Speeding Up Unity On Ubuntu With ATI Cards

I use Ubuntu 12.10 with Unity and I run a mid range ATI 5000 series GPU. Performance was surprisingly good in 12.10 after a fresh install (upgrade made performance horrible) but while playing Flash/HTML5 video things slowed down considerably, and using Super + W (expose) was much slower.

I searched around for some quick tips and found two that have apparently improved things significantly.

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Then go to the CCSM and the OpenGL plugin and disable “Sync to Vblank”.

Go back to CCSM and then the Composite plugin. This time disable the “Check refresh rate”.

Expose is now much quicker/ smoother. Noticeably so – even while I’m playing video in Chrome. The difference is like night and day – I can reload pages/ tabs alongside the video and move windows around and it’s all smooth.

Make sure you’re on the latest ATI drivers. Due to Valve pushing for better Linux drivers the most recent versions (12.8/12.9) feature vastly improved performance.

Mark Shuttleworth Talks About UI – Unity, Metro

This is a long article and it’s worth reading the whole thing. I just want to point out one tiny little piece that, after using Windows 8 since public release, I’ve found to be really true.

[In Windows 8] you have this shiny tablet interface, and you sit and you use  then you press the wrong button then it slaps you in the face and Windows 7 is back. And then you think OK, this is familiar, so you’re kind of getting into it and whack [Windows 8 is back].”

 This is exactly the situation I was in. I loved the new Windows 7’y metro style interface but all of a sudden I’d be in some full screen application. And then back and forth.

Chris Pirillos Dad Using Windows 8 / Ubuntu 12.04 / OSX For The First Time

Windows 8



Ubuntu 12


He does pretty well with Unity, he definitely likes the workspace switcher if he could figure it out. he gets right away how to launch programs and switch between workspace and hsi desktop UI.

Windows 8 he’s completely lost.