Thursday, February 24, 2011

Compiz on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

Ever wanted desktop effects for free that would put a computer running OSX or Windows to shame? Well, look no further than Compiz. Compiz is a windows manager for the X Windows System that can use graphics hardware for extra power. Besides the fact that it has some really awesome affects, one of its best points is that it works by loading plugins. This lets the user pick and choose what features they want loaded at any given time. I'm going to show you how to install and configure Compiz on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, although the same process works on most other versions. Lets get started.

Step 1: Download and Install

The first thing you need to do is get the package. This can be done through the software repositories, or by compiling the source code if you're feeling brave enough.

Method 1: apt-get

1. Open up the terminal, and type:

sudo apt-get install compiz compizconfig-settings-manager

This will download and install the Compiz core along with an easy to use settings manager. Easy, right?

Method 2: Synaptic

1. Open System>Administration>Synaptic Package Manager
2. Search for "compiz"
3. Check the "compiz" and "compizconfig-settings-manager" packages, and install them.

Step 2: Configure

So here all we're going to be doing is using the settings manager we installed to start configuring Compiz.

1. Open System>Preferences>Compizconfig Settings Manager
2. The settings manager will show you all the different options you can configure. One of my favorites is the Desktop Cube. In order to select this, click on "Effects" on the left hand side. Click on "Desktop Cube" to see the options, and check the box to enable it. You have several options, including adding images to the background of the cube, setting images to the top/bottom of the cube, spin speed, size, and even being able to be inside the cube. You should also enable "Rotate Cube" for the full effect.
3. Thats it! Enjoy all the cool options with Compiz.

Desktop Cube with  Skydome image


  1. Compiz FTW!

    By april Ubuntu 11.04 should come out and as it seems - next gen gnome shell is going to come out as well. So, Unity and/or new shell is going to take over.((

  2. I heard about the whole Unity thing! I have to say, so far I'm not a big fan. I'd rather stick with GNOME over Unity and just use Compiz Fusion.

    I am a little afraid though, Ubuntu seems to be moving in a direction that I'm not sure I like. It's becoming almost too user friendly, if you know what I mean. I fear they may start sacrificing the power to modify it the way you want for an easy to use interface, so that it can more directly rival Windows.


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