Some questions about the switch to Unity in 11.04

Rashkae ubuntu at
Thu Oct 28 04:42:40 UTC 2010

On 10-10-28 12:25 AM, Anthony Papillion wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> So I've finally, through lots of therapy, accepted that Canonical has
> ditched GNOME Shell and will run Unity instead as of the 11.04 release.
> But I've been hearing some conflicting things that I'm wondering if any
> of you can clarify:
Sorry, I did not save links to the official Ubuntu discussions on the 
topic.   Please try not to read too much in the press releases, they are 
horribly short on useful information.  I am, however, paraphrasing from 

> 1. Does running Unity really mean I will not be able to trade out my
> desktops? What happens if I don't like it and want to use XFCE instead?
> Someone said, because of the tight Mutter connection, I won't be able to.

This makes no sense whatsoever.  The choice of default desktop has no 
effect on any other desktops... XFCE, KDE, LXDE, all are still firmly in 
place, and you are free to install as any as you want to use whichever 
you want.  Besides, Canonical is acutally going to use Compiz as the new 
window manager, not Mutter.

> 2. What kind of performance hit can we reasonably expect? I'm running
> older hardware (1.6Ghz dual core AMD Sempron with 3GB memory). Will I
> need to abandon Ubuntu or will my hardware man up and make it?

The performance of the new compositing desktops will be more dependent 
on your graphic card (which you have not specified).. your cpu and 
especially, that large chunk of memory are more than sufficient for 
current and future generations of Ubuntu.  However, if your graphic 
chipset/drivers can not handle a OpenGL desktop (more on that below,) 
then you will have to use a previous generation desktop.  In the next 
version of Ubiquity (being created now for Natty,) Ubuntu is going to 
use the Compiz window manager, which is able to degrade features based 
on what the chipset supports. Finally if the chipset simply can't handle 
the graphic engine, the desktop falls back to the classic gnome we all 
know and love.  I'm presuming this will also be an option to choose 
(same as we are now able to turn off desktop effects, even though they 
are enabled by default.)
> 3. Is this a test run for Unity on the desktop or is this the final
> decision? Has Canonical decided GNOME is out?

Gnome is not out.  Ubiquity is a shell that runs over gnome to make it 
easier to use.  Ubuntu has clearly stated that will continue to provide 
gnome-shell packages and a PPA for the latest builds.  It simply will 
not be the default desktop on install.  (And having tested gnome-shell, 
all I can say is, thank god for that.  What a disaster.)

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