This morning at the Ubuntu Developer Summit there was a discussion about Unity 2D, the lightweight 2D version of Canonical's Unity desktop that isn't dependent upon 3D (OpenGL) acceleration. Work on Unity 2D based on Qt began during the Ubuntu 11.04 cycle, but with Ubuntu 11.10 it should be more polished and comparable to the full-blown Unity desktop experience.
Here's some notes from this morning's Unity 2D session.
- A rule in developing Unity 2D will be to assume there is no GPU acceleration support, as to not design effects or other operations that are too taxing on the CPU.
- A common library for settings between Unity and Unity 2D will be worked on so that schemas can be shared. Right now the Unity "3D" version is using CCSM, but it will be moving to GSettings.
- Rather than using Metacity or any other non-accelerated window manager, Compiz will be used. While Compiz is commonly used as a compoisiting window manager for OpenGL / OpenGL ES, it does support different back-ends. Compiz can target X Render or even the CPU-based QPainter. A goal will be to use Compiz with a non-accelerated back-end as a new fall-back. With Unity 2D using Compiz as well, Metacity can be removed from the LiveCD, thereby slimming down the ISO size a bit as well (large discussions about hitting the 700MB CD ISO limit).
- Falling back to the classic GNOME desktop in Ubuntu 11.10 will be eliminated.
- Unity 2D will further minimize dependencies on X11 and GTK.
Find more notes from this UDS session on this Ubuntu.com page