How-To Geek

Add the 2D Version of the New Unity Interface to Ubuntu 10.10 and 11.04

Is your computer or virtualization software unable to display the new 3D version of the Unity Interface in Ubuntu? Now you can access and enjoy the 2D version with just a little PPA magic added to your system!

To add the new PPA open the Ubuntu Software Center, go to the Edit Menu, and select Software Sources. Access the Other Software Tab in the Software Sources Window and add the first of the PPAs shown below (outlined in red). The second PPA will be automatically added to your system.

Once you have the new PPAs set up, go back to the Ubuntu Software Center and click on the PPA listing for Unity 2D on the left (highlighted with red in the image). Scroll down until you find the listing for “Unity interface for non-accelerated graphics cards – unity-2d” and click Install.

Once that is done you are ready to go to System, Administration, and then select Login Screen in your Ubuntu Menu. Unlock the screen and select Unity 2D as the default session from the drop-down list as shown here. Log out and then back in to start enjoying that Unity 2D goodness!

Here is how things will look when you click on the Ubuntu Menu Icon. Select the category that you would like to start with (such as Web) and get ready to have fun. This definitely looks (and works) awesome!

Enjoy your new Unity 2D Interface!

Unity 2D Packaging PPA [Launchpad]


Special thanks to HTG ETC reader “tslmy” for providing the clue that helped with re-locating the URL for the wallpaper shown in the post here!

Download the Wallpaper Shown in the Screenshots at DesktopNexus (2560*1600 pixels)

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 02/15/11

Comments (20)

  1. robson

    Where I can find that wallpaper?

  2. AsianAngel

    @robson – I am unable to find the exact URL for where I found the image at DesktopNexus so I will send you a copy by e-mail instead. ^_^

  3. robson

    thnq so much :)

  4. AsianAngel

    @robson – You are very welcome. ^_^

  5. Ty

    Can you send the wallpaper my way also. Thanks!

  6. AsianAngel

    @Ty – It will be heading out to you by e-mail in just a few moments. ^_^

  7. Ja5087

    Can I get a copy too?

  8. tslmy

    Hi, AsianAngel, are you Asian? I am.
    Can I follow you on Twitter?

    The girl in the wallpaper is called 四季映姬 in a Japanese game series, Touhou Project.

    BTW, many anime wallpapers are available at

  9. AsianAngel

    @Ja5087 – Sending it out to you right now… ^_^

  10. AnxiousNut

    You’d make readers life easier if you actually simply used “sudo add-apt-repository ppa:unity-2d-team/unity-2d-daily” rather than doing all that you’ve mentioned!

  11. AsianAngel

    @AnxiousNut – I know that many people prefer the command line style for adding PPAs, but this also presents an alternative style of doing the same thing for those who do not like using the command line.

    Also, to be honest I prefer this method over using the command line style and it lets me see a nice list of the PPAs I have added to any particular Ubuntu install I have running at the moment as I add new ones in. ^_^

    That is the great thing about all of this…we can all choose a method that we like best and gets the job done for us. ^_^ Choice is definitely good. ^_^

  12. dragonbite

    I’ve been using Unity 2D for a little while now and it really isn’t bad. Takes a little getting used to, but works well.

    I’m glad to see more graphical methods being described, rather than just the CLI methods. Maybe could have a step-by-step list of commands after the graphical method for people that prefer it?

    Because it can be done without the CLI has been a selling point for Ubuntu. I still get people that lament Linux because you have to use the command line and I love their expression when I tell them “I have everything working in Ubuntu and I have never been REQUIRED to go to the command line.” (I do sometimes out of preference, but I am not required which is the difference).

    Keep up the good posts!


  13. AsianAngel

    @dragonbite – Glad to know that you are liking the graphical method style presented in these articles. ^_^

    Actually I have been wondering about adding a command line section with the required commands at the end of these posts but had not come to a decision until now. Going forward that is something that I will do so that those who prefer it can use those. As for me, I am definitely sticking with the graphical UI style. ^_^

    I totally agree with you about the graphical UI method being a selling point. ^_^ Ha ha! I can see those expressions in my mind right now…I can remember feeling the same exact way when I first started out. ^_^ That is awesome that you can share that with them and help them to feel encouraged to try Ubuntu out too. ^_^

    Thanks for the wonderful support and comment! ^_^ I will certainly do my best to keep bringing fun and useful stuff to people here. ^_^

  14. inawarminister

    Weehee, thanks, I’ll try this in my netbook.
    Also, awesome wallpaper.

    (Her name is Shikieki Yamaxanadu BTW)

  15. AsianAngel

    @tslmy – Thanks for the help on finding the image and the information about it. ^_^ It was very helpful…also thanks for the link the the anime wallpapers page! ^_^

  16. AsianAngel

    @inawarminister – Thanks….I really love this wallpaper too. ^_^ Also thanks for sharing her name. ^_^

  17. inawarminister

    AsianAngel –
    You’re welcome!
    Also, really, really thanks for the article, now typing on my netbook that’s gloriously running Unity 2D! It still have some performance issues (damn single-core Atom!), but yeah

    A quick question though :
    Is there any list of Unity’s keyboard shortcut? Oh, and a FAQ too, mayhaps?

    I accidentally discover that it has an expose- or panorama-style app-switching, but I am trying to deliberately use it by mashing all key combinations that I thought of for the last few hours, but… nothing… Isn’t there a help file somewhere?

  18. AsianAngel

    @inawarminister – That is awesome news! Woohoo! ^_^ You are very welcome and it is so wonderful to know that you are typing away on your netbook while 2D is going. ^_^

    With regards to lists of keyboard shortcuts of any kind all I seemed to find while searching were bug reports, etc. related to broken shortcuts or trying to get them set up. :( :( To be honest I think that with it still being so early in the development phase that no one has any kind of regular documentation layed out for those yet. :(

    I was able to find a FAQ for the regular 3D version of Unity though…

    I know that it is not much, but I do hope that something in the FAQ can turn out to be useful for you…

  19. inawarminister

    AsianAngel –
    Ah… Shame.. :(
    I did manage to show up an expose-style window-management once, though…
    Oh well, at least it’s good for a netbook UI… But will probably use regular GNOME too now, I think…
    Then, could I request that you make an article when a keyboard-shortcut / trackpad-swipe functions for Unity has been released, please? :D

  20. AsianAngel

    @inawarminister – I will certainly keep my eyes open for such a list…it would be so nice to have for all of us! ^_^

    After using it for a bit I could see myself liking Unity for desktop use too. ^_^

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