Unity is currently the default window manager on my system, a window manager that's available for many Linux distributions, meaning this question isn't Ubuntu-specific. I have disabled the dock's autohide using
debconf, but apart from that I haven't altered any of the default settings. My usage pattern is centred around the Windows key; whenever I wish to start something, whether it be Firefox, GVim, or a terminal window, I just hit the windows key, start typing the name, and hit enter when Unity guesses what it is I want.
This use means I have no need to keep anything in the launcher. Given that I only start applications using the keyboard, I only need the dock to show me currently running applications.
Naturally, my response was to simply remove everything I could from the dock, meaning all that remains is running applications.
It doesn't work though. If I remove all 'pinned' applications from the dock, the system repopulates it to the defaults on restart of Unity. I assume that Unity thinks everything being removed is either a user error or a clobbered configuration file somewhere, and as such 'repairs' it by restoring the pinned applications.
How can I suppress this setting so I can have an empty dock?