Unity Going Forward

Sean McNamara smcnam at gmail.com
Fri Aug 17 11:24:42 UTC 2012


It's not necessarily just old systems that will hit this, by the way. New
systems with the latest generation AMD or Nvida GPUs can just as easily hit
this snag due to lack of open drivers support. For example, even to this
day there is no real 3d support for Radeon HD7000 series except for fglrx.
Will Ubuntu be able to detect these cards and enable the restricted drivers
automatically with no prompting, or will it fall back to llvmpipe when the
Mesa stack fails to support your card?

Anyway, on brand new systems there is less of a concern, because the
performance of llvmpipe on a current-gen CPU is almost tolerable. By
contrast, the systems that are so old that the hardware doesn't support
OpenGL 2.0 probably also have a CPU that will render llvmpipe a 0.1fps
slideshow due to lack of SIMD instructions, which boost llvm's performance
tremendously if available.

Further optimization work on llvmpipe may yield better results, but
eventually you will hit a wall where software rendering is as fast as it
can be - -  and on the kind of CPU that was in production back before
OpenGL 2 was deployed, getting it to an acceptable FPS is going to be close
to impossible, I think. The worst part is that we won't even be able to
address the user complaints that "Ubuntu is horribly slow" after we hit
that software rendering performance wall.

But if we can somehow warn these users off of using the main Ubuntu
distribution and have them use Xubuntu or Lubuntu instead, that might be in
everyone's best interest.
On Aug 16, 2012 8:52 PM, "Jason Warner" <jason.warner at canonical.com> wrote:

> *Hi Everyone -
>
> Today is the first day that 'Unity' can be used without confusion on
> Ubuntu. Unity 2D has been removed as a default option in favor of Unity 3D
> across the board. This is a work in progress, so bear with us as we sort
> out the details in the transition.
>
> What does this mean? First and foremost, it means we have one codebase
> going forward. Secondly, it means that that there will be some regressions
> in use cases where Unity 2D fit in the past. Lastly, it means you should
> see a unified experience wherever Unity runs.
>
> Ever since Unity was introduced there have been slight gaps in the
> experience between Unity 2D and Unity 3D (forever forward called Unity).
> With one code base for all form factors we can guarantee a unified
> experience. One code base also means we should be able to move faster as we
> don't have to split the effort anymore, further accelerating our pace of
> innovation.
>
> But there is a cost to this decision. Unity 2D fit a very specific use
> case in very low-end and non-GPU accelerated hardware. By consolidating to
> Unity using LLVMpipe for this specific use case we expect to see some
> regressions in systems supported. This means that a certain class of
> hardware will no longer be supported to run Unity. Unity will run on all
> GPUs that support OpenGL 2.0. The earliest GPUs that meet this requirement
> are at least 5 years old[1]. Even so, we know some subset of cards and
> hardware that could previously run Unity 2D will no longer be able to run
> Unity.
>
> For these cases, we are actively working on Unity running through LLVMpipe
> which is a work in progress. Unity through LLVMpipe is CPU bound which
> means systems with decently modern CPU architectures and non-GPU
> accelerated hardware should be able to run Unity. As I mentioned, this
> approach is a work in progress as we tweak the experience and effects to
> maximize the performance. We expect this to shake out over the rest of this
> cycle and bleed into 13.04 as well[2][3].
>
> Still, with all the above, there will be systems that are simply too old
> to run Unity. In those cases it would be necessary to either stick with
> 12.04 LTS or run another desktop environment[4].
>
> We want this transition to go as smoothly as possible and are working on
> supporting as much hardware as we reasonably can. Hopefully we should have
> most of the wrinkles worked out by 12.10 release with just a little
> hangover for 13.04.
>
> Thank you,
> Jason
> Ubuntu Desktop Manager
>
> [1] - Unity will run on GPUs with support for OpenGL 2.0
> The earliest GPUs meeting this requirement are at least 5 years old
> Intel i915
> NVIDIA GeForce 5200FX and up (5200, 6xxx, 9xxx, xxxGT(X/S))
> ATI Radeon 9000 and up, maybe earlier (9000, X1xxx, HDxxxx)
>
> By chip series rather than model series:
> Intel: i915
> ATI: R300 chip series
> Nvidia: NV30 chip series
>
> [2] - We know Unity is showing some graphical corruption inside a VM. Work
> to correct this has been done but not landed yet.
>
> [3] - We know Unity won’t work right now on ARM. A solution is being
> worked on and should be ready shortly, hopefully before feature freeze.
>
> [4] -
> http://askubuntu.com/questions/65083/what-different-desktop-environments-and-shells-are-available
> *
> --
> ubuntu-desktop mailing list
> ubuntu-desktop at lists.ubuntu.com
> https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-desktop
>
>
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