Purpose of this guide
This guide is intended to be a non-technical, beginning point for learning about the cube and effects available in compiz, after which you will be more familiar with compiz and can experiment on your own.
For those who prefer a system with attractive, sparkling desktop effects, this guide explains how to add:
Desktop Cube which makes it easier to use multiple workspaces,
3D Windows which allows the windows that are open to lift up off the screen when the mouse wheel is used to spin the cube,
Rotate Cube which makes the cube spin,
Cube Gears which you can see turn when you spin the cube if you have Transparency enabled. It is a nice effect.
Various other impressive effects, including wobbly windows, window animation, rain and many more.
Remember that desktop effects might slow the system if your computer does not have adequate resources.
Requirements for the cube to work
Your video card must be able to support 3D graphics. You may be able to use the open source Nouveau driver for NVIDIA cards, if not you will need to use the closed source driver. For AMD cards you can use the open source or closed source driver.
The closed source drivers often are available from additional drivers. These drivers are easier for a person with little experience with Ubuntu to install.
Update your system before beginning.
Install CompizConfig Settings Manager
In this guide you will use CompizConfig-Settings-Manager (ccsm) to configure Compiz effects.
If you do not already have ccsm installed you will need to install it now. The package is called "compizconfig-settings-manager". Also install "compiz" and some extra plugins for Compiz, "compiz-fusion-plugins-extra", "compiz-fusion-plugins-main", and "compiz-plugins".
1. You can use the Software Center or Synaptic Package Manager to install ccsm, Compiz and the extra plugins, however it is easier to open a terminal, then copy and paste the following command into it.
sudo apt-get install compiz compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-plugins-extra compiz-plugins-main compiz-plugins
2. After you copy and paste the command it will ask for your user password. Just type it in, be aware that the system will not show the password as you type it so when you are done just hit the enter/return key and the command will be performed.
In Ubuntu there are many plugins, animations and settings that can be adjusted to get great desktop effects and make using your desktop quicker and easier, but only a few of them will be covered after we get the cube working.
Because there are so many plugins, it can be difficult to find the plugin you are looking for. So, in the upper left corner of ccsm there is a filter where you can put in a few letters of the plugin you are looking for and it will find it for you.
Configure Compiz and plugins for cube
1. Right click on the background, then click on "change desktop background" in the window that opens. Click on "visual effects" then choose "extra" and it will attempt to activate desktop effects. In Edubuntu 12.04 there is no visual effects tab so go to step 2.
2. Open ccsm then type "Cube" into the filter. Now put a check mark by the "Desktop Cube" Plugin. You will need to click on "Disable Desktop Wall" in the window that opens.
3. Optionally, one may enable "3D Windows", "Rotate Cube" and "Cube Gears", by ticking the relevant boxes.
4. Click on "general options" at the top of the window, then "Desktop Size" and change Horizontal Virtual Size value to 4, then click on the back button and the cube should be working. The other two settings in this window should be 1.
5. Make sure Move Windows, Resize Windows and Window Decorations are enabled.
6. Enable Viewport Switcher then hold the mouse wheel down and move the mouse around to move the cube.
7. Switch desktops by using Ctrl+Alt+Left/Right arrow keys and spin the cube with Ctrl+Alt+Primary Mouse Button.
Note: If the cube and effects do not start automatically, try to manually start them by hitting ALT+F2 or open a terminal then type:
1. Click on Applications > Settings > CompizConfig Settings Manager and make sure Composite and OpenGL are enabled.
2. Go to Applications > System > Synaptic Package Manager and install Compiz Fusion Icon and compiz gnome.
3. Go to Applications > System > Compiz Fusion Icon. Click on it and a blue icon will appear in the upper right corner of the screen. Right click on the icon, choose Select Window Manager and click on Compiz then Reload Window Manager.
4. Right-click Compiz Fusion Icon, highlight "Select Window Decorator" and click on "GTK Window Decorator" or you will not have the close, maximize, minimize buttons on your windows.
5. Compiz Fusion Icon must be added to the startup so it will run when you boot Xubuntu by going to Applications > Settings > Settings Manager > Session and Startup > Application Autostart > Add. In the window that opens for name type "compiz fusion", for description type "desktop effects" or "cube", then for command type:
Note: You can also right click Compiz Fusion Icon and click on Settings Manager to open ccsm.
6. Before you restart your computer, add compiz to the startup application by clicking Applications > Settings > Settings Manager > Session and Startup > Application Autostart > Add. In the window that opens for name type "compiz", for description type "desktop effects" or "cube", then for command type
1. Go to the Start menu, Click on Applications > Settings > Compiz Settings Manager.
2. Make sure Composite and OpenGL are enabled.
Note: Before you restart your computer compiz needs to be added to the startup applications.
3. Click on the K-Menu > Applications > Settings > System Settings > Startup or Shutdown > Autostart > Add Program. Type "ccsm" in the little drop down window then click ok. In the window that opens click on applications, for command type:
Click ok, now reboot and compiz should start automatically.
1. To open the terminal, click on Menu > Accessories > LXTerminal.
2. Menu > Preferences > Desktop Session Settings. In the window that opens click on "Advanced Options", in the box that says Window Manager remove openbox-lxde and type compiz ccp, then click ok.
3. Click on the Start Menu > System Tools > Synaptic Package Manager, then install Compiz Fusion icon.
4. Make sure Composite and OpenGL are enabled.
5. You need to add two more desktops by holding down the mouse wheel while the cursor is on the background then click add desktop.
6. Click on the Start Menu > System Tools > Compiz Fusion icon a blue icon will appear in the panel on the lower left hand side of the screen, right click on the icon choose Select Window Manager and click on Compiz then Reload Window Manager.
7. Before you restart your computer check and make sure all setting are working properly.
How to add compiz and compiz fusion icon to startup
8. Click on Start Menu > Accessories > LXTerminal. Copy and paste the following command into the terminal:
gksudo leafpad /etc/xdg/lxsession/Lubuntu/autostart
In the window that opens type your user password.
9. Now you are in the Autostart file, add:
@compiz --replace @fusion-icon
below the last entry, and reboot.
Extra Settings in Desktop Cube Plugin
1. In Desktop Cube Plugin you can change the color of the Cube Caps. The picture need to be png, jpg or svg format. Click on "Appearance" at the top of the window, the first option is to change the top and bottom color of the Cube.
2. The Skydome is a background for the virtual space in which the cube is located (it can be seen when the cube is zoomed out, like when it is being rotated with the mouse). Click on "Skydome" in that window and you can set an image for Skydome, select "Render Skydome" and "Animate Skydome" for a very nice background and effect when you rotate the Cube.
Bind Plugins To The Corner Of The Screen
Expo Plugin In Desktop
1. Enable "Expo Plugin" and choose the top right corner in the "Bindings Tab" under "Expo Edge" then Click Ok. Now all virtual desktops can be displayed when you move your cursor to the top right corner of the screen.
Scale Plugin In Window Management
The Scale Plugin lets you display all active windows at the same time when you move your cursor to the corner of the screen that you set it to use.
2. Enable "Scale Plugin" by clicking on it. Under "Bindings" tab click on the one that says "Initiate Window Picker For All Windows" and choose the top left corner.
Note: Now all active windows can be displayed at once when you move your cursor to the top left corner of the screen, in the next portion of this guide I will show you how to setup effects like "Burn", "Airplane" and a few others.
Compiz Animations In Effects
1. Put a check by "Animations" and "Animations Add-on". Click on "Animations Plugin", now make sure the tab highlighted at the top of the window is "Open Animations", then right under "Open Effect" double click on the first line in the small window which is called Glide 2.
2. In the window that pops up where it says "Open Effects", click on it and select "Airplane". Set duration to 500 so it will stay open long enough to enjoy the effect, then close the window.
3. On setting duration you may have to adjust accordingly for your computer. Between 400 to 500 should be good for most people but on some slower systems you may find that you need to shorten the time, or if your system is faster lengthen the time.
4. Click "Close Animations" at the top of the screen. Right under "Close Effect" in the small window double click on the first line, when the window opens next to "Close Effect" select "Burn" and for duration select 500 then close the window.
5. Click "Minimize Animation" at the top of the screen. Right under "Minimize Animation" in the small window double click on the first line, which is called Zoom. When the window opens next to "Minimize Effect" select "Beam Up", duration 500, then close the window.
6. Click on "Focus Animation" and in the small window double click on the first line, which is called (N/A). Next to "Focus Effect" select "Dodge" and set the duration to 400 then close the window.
7. The dodge effect is not included in 12.04 by default but you can install it by following the directions here.
Wobbly Windows In Effects
1. Enable Wobbly Windows, then click on the "Wobbly Windows Plugin", now make sure that "Snap Inverted" is not checked and go down to "Map Effect" and set it to "Shiver".
1. If you want transparency so you can see the gears click on "Desktop Cube Plugin" and at the top of the window click on "Transparent Cube", then "opacity during rotation" is set to whatever amount you want, 75 is a good setting to start at.
Window Managers & The Commands To Start Them Manually
Kwin for Kubuntu
Window Decorators & The Commands To Start Them
GTK Window Decorator
KDE Window Decorator
Video Card Drivers
For further assistance from the compiz community please see here.