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I have an old computer which works nicely with Gnome-2 (10.04 LTS). I swapped out the hard drive and installed 11.10 for testing purposes getting ready for 12.04 LTS but Unity-2D is painfully slow, as is Gnome-fallback. I can't even run Gnome-3-shell or Unity-full. I understand that Gnome-2 has depreciated or is about to depreciate. So my question is, does this mean I only have 2 choices? Either buy a new computer which is fast enough to run Gnome-3 in a responsive manner, or switch to a lighter desktop environment, something like XFCE as Gnome-2 will no longer be an option?

I'm wondering if someone will take on the responsibility of maintaining Gnome-2 in a separate branch after depreciation...

I have a Dell GX270, which has:
Graphics: Integrated Intel Extreme® Graphics 2
RAM: 1Gb
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Please see updated question. Thanks. – oshirowanen Nov 10 '11 at 13:12
Check also your logs (xorg.0) - is the graphics defaulting to "vesa" or "i915"? When you say "slow" I presume you mean its "laggy" - have you checked if you've got any processes running close to 100% - run in terminal top – fossfreedom Nov 10 '11 at 13:16
I'll check as soon as I can. – oshirowanen Nov 10 '11 at 14:38
up vote 1 down vote accepted

For very old hardware that is the only option, there are a few tricks that you can do to speed things up but if even Unity2D is slow on your pc then another desktop environment is the only thing that can be recommended.

You have said anything about your computer specs, maybe a upgrade on ram / cpu can be possible but to tell the truth that wont do miracles if the ram is already above 1gb and you have a decent cpu for your motherboard. If your motherboard can support upgrades other then what you already have then you can think about it, else you need to use a lighter desktop environment.

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I have a Dell GX270: – oshirowanen Nov 10 '11 at 12:43
Then its normal that its starting to drag a bit, that should not surprise any one in my opinion, I find 11.10 even more sluggish then 11.04 and I have a 4 core AMD@3.2Ghz with 4Gb DDR2 ram. The thing about you at the moment is that it will be really hard to find a suitable upgrade for your CPU and even ram (DDR modules are scarce now a days) if any is available. What you are experiencing is normal. – Bruno Pereira Nov 10 '11 at 14:09
I understand that Unity-2D is laggy for my computer, which is normal. However, I don't want the laggyness. Seems like my only free option is to ditch Gnome as even the next Linux Mint will have Gnome-3. Might have to swap to Lubuntu 12.04 even though LXDE is has many missing features compared to Gnome-2. Gnome-2 which runs fine on my GX270. Maybe even stretch 10.04 to EOL and get a new computer before EOL for 10.04, so I've got about 2 and a half years to upgrade my hardware. – oshirowanen Nov 10 '11 at 14:46
Agree on all of that, seems like the best choice, gnome3 is starting to get a bit heavy on your system and you need to find something else or a better computer ;) gl – Bruno Pereira Nov 10 '11 at 14:51

I'm using old hardware with Nvidia-173 drivers and I don't like the fact "composite" is mandatory to use Unity correctly (very laggy).

I had to force composite to "off" to avoid laggy windows by modifying /etc/X11/xorg.conf:

Section "Extensions"
Option "Composite" "Disable"

With this extension disabled, Unity-2D is a lot faster but without any special effects.

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In 12.04 and 12.10, if you install the Gnome package (I think it may have also been called gnome-fallback) you will get an option called Gnome Classic (no effects). This is Gnome Panel, essentially, but upgraded to Gnome 3. No Compiz, no 3D, it's a nice, slick desktop that resembles Gnome 2 and doesn't have the downsides that the 3D accelerated Gnome 3 desktops have.

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