Compiz now supports OpenGL ES 2.0
Compiz, the compositing window manager used by Ubuntu's Unity desktop shell, now supports OpenGL ES 2.0 in addition to regular OpenGL. The ES version of OpenGL is mainly used in embedded systems like the Pandaboard – the new feature in Compiz means that these systems can now also run the compositing window manager.
Sam Spilsbury, who is the main developer of Compiz and works for Ubuntu sponsor Canonical, notes in a blog post that the project was "a bit late to the party on this one". The compositing window managers of GNOME and KDE already work with the embedded graphics stack. With the merging of OpenGL ES support into its main code base, Compiz is now closing this gap.
Several Compiz plugins had to be modified significantly to make them work with OpenGL ES and some plugins do not support the stack at all. Spilsbury says that these plugins might be ported if enough users show interest.
Ubuntu 12.10 is slated to use the new version of Compiz. That release is also dropping the Unity 2D environment; however, Compiz uses Llvmpipe to run on systems that do not have dedicated, 3D capable graphics hardware. Together with the newly introduced support for the embedded version of OpenGL, this means that Unity will be able to support a wide array of lower-end systems as well.