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If my GPU can process basic Compiz effects as seen in GNOME Classic, will they work in Unity 2D?

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Probably. The goal of Unity 2d is to provide a unity-like desktop to those whose "hardware platforms cannot currently support Unity's OpenGL requirements". Check their wiki page for more info:

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I already found and answered myself. Thanks for the link. – Oxwivi Jun 26 '11 at 18:42
up vote 4 down vote accepted

As I found out (after reactivating Compiz, compiz --replace), those effects are indeed functional within Unity 2D.

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