As reported by Phoronix, the news from UDS appears to be that development on Unity 2D will stop, with the focus being on a single, unified implementation.

Obviously maintaining two codebases to do the same thing is not ideal. However, Unity 2D was created for a reason ("Unity 2D's goal is to provide the Unity desktop shell on hardware platforms that cannot currently support Unity's OpenGL requirements"). Why is it no longer felt Unity 2D is needed?

  • Isn't this more in the nature of a discussion than a question on AU? :) Anyway, if you hardware cannot handle OpenGL there's always the option to go to one of the alternate desktops (Xubuntu/Lubuntu), or a different window manager.
    – ish
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 10:58
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    @izx I don't think so - the discussion has already happened, this questions asks what were the key reasons raised in that discussion
    – 8128
    Commented May 9, 2012 at 14:00
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    The biggest drawback is that Nvidia and AMD don't play ball. They simply won't release fully functioning open drivers. This is fine if you want a novelty OS to boot into but if you are a serious user using Ubuntu professionally and you have modern GFX then then kiss Ubuntu goodbye or at the very least say goodbye to stability. Additionally, when the 3d does work everything is undeniably slower. I'm a turbo user, constantly using keyboard shortcuts and fast switching between windows and it simply does not cut it. Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 5:15
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    Oh no, now I can't avoid Compiz any more. Nooooooooooooooo........... Time to find another distro. Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 12:02
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    12.10 made me change from onboard ATI Gfx to Geforce. And on my laptop from Ubuntu 10.10/11.04 to Lubuntu.
    – type
    Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 13:16

1 Answer 1


Unity 2D was conceived as a fallback mode for computers without the graphics hardware or drivers to run Unity properly. The project uses, as you say, a separate codebase, and has sucked up substantial engineering resources to stay consistent with the main interface.

Luckily, engineers at the Fedora project have successfully developed and integrated a technology for running rich, composited graphical environments on older hardware. Ubuntu can also adopt this solution. As such, Unity 2D as a fallback mode is now superfluous.

Everyone can now enjoy Unity, without the costs of developing a fallback alternative.

Here are the notes:

  • Has Canonical stated their intent to integrate the Fedora implementation into Ubuntu? Commented May 9, 2012 at 15:36
  • @Dan Neely: Isn't the "Fedora implementation" the Gnome shell? I think Canonical would implement the Fedora technology into the Unity shell, which is separate from the Gnome shell. Perhaps this is what you meant, but if so, then that is basically what he already said they would do. Commented May 15, 2012 at 18:56
  • Interesting, what about people that use the 2d launcher in other desktops? I think this from the fedora link says a lot " Note that software rendering does require sufficient CPU power for a good experience."
    – Mateo
    Commented May 21, 2012 at 19:42
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    Let me rephrase the question: why was Ubuntu 2D ever developed? Was it not a waste of time from the beginning? Why did they not use LLVM from the beginning? This is not critique, I am honestly wondering.
    – Ingo
    Commented May 28, 2012 at 19:02

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