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A short introduction about Compiz

From Wikipedia:

"Compiz is one of the first compositing window managers for the X Window System that is able to take advantage of OpenGL-acceleration. The integration allows it to perform compositing effects in window management, such as a minimization effect and a cube workspace. Compiz conforms to the ICCCM standard and as such can substitute for the default Metacity in GNOME or KWin in KDE. Compiz brings some of the features found in competitors, such as Exposé in Apple's Mac OS X and a new Alt-Tab application-switcher, similar to the one found in Microsoft's Windows Vista. Compiz is built on the Composite extension to X and the GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap extension to OpenGL. Compiz was released by Novell in January 2006 in the wake of a new Xgl version."

How to install Compiz on Debian 6.0 "Squeeze"

To install a standard gnome based compiz setup with some standard fusion plugins:

# apt-get install compiz compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-fusion-plugins-main compiz-gnome compiz-gtk

To install a standard kde-based compiz setup with some standard fusion plugins:

# apt-get install compiz-kde compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-fusion-plugins-main

To install a minimal gtk-based compiz setup:

# apt-get install compiz-gtk compizconfig-settings-manager

In order to use compiz add the following options to the corresponding sections in the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf: (note that auto-detection by xserver-xorg video drivers is always improving: with the latest version of the intel video driver, possibly no manual changes are needed to xorg.conf)

# Dedicated "Extensions" section (may not be present already)
Section "Extensions"
        Option "Composite" "enable"
EndSection
# Section "Device" of you graphic card
Section "Device"
        # Already contains
        # ...
        # Identifier "..."
        # Driver     "..."
        # ...
        # Add this option :
        Option "XAANoOffscreenPixmaps" "true"
EndSection

Nvidia users may also need:

Section "Device"
        Option "AllowGLXWithComposite" "true"
EndSection
Section "Screen"
        Option "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "true"
EndSection
Section "Module"
        #Load "dri"
        #Load "GLcore"
EndSection

Restart your X.org server and login into GNOME. Open a terminal and issue the following command:

compiz --replace

If everything is correct you will be able to use all compiz resources.

You may use the CompizConfig Settings Manager to enable effects and configure keybinding (run ccsm from a terminal, or System -> Preferences -> CompizConfig Settings Manager).

Start compiz instead of the default Gnome Window Manager

Change the gconf key with

gconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/gnome/session/required_components/windowmanager compiz

You can go back to the default Gnome Metacity window manager with

gconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/gnome/session/required_components/windowmanager gnome-wm

If this fails (as it did for me) You can simply add compiz --replace to your startup applications. Name the entry what you want, give it whatever description you want, but make the command

compiz --replace

Limitations

The water effect uses GL_ARB_fragment_program, which currently does not work properly with the open source ATI drivers under AIGLX in X.org 7.1.

Troubleshooting

When I run compiz --replace, it says that XGL is not present. This message is just informing you that XGL is not present. It is not a requirement to run Compiz.

glxinfo claims that DRI is active, yet software rendering kicks in If you see issues similiar to those in this post, especially when using the proprietary nvidia driver, try to disable the additional options in your xorg.conf, i. e. revert it to

$ cat /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Section "Device"
        Identifier      "Configured Video Device"
        Driver          "nvidia"
EndSection

I've followed the instructions on this page, but when I run compiz, all the windows have lost their borders and title bars. There are no effects, and all the windows seem unusable. Window borders, resizing windows and moving windows are all plugins, which are initially disabled by default. To fix this, run the ccsm utility (from a terminal, or System -> Preferences -> CompizConfig Settings Manager). Go to the Effects Section and place a tick in the window decoration option. Go to the Window Management section and place a tick in the Resize Window and Move Window options.

If you still encounter problems with compiz, such as window title bars disappear, or cannot see any visual effects, refer to these web pages:

If something fails check /var/log/Xorg.0.log and search for possible problems with DRI and GLX. You also should verify if AIGLX was successfully loaded.

Default hot keys