Saturday, January 3, 2009

Run Compiz Fusion on Your Mini 9

Compiz is a compositing window managers for the X Window System that uses 3D graphics hardware to create desktop effects. Compiz Fusion is the result of the re-unification of the Beryl project and the community around the Compiz Window Manager. It seeks to provide an easy and fun-to-use windowing environment, allowing use of the graphics hardware to provide impressive effects, amazing speed and unrivaled usefulness.

Compiz Fusion is the default desktop manager in Ubuntu. After installing Ubuntu on the Dell Mini 9 you will notice some of it's basic features are enabled and running. The degree to which the Mini 9 handles these effects is all subject to opinion. I think it does a nice job but is not as impressive as using a dedicated graphics card or some of the newer intrgrated chipsets. Compiz Fusion is not stable, errors, glitches and crashes are common. The integrated Intel 950 chipset is not designed for high-end graphical effects.

Readers who run Compiz Fusion will find a wonderful windowing environment, but you should go in without the rose colored glasses. You may not be able to get the performance you want when running Compiz's high-end effects.

For those of you who are running Ubuntu Netbook Remix, you will first need to stop maximus and ume-launcher/netbook-launcher from launching at startup and reset the GNOME Display Manager (gdm).

Go to System>Preferences>Sessions
Screenshot-Sessions Preferences
Uncheck maximus and ume-launcher/netbook-launcher

Next you will need to restart the Gnome display manager
My prefered method is to log out by presisng Ctrl+Alt+Backspace

If you removed the Ubuntu menu from your panels when configuring Netbook Remix, you might have problems finding a way to run programs. When you log back in you may have to reconfigure/add the Ubuntu menu to your panel or use Run Application, Alt+F2, to run programs.
Screenshot-Run Application

If you were not running Ubuntu Netbook Remix you can ignore the previous directions. There is not a lot of setup needed to get Compiz-Fusion running on your Mini 9, many of you will have it running by default. If not, you can use one of the follow three methods for starting Compiz and some of these tools for configuring it's settings.

There are some default settings for Compiz, that can be accessed by going to
and selecting the Visual Effects tab.
Screenshot-Appearance Preferences

I use fusion-icon for managing Compiz Fusion.
It is a tray icon that allows me to reload the window manager, switch window managers, select windows decorator, bindings and access the Setting Manager.

To install fusion-icon
In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install fusion-icon
You can find it under System>Preferences>Compiz Fusion Icon

I use CompizConfig Settings Manager to configure the desktop effects.
Screenshot-CompizConfig Settings Manager
This gives you complete control over Compiz Fusion's settings.

To install CompizConfig Settings Manager
In a terminal type:
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
Once installed you can access it through fusion-icon or by going to System>Preferences>CompizConfig Settings Manager

Or you can use the command:
compiz --replace
in Run Appliction (Alt+F2)
to start compiz, use it as your window manager

And can use the command:
metacity --replace
in Run Appliction (Alt+F2)
to switch back to Metacity, the default Gnome window manager

Have a question or problem that this article doesn't cover?
Ask our Ubuntu Mini 9 Google Group for help.


Mac said...

What about using Metacity as the compositing manager?

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't you use Ctrl+Alt+Backspace to log out and not Ctrl+Alt+Del?

redDEAD said...

it's fixed. it is ctrl+alt+Backspace

phoenix said...

i was able to install the compiz fusion icon, but the settings manager doesn't what???

redDEAD said...

If you installed it, it exists. You might need to reboot your system for it to show up.

the command to run fusion-icon is fusion-icon

Anonymous said...

You can make compiz the default WM by setting /desktop/gnome/applications/window_manager/default to /usr/bin/compiz in gconf-editor.

sk said...

Hey red, this is a nice jump from the netbook remix desktop. Have you found any way in Compiz to handle windows without scrollbars that extend beneath the bottom of the mini 9 screen, e.g. the compizconfig windows as well as a lot of others. I'm getting a lot of practice with alt-F8 resizing, but there's got to be an easier way to manage oversize windows. A window rule?

Anonymous said...

How do I uninstall compiz fusion on terminal? Thank you!

Oz said...

Ordered from my Dell guy... partially due to your great blog. Your effort is really appreciated!

Sorry if off topic, did not see a thread on this.

I recently found Remastersys backup. It apparently can create an install disk from your fully configured system, minus any personal files.

So, would it be possible, once we have all these great tweaks in place, compiz, wifi working, bluetooth, updates, patches, etc, to create an ISO to store on a USB drive instead of the vanilla 8.10? Then if I purchase another mini, I can bring it right up to speed with one wipe?

Any thoughts on backup like this?