Ubuntu 11.10 will by default start the new Unity desktop which requires that your hardware supports 3D acceleration, however you can also switch to Unity 2D mode in the log on screen. If your hardware does not support 3D acceleration or you don't like Unity, you can still download the Ubuntu Classic GNOME desktop, what I will do later in this tutorial.
I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!The Perfect Desktop - Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot)