 25, 2013 | Reply

    This worked great for me. Thanks, Andrew!
    Someone should update the post, ’cause I could only fix it with your tip.

  14. By Aftab Naveed on Apr 6, 2013 | Reply

    How did you fix the ugly fonts of Ubuntu? could you please let us know


  15. By Aftab Naveed on Apr 6, 2013 | Reply

    Sorry I meant Net Beans not ubuntu

  16. By nniico on May 13, 2013 | Reply

    Tried it with netbeans 7.3 on Ubuntu 12.10 and 13.04 without success.
    Is it only for Unity, or could it work with indicator-applet-appmenu on a “classic” gnome session?

    I have this log (indicator-applet-appmenu.log):
    DEBUG: Indicator-Appmenu – Active window is: NULL
    DEBUG: Indicator-Appmenu – Switching to menus from XID 0

  17. By Tonny Kohar on May 14, 2013 | Reply


    I only tried it with Ubuntu Unity, not sure works with other desktop environment

  18. By Matahari on Jul 3, 2013 | Reply

    Works like a charm in Ubuntu 12.04 using Netbeans 7.3.1!!!

  19. By Bart on Aug 20, 2013 | Reply

    Not working on Ubuntu 12.04 and Netbeans 7.3.1 with Java 7.25, Any idea?

  20. By wellic on Oct 17, 2013 | Reply

    Create file

    #!/usr/bin/env bash

    #It is necessary for NetBeans

    set -e





    sudo chmod 555 $LIBDIR/$FILE_BFC
    sudo chmod 755 $LIBDIR/$FILE_SRC

  21. By wellic on Oct 17, 2013 | Reply

    Or copy manually 2 files to dir:

    from repo:


    Change rights:
    sudo chmod 555 fontconfig.Ubuntu.bfc
    sudo chmod 755

  22. By Mario on Oct 21, 2013 | Reply

    wont work in ubuntu 13.10 🙁

  23. By currency news trading on Jan 29, 2014 | Reply

    Thanks for sharing. Your post is a useful contribution.

  24. By best buy cialis on Feb 5, 2014 | Reply

    Your post has lifted the level of debate

  25. By Dan Jared on Feb 14, 2014 | Reply

    For Ubuntu 13.10 you can use JAyatana 2. It doesn’t any plugin.

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:danjaredg/jayatana
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install jayatana

  26. By Marcos on Feb 24, 2014 | Reply

    Nice! thanks!!!

  27. By kbec on May 2, 2014 | Reply

    So, how to uninstall plugin from NB8? After NB’s restart its still there.

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