I installed Ubuntu 10.10 netbook edition on my old pc, and it won't boot into the Unity interface. instead, it shows an error (something about my system being not good enough for Unity) - and boots into the legacy Gnome interface.

My Specs:

Intel Celeron 2.4Ghz processor. 512MB DDR1 memory (@400Mhz), 20GB veteran IDE Hard Disk, and an Nvidia Geforce 2 video card with 64MB VRAM.

as you can see, my machine is well above the "official" requirements of Ubuntu, and meets the "official" requirements for Unity as well.

what are the REAL (tested) hardware requirements for 10.10 with Unity, and how do I get it to work?

  • Most likely you do not have OpenGL-Support for 3D-Features setup correctly. Please check that with glxinfo | grep rendering
    – Michael K
    Dec 12, 2011 at 10:03
  • Lot's of good suggestions and this probably can be done. However after running 10.10 for a year on 4 daily use computers and keeping up with the 10.10 -> 11.04 -> 11.10 upgrade path on one laptop I finally brought all of them up to 11.10. The Unity experience (including 2-d fallback) is so much better I found it well worth leaving 10.10 behind. Even the noob users like it, though most don't discover the self hiding global menus.
    – Dennis
    Dec 12, 2011 at 12:48

1 Answer 1


You've got 2 possibilities.

  1. Check if there are any proprietary graphic drivers available. You can do this by going to System -> Administration -> Additional hardware drivers. If there are any proprietary drivers available, select the recommended one, and click the Activate button.


    This method might not always work.

  2. Install the unity-2d package, reboot, and choose the Ubuntu 2D or Unity 2D session at the login screen. If you can't find the unity-2d package in Synaptic or the software centre, add this ppa to your software sources and update the package data: ppa:unity-2d-team/unity-2d-daily.
    Unity 2D is the alternative version of Unity which doesn't have such high requirements, as it doesn't need 3D acceleration. For most people Unity 2D will work faster as well.

  • Right, I've seen this with not downloading and activating the driver.
    – wojox
    Dec 12, 2011 at 13:55

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