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Canonical's Working On A Unity 2D Desktop

Ubuntu

Published on 14 January 2011 03:10 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu
25 Comments

Back in October there was the very controversial news that Canonical would be replacing the GNOME Shell with their own Unity project as the default desktop shell for Ubuntu 11.04 and going forward. The original version and specification for Ubuntu Unity (and as found in Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook) required 3D acceleration and would use Compiz as its compositing window manager. For those without the necessary graphics drivers to support the functionality, Canonical's plan for Ubuntu was to have it fall-back to the traditional GNOME desktop and inform the user of their sad graphics support. However, now Canonical's developing a 2D version of Unity for such scenarios.

The "Unity 2D" desktop is to provide a Unity environment without the need for OpenGL or any accelerated graphics drivers, but is built using Qt and QML. The goal is to have Unity 2D to have a close to the same look and feel as the normal Unity environment. Canonical found a need to provide this Unity 2D option especially with many mobile ARM-based platforms lacking the needed OpenGL drivers, or at least for being available "out of the box" since nearly all of the ARM graphics drivers are poorly-supported binary blobs.

Unity and Unity 2D will be found in Ubuntu 11.04, to be released this April. There's also a Launchpad page for this new Unity 2D project.

Hopefully this move to provide a non-OpenGL Unity experience will not diminish the chances of seeing the Nouveau Gallium3D driver in Ubuntu 11.04.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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