November 15, 2013

How To Set Up Compiz In Xubuntu 12.10 Or 12.04

Posted: 01 Nov 2012 07:54 AM PDT
xubuntu compiz

This article shows how to set up Compiz in Xubuntu (w/ Xfce) 12.10 or 12.04. I've tested the instructions below on Xubuntu 12.10, but they should work on Xubuntu 12.04 as well - there are some minor differences which I've explained below.

Before proceeding, please note that to be able to use Compiz, you'll obviously need a 3D capable graphics card and drivers.

Let's get started!

How to use Compiz in Xubuntu (w/ Xfce) 12.10 or 12.04

1. Install Compiz, the main Compiz plugins and CompizConfig Settings Manager:
sudo apt-get install compiz compiz-plugins compizconfig-settings-manager

2. You'll also need a tool to change the window titlebar theme (since Metacity will be used). I suggest Unsettings since it has a nice UI and doesn't depend on GNOME packages like GNOME Tweak Tool, but you can also do this with dconf-editor in Ubuntu 12.10 (or gconf-editor in Ubuntu 12.04).

To keep things light and without the need to add any PPAs, we'll use dconf-editor / gconf-editor in the steps below.

For Ubuntu 12.10, install dconf-tools:
sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

xubuntu compiz

Then press ALT + F2 and run: "dconf-editor", navigate to org > gnome > desktop > vm > preferences and change the "theme" value from "Adwaita" to "Greybird". Remember this because in the same place you can also change the window button layout, among others.

For Ubuntu 12.04, install gconf-editor:
sudo apt-get install gconf-editor

xubuntu compiz

Then press ALT + F2 and run: "gconf-editor", navigate to apps > metacity > general and set the "theme" value to "Greybird" (assuming that Graybird theme is installed - and it should since it's the default theme).

Whenever you want to change the Xubuntu window theme, you'll have to use dconf-editor / gconf-editor like explained above.

3. Some Compiz plugins MUST be enabled before running Compiz:

Open CompizConfig Settings Manager via Xubuntu's Settings Manager and activate the following plugins (without these plugins enabled, Compiz won't work properly): Composite, Gnome Compatibility, OpenGL, Window Decoration, Move Window, Resize Window, Place Windows.

xubuntu compiz

I also suggest enabling these plugins: Expo, Desktop Wall (or Cube), Application Switcher (or Static Application Switcher / Ring Swithcher), Grid and of course, enable any other plugins you like (don't enable the Unity plugin though!).

You can enable/disable more plugins later on, but the important part is to enable the plugins required for Compiz to work properly, which I've mentioned above, before running Compiz for the first time.

4. Let's start Compiz using the following command:
compiz --replace

5. Add Compiz to Xubuntu startup applications:

At this point, Compiz is up and running but it won't be used after a system restart. So if you're satisfied with it, add it start when you login to your Xubuntu session: open Settings Manager > Session and Startup and on the Application Autostart tab, click "Add", under "Name" enter "Compiz" and under "Command", enter "compiz --replace" (both without quotes). You can leave the description field empty.

xubuntu compiz

This isn't the best way to start Compiz, but I couldn't figure out how to properly add it to the Xubuntu session. If you know how to do this, let us know in the comments.

If later on you don't want to use Compiz any more, simply remove Compiz from Settings Manager > Session and Startup > Applications Autostart tab, then log out and log back in.