Unity 2D

13 Jan

Over in Canonical’s OEM Services Group, we’ve been collaborating with the DX team working on an implementation of Unity for Ubuntu using Qt 4.7 and QML. We’ve arrived at an exciting milestone where the software has landed in a PPA and the Natty archives!

PPA:https://launchpad.net/~unity-2d-team/+archive/unity-2d-daily – currently the packages in this daily PPA are installable on Maverick 10.10

Code: https://launchpad.net/unity-2d

Natty 11.04: unity 2d packages are in the archive

Just a little background on the project.  Unity 2D’s main goal is to provide a Unity environment on hardware platforms that don’t  support Unity’s Open GL requirements. Many ARM platforms fall into this category, so Unity 2D expands Unity’s goodness to a whole new set of platforms.

The software is implemented using Qt/QML for the UI portions of Unity, while utilizing the existing Unity core components,  like indicators, bamf, dee, uTouch and places. In it’s current state, many of Unity’s features from Maverick have already been implemented (dash, places, launcher, panel) and others (uTouch, workspace switcher, accordion effect, etc) will be landing over the next few months. We’ve made a significant effort to try and match the visual style of Unity quite closely, so Unity 2D will have the same look and feel as Unity.  It’s is installed as it’s own session so it can live side by side with Unity, Gnome, your favorite session, etc…

Special thanks to all who been involved, it’s been enjoyable to be part of  – Florian, Olivier, Ugo, Aurelien, Mark, Ricardo, NCommander, David, Neil and everyone else who I forgot! See the screen shots below and expect to hear more in the coming days and weeks.

Unity 2D Desktop showing quick list and integrated window controls in panel:

Unity 2D Desktop

Unity 2D Applications Place:

Unity 2D Applications Place

Unity 2D Files Place:

Unity 2D Files Place

Unity 2D Panel with Application Menu Support:

Unity 2D panel

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56 Responses to “Unity 2D”

  1. Omer Akram January 15, 2011 at 1:31 am #

    first word, its lightening fast.
    I was wondering will there be an effort to change the design to match with the new unity design in the near future, features like auto-hide and bigger launcher icons would be really nice.

    • bfiller January 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

      It is quite fast even on slow hardware. Yes we will be working on matching the new design elements of Unity on Natty so you can expect that in this cycle.

  2. as January 15, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    So, dumb question:

    * If 2D unity is fast, and operates with the same “user experience” as 3D — why would we not abandon the 3D unity, which is usually slow — what are you gaining by having 3D, or contrariwise, losing by having 2D?

    If one can have one’s cake, and eat it too — then it would make sense to do so. Why are we not eating cake?

    • bfiller January 16, 2011 at 9:55 am #

      Not a dumb question. Couple of points: 2D and 3D versions should be *roughly* functionally equivalent but the 3D version can harness the full power of OpenGL. This allows a richer set of visual effects (textures, transparencies, animations, etc) and tighter integration with the window manager (Compiz) for some really cool functionality and effects. So basically for hardware that supports it, the 3D version will most have slightly more functionality and visual effects.

      Speed wise, Unity 3D will be much improved in the Natty cycle as it’s moved away from Mutter/Clutter in favor of Compiz/Nux.

      Unity 2D was developed for people who don’t have the kind of 3D support Unity requires. Either old cards, or brand new ones for which drivers have issues or ARM systems without 3D drivers.

      • Ville January 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

        Are you aware that QML can benefit from OpenGL as well? Either by running in a QGLWidget, or through the future “scene graph” ( http://labs.qt.nokia.com/2010/05/18/a-qt-scenegraph/ ) where you can add OpenGL vertex & pixel shaders directly to QML components?

        “Normal” animations and transparency OTOH don’t need OpenGL support.

      • bfiller January 16, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

        Indeed I am aware of the GL capabilities of QML. The scene graph support is very exciting as well.

      • joel January 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

        Wouldn’t it be better to have only one, well polished, fast and stable version instead of two? I mean who needs 3D effects? Really. Most of proffesionals and advanced users I’ve talked to turns off all distracting effects. Including transparent windows, jelly effects, etc…
        People need – nice looking, fast and stable GUI. The rest is good for teenagers. Ask anyone who spend 10 hours in front of a computer…

  3. fgallaire January 15, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    Hello, what are the motivations of the EFL’s abandonment in favor of Qt ?

    • bfiller January 16, 2011 at 10:01 am #

      EFL was great for the netbook-launcher-efl implementation a few years back. Qt was picked for this project for many reasons: a very active development community, great development tools (Qt Quick, Qt Creator) and rapid development with QML to name a few. The documentation and support are great as well. Was a better fit for this project than EFL.

  4. Akshat Jain January 16, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

    I have an interesting question:

    How much time did it take to make this?

  5. Chris January 19, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    Nice! I like it very much. The netbook-interfaces where always painfully slow. This has lightningspeed!
    Will There be some sort of configuration-tool for resizing the panel, places, icon-size and so forth? I have a 1920×1080 screen and did some fooling around with the qml-files till everything matched the screensize.

    • bfiller January 19, 2011 at 11:08 am #

      It supposed to resize automatically to fit the screen size, but may not be working correctly. Can you please enter a bug at https://bugs.launchpad.net/unity-2d to report the issue?

      thanks for the feedback.

  6. Zac January 20, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    This Unity 2D is much faster. This is one of the most efficient environments I have used, and if not the most, will soon will be. It’s also easy on the eye just like the Ubuntu font.

    There was a little hic-up yesterday with an update but all fixed today with an update. Looking forward to more improvements. Congrats again on your work.

  7. TGM February 3, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    If they could fit a shadow on the workspace at the top and left just to blend that window in a bit they are on for a big win!!!

  8. Hermit February 6, 2011 at 5:47 am #

    This is good news, especially for users with broken drivers. Like, I use fbev for my poulsbo card, and with Unity 2D I would actually be able to use Natty without falling back on Gnome. I like that. (although I still like Gnome 2).

    Apart from that, I like this even more than the 3D version! I’m really surprised by how well and fast it already works, if it would have desktop switcher already I would make it default right now.

  9. JBANDER May 1, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    I am having trouble with my 11.04 freezing I have the nvidia 6600 gt
    could reverting to uninty2d solve this problem?

  10. halkin June 6, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    Классный материал и очень нужный.. Непременно им воспользуюсь. Благодарю.
    Возможно Вас заинтересует возможность создания пассивного дохода.

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