In contrast to GNOME 3’s Gnome Shell, Unity is Ubuntu’s take on the next generation of the desktop. In a previous article I went into detail on to install Gnome Shell in Ubuntu 10.10, now its time to do the same for Unity.
There are a couple options to try unity on 10.10. The somewhat outdated Unity package in the repositories, and the latest daily build of the 2D Unity which lacks hardware acceleration. Unfortunately if you want the latest 3D accelerated version you will have to upgrade to Ubuntu 11.04 Natty.
Install the Older Unity from the Repository
The version of Unity included the the default Ubuntu 10.10 repository is 0.2.46. This is a fairly outdated version but it is easy to install and it will give you a good idea of what to expect when the new version is released for Ubuntu 11.04 Natty.
$ sudo apt-get install unity
Install the Daily Build of 2D Unity
You can also install the low-resource Unity 2D back ported from 11.04. This is the daily build so are getting the bleeding edge developmental version with all the latest features. The only real difference between this version and the normal 3D accelerated version is the lack of 3D eye candy.
To install you need to add the Personal Package Archive (PPA) and install Unity 2D.
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:unity-2d-team/unity-2d-daily
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install unity-qt-default-settings
You can then change your default login session to use Unity instead of Gnome. Go to System > Administration > Login Screen and select Unity. Logout and log back in and enjoy the Unity Desktop.