Ubuntu Unity’s "non-accelerated" sibling Unity 2D has began to play UI catch-up with its older brother.

Now sporting much the same UI as Unity proper, Unity 2D will ensure users of any hardware get to experience Unity as it should be. It won’t be default in Ubuntu 11.04 but it will be easily installable from the Ubuntu Software Centre.

So, to the latest. First stop the Dash. When launched all looks pretty much the same as in Unity proper.

But it now also has the same ‘fold up’ feature (albeit trigged in a slightly different way – note the ‘x’).

A command lense has been added. Unlike Unity desktop this cannot, as of yet, be called via ALT+F2 in Unity 2D. Instead a trigger, which is currently blank, has been added to the launcher. Hit this and the command lense appears.

Whilst we’re talking of the launcher it’s great to see it add a auto-hide/window dodge feature. Unlike Unity 3D you need only to move your mouse to the edge of the screen to reveal the Launcher again.

Sadly one area where Unity 2D doesn’t quite mimic Unity 3D is in theming. No-matter what theme you choose the top panel remains the same colour. Minor quibble, but quibble nonetheless.

Static pictures are great but how does this all look in use? Hit play on the video below to see some of these great new features in action.

Video natty unity2d