Cheap VPS & Xen Server

Residential Proxy Network - Hourly & Monthly Packages

Enabling Compiz On Xubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot)

This tutorial shows how you can enable Compiz on a Xubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) desktop (the system must have a 3D-capable graphics card – I’m using an NVIDIA GeForce 8200 here). Xubuntu uses the Xfce desktop environment which is a fast and stable alternative for those that are not happy with Unity or Gnome 3. With Compiz you can use beautiful 3D effects like wobbly windows or a desktop cube on your desktop.

This document comes without warranty of any kind! I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

I have tried this on a desktop computer with an NVIDIA GeForce 8200. It should work the same way with all other NVIDIA graphics cards.

Your system might tell you that additional drivers (e.g. the proprietary NVIDIA drivers) are available for installation, but normally you don’t need these. If you use an NVIDIA card, the nouveau driver should already be installed and work fine.


2 Installing CompizConfig Settings Manager And Some Extra Compiz Plugins

Open the Synaptic Package Manager (System > Synaptic Package Manager):


Select the following packages:

  • compiz
  • compiz-core
  • compiz-plugins
  • compiz-fusion-plugins-main
  • compiz-fusion-plugins-extra
  • compizconfig-settings-manager

…and click on the Apply button to install them:


3 Starting Compiz

Open a terminal (Accessories > Terminal Emulator)…


… and run

compiz –replace ccp

… to start Compiz.


4 Configuring Compiz

Next we must configure the Compiz effects that we want to use. We can do this with the CompizConfig Settings Manager (Settings > CompizConfig Settings Manager):


In the CompizConfig Settings Manager, go to the General section and click on the General Options button:


Now go to the Desktop Size tab and change the settings from 2/2/1 to 4/1/1 (Horizontal Virtual Size: 4; Vertical Virtual Size: 1; Number of Desktops: 1) and click on the Back button:


Back in the General section, make sure that Composite, Gnome Compatibility, and OpenGL are still enabled:


Now you can enable all the effects you want. These are the settings I use:



Click on the Close button to leave the CompizConfig Settings Manager after you’ve made your configurations.

5 Keyboard Shortcuts

Here’s a list of the most common Compiz keyboard shortcuts. If they work for you depends on what effects you enabled in the CompizConfig Settings Manager.

SUPER+SHIFT+C = clear fire
CTRL+ALT+LEFT ARROW = rotate cube
CTRL+ALT+DOWN ARROW = flat desktop
SHIFT+ALT+UP = initiate window picker
CTRL+ALT+DOWN = unfold cube
ALT+TAB = window switch
SUPER+TAB = flip switcher or ring switcher, depending on which is enabled.
ALT+F7 = initiate ‘move windows’
SHIFT+F9 = water effect
SHIFT+F10 = slow animations
CTRL+ALT+D = show desktop

For Grouping and Tabbing:
SUPER+S = select single window
SUPER+T = tab group
SUPER+Left = change left tab
SUPER+Right = change right tab
SUPER+G = group windows
SUPER+U = ungroup windows
SUPER+R = remove group window
SUPER+C = close group
SUPER+X = ignore group
Hold the SUPER button then select the windows you want to group and then hit SUPER+G.

The SUPER key is the Windows key on most keyboards.


6 Some Screenshots

Here are some screenshots of Compiz in action:


The above desktop cylinder works only if you have enabled Cube Reflection and Deformation in the Effects section in the CompizConfig Settings Manager. If this plugin is not enabled, you will see the desktop cube instead:



7 Make Compiz Start Automatically

A few extra steps are needed if you want to make Compiz start automatically when you start a desktop session (remember, we have started Compiz manually in chapter 3). Start the Xfce4 Settings Manager from the bottom panel:


Then go to Session and Startup:


Select the Application Autostart tab. There, click on the Add button:


In the Add application dialogue, fill in a name (e.g. Compiz); the Description field is optional. In the Command field, please fill in the following command:

compiz –replace ccp

Then click on OK:


That’s it! Compiz will be started automatically whenever you start a new desktop session.


  • Compiz:
  • Xubuntu:
  • Xfce: