Customize Compiz in Ubuntu Gutsy

Robert Strohmeyer

With nine days remaining before the release of Ubuntu's latest version, Gutsy Gibbon 7.10, everyone's asking how the integrated Desktop Effects will work. So here's the deal.

Unlike Feisty Fawn, Gutsy Gibbon deals with Compiz Fusion Desktop Effects as a default feature of the OS, so they're ready to run on any machine with a supported GPU. But they're not actually turned on by default; you have to enable them. But that's easy enough. Just click System > Preferences > Appearance, and select the Visual Effects tab. You can then choose which level of desktop effects you'd like.

Choosing Extra will give you window wobble and transparency, but you'll have to go a little further if you want the full complement of Desktop Effects. To get them all, you'll need to install a couple of things from the Synaptic Package Manager. So click System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager, and search for “emerald.” Install it, and then search for “compizconfig-settings-manager.” Install this one, too.

Now you'll have Emerald Theme Manager and Advanced Desktop Effects Settings listed in your Accounts > Preferences menu. Use Emerald to install a variety of desktop themes for Compiz. (Be sure to follow the instructions at the bottom of the Repositories panel to get the Non-GPL themes. There are no GPL themes available.) The Advanced Desktop Effects Settings control panel is your one-stop shop for configuring all of the features in Compiz, such as the cube, painting fire on the screen, and other useless but entertaining bits and pieces.

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