I've consistently always needed to stick to older computers at home. I've tried both 'Unity2D' and '3D' on my present computer (Toshiba Satellite, ATI Mobility 4200 series GPU, can post lshw if it's critical to do so) and I've noted that 3D mode is a notable performance hit, to pretty much every aspect of the computer.

Ubuntu 13.04 is being lauded as being quite fast - but 'Unity2D' is being dropped, is it not? Do the performance increases which most people seem to be experiencing require Unity3D?

Before people recommend other desktops - I've tried them and I just don't care for them I'm afraid. I really like the Unity desktop, and while I guess I could adapt to something else I just strongly prefer this UX to the others, so before telling me to switch DEs I'd like to understand a little more about the nature of the performance improvements.

  • Ubuntu 13.04 is being lauded as being quite fast -but 'Unity2D' is being dropped, is it not? - Yes and No, it won't be there by default but you can install it later. Do the performance increases which most people seem to be experiencing require Unity3D? - That's part of the focus of the 13.04 release. Apr 23, 2013 at 7:55

4 Answers 4


Unity which follows 13.04 is way faster and more reliable with fewer bugs (causing it to crash and take a lot of resources), and as a cause of the performance-increase they dropped unity 2D.

I am using 13.04 on my computer at home, and i could detect that it was way faster on an old Acer-Computer. Using unity 2D on 12.10 will be the same as using 3D on 13.04, i promise you.

Hope you got a view on what i meant. Stick with Unity if you would like to ;)

  • 1
    gotta say, it's much faster! I'm quite happy :)
    – Stick
    May 2, 2013 at 2:04

--EDIT-- FWIW, the below no longer works. Apparently the ppa no longer exists?

It looks like Unity 2D is still available and maintained for now, though there are notes of that changing soon with Unity Next. Unity 2D appears to be not installed by default in 13.04, so you'll have to install it separately:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:unity-team/staging
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-2d

I've only noticed performance improvements in 13.04 during boot, which was REALLY FAST. On my new Acer Aspire One D270, 13.04 desktop performance is grueling (2-3 frames per second) with the new default 3D enabled Unity, so I would say that Unity3D does not necessarily achieve any performance improvements. Installing unity 2D seems to be the only way to fix the problem, since there don't appear to be hardware accelerated drivers yet for my Intel Atom N2600 chipset in 13.04.

It would be awesome if future Ubuntu installers would automatically check for the availability of good hardware acceleration drivers in the future, and gracefully fallback to Unity 2D (or next equivalent) if there aren't any.


sorry for late answer but you could try maybe gnome-fallback works like a charm and it is so fast, if you don't care about the dashboard and pretty effects that is the solution which will very much satisfy you.

In terminal run

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback
  • Turns out unity does not support my graphics card /usr/lib/nux/unity_support_test -p returned: ... Not blacklisted: no ... Unity 3D support: no This is how I got Ubuntu 14.04 to run.
    – mmorris
    May 23, 2014 at 3:33

Apparently one of "the next big thing" for Ubuntu is MIR, it's a new server for the GUI and people trying it are reporting huge improvements on both performances and battery life, about 1 more hour with great improvement on the responsiveness of the GUI.

The only problem is that MIR is scheduled for the next release of Ubuntu, 13.10, so for now it's just a development branch with limited and buggy support to some Intel GPUs.

In my opinion your best option for now is to install a lighter desktop such as LXDE or XFCE.

  • Well my LiveCD experience won me over so I just went and updated. Unity's much faster now. Also, I just never liked the other desktops. Xfce is... okaaaay... but I dunno, I just strongly associate my Ubuntu UX with Unity, and don't much care for the other DEs. I'm a weirdo. :)
    – Stick
    May 14, 2013 at 18:06

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