The ‘what if my graphics card sucks’ dilemma has been worrying a lot of Ubuntu users pondering the upgrade to Ubuntu 11.04.

Natty’s new desktop experience, Unity, has a base requires a graphics driver capable of providing 3D support.

Or should that be ‘required’?

2D unity

A new 2D implementation of Unity, Ubuntu 11.04’s new default desktop, is to be made available for users without accelerated 3D graphics support.

Canonical’s Bill Filler, who’s been managing the effort, talks on his blog[1] about the effort: –

“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.”

How does the 2D version get around the hardware requirements?

“[Unity 2D 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.

Visually this version is closer to Maverick’s version of Unity than Natty’s.

With 2D versions of Ubuntu’s Netbook Edition having previously been available this makes perfect sense – and will help ensure that as few people as possible miss out on the opportunity to use Ubuntu’s fantastic new desktop user experience.

[1] Unity 2D

Images | Bill Filler

natty Unity