Here is a short guide to hide the launcher panel on Ubuntu 11.10. You can hide the launcher panel by disabling the reveal mode using the CompizConfig Settings Manager. To reveal the launcher panel all you have to do is to press the SuperKey but the launcher panel will no longer show up when your mouse touches the left side of your screen.
To hide the panel you need to have CCSM installed, to install CCSM open a terminal window (press Ctrl+Alt+T) and copy+paste the following line:
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
When CCSM is installed you can close the terminal window and to start ccsm press the SuperKey and type: ccsm
When CCSM is started click on the Ubuntu Unity plugin and set Hide Launcher to Autohide then click on the Reveal Mode button (the button with the word Left) and click on the green coloured edge to disable it. When the reveal mode is disabled it turns from green to red. When you changed these settings you can close CCSM and to reveal the launcher panel just click on the SuperKey.