I'm just wondering if there are any 2D alternatives to Unity (excluding KDE, XFCE, LXDE, etc.) that have a modern look to them. I like Unity (since I'm newer to Ubuntu) but I just think an alternative would be cool. Replies would be appreciated.

PS: My computer is a few years old and only has 2d acceleration.


Gnome 3 has a very modern look and scales nicely on older hardware:

You can install Gnome 3 by clicking here Install gnome-shell or by entering the following in a terminal:

sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

Once Gnome 3 is installed, simply log out, click the gear icon next to your name on the login screen and select "Gnome".

  • I said 2D though. – Schism430 Oct 15 '11 at 1:19
  • @Schism430: I would suggest trying Gnome 3 anyway - it runs almost flawlessly on a netbook with integrated graphics. – Nathan Osman Oct 15 '11 at 2:00
  • Gnome 3 needs 3d acceleration, which I don't have. I'll try the fallback mode, though. – Schism430 Oct 15 '11 at 11:27
  • Update: The normal GNOME 3 doesn't work, but the fallback does – Schism430 Oct 15 '11 at 12:50

Ok, so I installed Pantheon, and except for the exclusion of a background, it is ok for me. Case closed.

  • Update: Exclusion of a background EVERYWHERE. That's a problem. – Schism430 Oct 15 '11 at 15:05

If you are using 11.10, you should have a Unity 2D option, which will be the default if your hardware is detected as being incapable of running 3D.

  • That's my current desktop environment, actually – Schism430 Oct 15 '11 at 1:18

There are two implementations of Unity. The default one is based on Compiz and hence requires accelerated graphics. The other is a "plain" Qt app, which does not require any acceleration. It's quite nice, almost identical to the accelerated Unity. It's installed by default in 11.10. You just choose it before you log in. It's the button next to the password field. If you're in 11.04, then you can install it by clicking this link

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