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Compiz is one of the oldest compositing window managers for Xorg, and though it has become less popular over time, it still has remarkable performance and a very large featureset. Effects are implemented as loadable plugins, and Compiz can be used as a drop-in replacement for the default window managers and compositors of most other desktops.
Two versions of Compiz are in existence, Compiz 0.9.0 and Compiz 0.8.0. The former is a rewrite of Compiz in C++ and the latter is the continued-development of the C version of Compiz by the Compiz Reloaded project. Both are adequately maintained, but while Ubuntu carries and develops Compiz 0.9, the package in Debian is the Compiz 0.8 "Reloaded" version. The difference between the two is primarily how many plugins are supported, as the 0.9 rewrite had to exclude many of them. Compiz 0.8 is also popularly considered to be faster and more stable.
A regular install of Compiz with the Compizconfig Settings Manager and the default plugin collection can be added simply by installing the compiz package.
More plugins can be found in the compiz-plugins-extra package, and even more plugins (albeit unsupported ones) can be found in the compiz-plugins-experimental package.
The desktop-specific pieces, if you're looking to integrate it into another environment, can be found in the compiz-gnome or compiz-mate packages depending on which you're using.
emerald is a window decorator for Compiz with a custom theme format that is highly customizable. It, in addition to the emerald-themes package, may be interesting to some.
fusion-icon is another useful package that offers a convenient tray icon that allows you to easily enable, disable and restart Compiz, and change the currently used window manager and/or window decorator.
On Debian 11 and newer, the compiz-boxmenu package provides a number of different menus to Compiz. It is composed of a daemon that caches the different menus from various sources, following desktop standards and a number of clients to ask the daemon for a specific type of menu, clients that can be bound to different key-chords and mouse events using the Compizconfig Settings Manager.
Before starting Compiz, it's important to configure it, otherwise it'll be impossible to interact with it. Use the Compizconfig Settings Manager to, at least, activate the Window Decoration, Move Window, Resize Window, Place Window, and Application Switcher plugins.
fusion-icon may be a useful tool for starting and stopping Compiz, however on a default setup, you can start Compiz by running:
And view more options by running:
Default hot keys
- Switch desktops on cube: Ctrl + Alt + Left/Right Arrow
- Switch desktops on cube - with active window following: Ctrl + Shift + Alt + Left/Right Arrow
- Rotate cube manually: Ctrl + Alt + left-click
- Zoom-in once: Super-key + right-click
- Zoom-in manually: Super-key + wheel mouse up
- Zoom-out manually: Super-key + wheel mouse down
- Move window: Alt + left-click
- Slow-motion: Shift + F10
- Transparency: Put mouse cursor over the window then press Alt + wheel mouse down
- Expose effect: Ctrl + Alt + Up Arrow or Point the mouse in top right at screen
- Take screenshot: Super-key + left-click drag
Information regarding the packaging status of Compiz in Debian should be found on the Compiz-devel page, however the page is currently very out-of-date relative to the package's current state in Debian.