Compiz-Fusion On Ubuntu 7.10 “Gutsy Gibbin”

By | 2007/10/04

I’ve been playing around with Compiz-Fusion on my Macbook over the past week or so and realize it could make a good topic for a tutorial. The problem is that it took me *zero* configuration to get it going. While this is good and a great boost for Desktop users everywhere I don’t really have much to share with the wide-world on setting it up.

What I do have to share however are the key shortcuts and settings that I like to use.

Install Compiz Config Settings Manager

To customize your configuration you’ll want to install the compiz config settings manager tool. You can use your favorite package manager front-end or the command line to install:

sudo aptitude install compizconfig-settings-manager

This will add an entry to your System > Preferences menu listed as “Advanced Desktop Effects Settings”.

Make sure that you have “extra effects” turned on by navigating to System > Preferences > Appearance, selecting the Visual Effects tab, and selecting Custom at the bottom. Clicking the Preferences button will also launch the Compiz Config Settings Manager.

Configuration / Shortcuts

The settings that I like include:

  • rotate cube
  • desktop cube
  • cube caps
  • expo (must have!)
  • wobbly windows
  • water effect
  • group and tab windows
  • shift switcher

Once you have these selected you’ll be interested in the keyboard shortcuts to use them listed below:

  • rotate cube : ctrl-alt-arrow or ctrl-alt-left-click and drag
  • expo : super (windows button)-e
  • water effects : shift-f9 (toggle)
  • group and tab : select window with super-s, group with super-t, ungroup with super-u
  • shift switcher : super-tab

While the cube is fun to look at I don’t think it provides any more functionality than standard virtual desktops. Expo on the other hand I think does add functionality by letting you lay out your displays to see the bigger picture, and reorganize windows as needed. group and tab is difficult to explain but this does add a good deal of functionality and organization to applications that may be related. this is a very cool feature. I also just prefer the shift switcher vs normal alt-tab look.

What are your favourite effects? What other shortcuts do you suggest?

UPDATE: For those still having issues getting Compiz working properly see my Compiz-Check and EnvyNG Configuration Tips post.

68 thoughts on “Compiz-Fusion On Ubuntu 7.10 “Gutsy Gibbin”

  1. Jeff Schroeder

    Hold down Super and drag a box to select windows for the group plugin. You will know it is for the group plugin if it is a black box. Some people prefer this over Super s to select windows.

    To those who don’t know, Super = windows key.

  2. Jim

    Thanks for this! Just upgraded to 7.10 and was wondering how to config all this!!

  3. Lane

    At last! Some instruction on what keys to use to make Compiz do its tricks! There are plenty of posts telling how to install it and change the settings. But I’ve never seen a complete list of how to switch things on and off after you have it configged.

  4. LT

    I find the full screen wobble a bit scary to look at. It’s like it’s trying to jump out of the screen. Otherwise compiz is looking quite nice, I’ve started using it by default again. Still some minor problems, but I can play games while having it on. Which is a must for me personally. Had to switch it off before playing a game in older builds.

  5. Henrik Pauli

    I just installed it for the first time today and I liked it — for the most part. I changed the cube’s shortcuts to use Super instead of Ctrl+Alt, but otherwise it’s the same. I use the cube, fading windows, expo, and the shade? that exposé-like thing. Whatever its name is. I put that on Super+Tab.

    It’s surprisingly fast on my Ati 9600 (RV350) card with the free drivers — in the mean time KDE3’s kwin is utterly sluggish (then again, it was never designed with compositing in mind — I wanted to try KDE4 kwin, but it’s not in the packages).

    My problems with compiz now are related to the graphics card (translucent things are often some random videoRAM data vomited on the screen), and part features: I love the way kwin windows snap to each other as well as the screen, and I couldn’t make inactive windows translucent in compiz. Also, I wonder if it comes with its own windecor or can only show whatever decoration I have set in kwin and hope for the best?

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  8. trannypunk

    Sweet! Thanks for the info!

  9. Sindre Røkenes Myren

    Favorite shortcuts:
    Here are a short description abouth how I like to set up the shortcut-keys:

    I have wroten an entiare documet on this, but the basics is simple. I give the basic modifier-buttons difftrent tasks.

    Win: Controls the workspace/Desktop (i.e Rotate cube, show desktop)
    Alt: Controls the windows
    Ctrl: In-program actions..

    You can Extend the Logic:
    Win + Alt: Operations that include both workspace and windows (i.e move window to new workspace).

    With this basics one can create good and logical shortcuts that makes it possible to wark faster.

    I have also tried experimental logics for the keys one can combine with the modifier keys:
    Alt + Insert – Brings up the run-menu
    Alt + Delete – Terminates the window
    Win + Menu – Brings up the mainmenu
    Alt + Enter – Maximate
    Alt + Control + Enter – Full screen

    These are logical, and easy to learn, but some of them require more hands then the old one (Alt + F2 is easier to click than Alt + Insert)

  10. Muscar

    I can’t rotate the cube, i press Ctrl – Alt and i klick left mouse button and drag but nothing hapend

  11. Taxman

    I echo Muscar’s issue…any help

  12. the_who

    i cant rotate but my workspace desktop only 2…i can’t add to 4…so its not a cube but a paper 🙁

  13. john

    i am not able to rotate the cube either..everything seems to work fine..any suggestions?

  14. Fernando

    Impossible to check the “extra effects”. Reverts to none. Desktop effects could not be enabled. help?

  15. leoftw

    [quote]i cant rotate but my workspace desktop only 2…i can’t add to 4…so its not a cube but a paper :([/quote]

    Right click on the workspace columns on the bottom and add more workspaces 🙂

  16. MaurizioDW

    Hi, thanks for your tutorial,but I have a different problem…well,I’ve just installed the last version of Ubuntu(the Gutsy Gibbin) where Compiz Fusion is already on,but it doesn’t run.ok there’s no problem.I tried to check where was my fault,and so I tried to change the Visual Effects tab from “None” to “Custom” but I couldn’t did it!!!I have a Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3110 as graphics card but I don’t think is it the problem…or not?Can you help me?

  17. Cushie

    Many thanks to ´Envy´ for at last setting up my graphics card with all the correct drivers, kernels and setting, brilliant!

    So Compiz Fusion selected with the recommended options, managed to add more desktops to make 4 total but like others I don´t get more than 2 sides showing rather than a cube. There must me a setting missing somewhere. ( I did have it once before on an earlier version) Any help to suggest some additional setting or configuration welcome.

  18. manoj

    i am not able to apply compiz fusion, it is not listed in visual effects tab

  19. Slot

    I dont have the super key, because Im sitting on an IBM Thinkpad. What do I do?

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  21. Todd

    Well done. I was configuring my eye candy when I stumbled across your entry, it was instrumental to my success! Many thanks!

  22. Nilesh

    Don’t forget Super + scroll on touchpad = instant zoom !! Absolutely adore this feature 🙂

  23. Rick

    Something extra is that, unlike Beryl/Ubuntu FF, now Compiz-Fusion on Ubuntu GG can use two video cards. In my case one built-in (Nvidia) and a separate PCI Nvidia card.
    After installing Envy I used the new ‘Nvidia Setting’ app to make the necessary changes to /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    Each monitor (1 per card) will display a cube, or what ever number of faces I want.
    The only problem I have is that on one of the cards Emerald is not working (no windows decorator)

  24. Charlie Tame

    I found that I needed more than the settings manager above…

    If I ran from a terminal “Compiz” it was okay until I left that terminal and then the window decorations vanished leaving only bare windows and nothing to drag with… solution place the command “compiz” in Preferences>sessions but be careful to just add that and nothing else as the sessions thing gets confused easily. Had to do something similar with feisty and beryl.

    No guarantees since I do not know why this works but it does for me with NVidia 7600 and 7950 so hope it gives someone a clue if stuck. I have found you can add things to start here but it can be the devil’s own job to remove them again, they simply don;t go away, so like I said be careful.

  25. Martin

    In order to have more than the default 2 workspaces, switch of visual effects to none.
    Next add as many workspaces as you want.
    Then activate visual effects and you have an awesome cube!

  26. Chris

    Thanks for the help with 2 workspaces Martin, it worked a treat.

  27. Pachopepe

    [quote]i cant rotate but my workspace desktop only 2…i can’t add to 4…so its not a cube but a paper :([/quote]

    To add more workspaces use the “general options” on the “Advanced Desktop Effects Settings” (how to install it, explained before) and go to the tab “Desktop Size”

    The options for the cube are:
    Horizontal Virtual Size = 4
    Vertical Virtual Size = 2
    Number of Desktops = 4

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  29. bharath

    i am having computer amd 64 x2 dual core processor with 1gb ram and via s3g unichrome pro ipg 64 mb graphic card.. can my system support 3d features of ubantu 7.10.if yes please tell me how to configure it.

  30. vaibhav

    Well I have tried to install compiz configuration manager and I did that as you said but I am not getting any CUSTOM option in preference>visual effects as there are only 3 options available 1.none 2.normal 3.extra

    Please tell me what I am doing wrong and why it is not working?


  31. VICK

    Hey guys
    as much as i love the 3D i do miss the ability to rename my desktops
    when the 3d is disabled i can call it what ever i want but seems to go away when i enable 3d
    any thoughts??

  32. Randy Nelson

    I’ve looked around a little bit, but I lost the minimize/maximize/close bar at the top when I start compiz from the system<preferences<appearances.
    so any pointers?

  33. Jit

    Hi Guys:

    So I got another Gutsynoob question. I can get the cube to rotate left and right. But can you also rotate up and down, or is that just wishful thinking on my part?


  34. Tomb

    Another Compiz tip for everyone.

    If you’re using two monitors (I’m using the nVidia driver, BTW), running compiz on both monitors will cause one of them to loose the window frame completely. My solution was to use compiz only on one monitor by running the following script without compiz running at all on the computer. Run this from the monitor you want to run compiz on:

    sleep 5
    compiz –replace –only-current-screen &
    gtk-window-decorator –replace &

  35. Venkat

    I installed gutsy recently and was trying to set up the cube. I just wanted to have a look at it but I could never get it. I use Nvidia 128 MB Geforce 8400M as my graphics card. I can get all other effects like wobbly windows, rotating the workspaces but cant see the cube.

    Any suggestions?

  36. WackyDucky

    will compiz fusion work on Intel 82865G graphics card in a 865 motherboard set?

  37. new generation

    Hi i’m new to this linux thing and all so please excuse horribly wrong verbal usage. I was able to apply extra desktop effects on my system, but was not able to get the desktop cube and water effects. I notice many people are having the same problem. When i use the keys it’ll will pull me to another workspace but do it the conventional way.
    Any suggestions?

  38. pfeels


  39. xavas

    Wow!! I’m a newby in linux, and that was just too simple!!!

    thank u!

  40. Daniel

    THANK YOU, I’ve been tring for 2 days to get this, i wish i would had tried this tut in the first place

  41. samir

    doesn’t work, i get this :
    Impossible to find a package with the name « compizconfig-settings-manager »
    and also I am not getting any CUSTOM option in preference>visual effects as there are only 3 options available 1.none 2.normal 3.extra

  42. Soleone

    you need absolutely need the package “compizconfig-settings-manager”!

    my guess would be that you need to to update the url of the package repository. i don’t know where to do this, but maye try to search in google for: “apt-get repository url update”

  43. Chris H

    Instead of Caps is there a way to put a desktop on the top and bottom of the cube?

  44. admin Post author

    @Chris H – currently we don’t have that ability, no. It would be kind of nice though..

  45. Rob

    How do I get the CUBE on my DESKTOP Ijust installed Ubuntu 7.10 and I am lost from here. some help anyone?

  46. Yogesh

    I am getting the following error while running the “sudo aptitude install compizconfig-settings-manager”

    Couldn’t find any package whose name or description matched “compizconfig-settings-manager”
    No packages will be installed, upgraded, or removed.

  47. James

    Great tutorial – thank you.

    One question – in the youtube demos the cube shrinks into the background and appears a lot smaller than the screen and gets moved around inside the screen and are smaller than it like in expo which is very neat itself. I can’t find information on this or the settings though I didn’t look too hard. My screen and cube are the same size all the time and I’d like to know if it’s possible to do it like in the demos.

    Still, it’s very cool the way it is.

  48. James

    Got it! A zoom setting on the Rotate Cube plugin in Advanced Settings.

    I love how the concept behind this is to stimulate tired minds. It’s lovely!!

  49. kevin

    I need help i installed and so bu if i go to System > Preferences > CompizConfig Settings manager and click on it nothing happens.
    I’m new to Ubuntu so please help me 🙂

  50. kevin

    LOL i F*cked up my ubuntu xD thats why it didn’t work but now i reinstalled it and everything works :THX

  51. andres

    this is awesome.
    wnd day on linux and i can do this!
    will upgrade my vaio tx from vista to gutsy gibbon!
    thanks all, especially martin

  52. Seth

    I musta missed something.. I’m rather new to Unbuntu and Compiz after running the installs I’m stuck at the same 2 window problem. I can’t seem to find the “switch of visual effect = none”.. Can someone please provide the location on this feature/option?

    Thanks in advance.

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  54. Logan Houp

    When I try to turn on visual effects in System>Preferences> Appearance it gives me an error saying “The composite extension is not available” Although I got the compiz control panel installed and configured fine

  55. gunnar-eee

    Thanks Nilesh on October 30th, 2007 6:42 am

    for the “Home + mouse scroll” Zoom tip, wonderful !

  56. rajuhd

    when i made my desktop settings to custom the graphics of compiz works but when i open any folder or application im not able to get close button, minimize, maximize for every application i m not able to find the problem……….
    plz anyone of u help me out for this problem

    thanking you

  57. Harpal Dhillon

    Thanks for this tutorial, successfully configured compiz on my Ubuntu 64 box.

  58. godfather

    hi guy i have a computer with 702 mb ram celeron 2.79 ghz 64 mb via/s3g display driver
    i have downloaded many games but games doesnot runs i waste much time so plz bro if u help me
    i will very thankful of u r
    plz give me the list of all games which is comptiable with my system and run easily
    plz helppppp

  59. Devin

    Hey, do you know how to adjust the size of all windows so that they are evenly distributed. And i dont mean to select but so that it actually changes the sizes and then when you click on a window it doesnt just zoom to that screen.

  60. leftminor

    thank you. was searching for shortcuts explanation. especially the super key.

  61. Garmoth

    I don’t think I had seen the following shortcut that shows the cube rotating from left to right, and up and down. Click the middle rolling button in your mouse (make sure that your mouse is on the background desktop, and not in any other window), move your mouse from left to right, up and down; the cube rotates as you do the motion. If you want to stay in a certain workstation; just release the button, and bingo!!!

    Now, here is one of my own questions. I’m had seen the pointer encircle in what appears to be fire or smog, does any one know how to access this feature?


  62. Tapas Mishra

    My cube caps are not coming what should I do which short cut etc.Ubuntu 9.04

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