Install Compiz Fusion and Emerald in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

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Now that we have setup the perfect desktop using Ubuntu 10.04, its time to make it look sleek and add some eye candy. The procedure to install Compiz and Emerald window decorator on Ubuntu 10.04 is identical to that for Karmic. If you have your desktop effects enabled then it means that you already have Compiz installed and working.

Remember: to get desktop effects working you must install the driver for your video card by going to System > Hardware Drivers and then enabling the appropriate driver. To install the packages needed for emerald and compiz run the following command in a terminal.

sudo apt-get install compiz compiz-plugins compiz-gnome compiz-core emerald compiz-fusion-plugins-main compiz-fusion-plugins-extra fusion-icon compizconfig-settings-manager

Now to have compiz running with your  chosen settings and effects you would need to have the fusion-icon app running at all times. Launch it now from Applications > System Tools menu. You should now be able to see a blue cube icon in your taskbar which looks like this

Right click on this icon to reveal this menu:

You can change compiz settings by going into Settings Manager and install new Emerald Themes by launching Emerald Theme Manager. Ubuntu doesn’t install themes for Emerald by default. So you would have to download ones you like manually from here or here. My pick is this simple and elegant theme. For installing a bunch of cool themes in one go for Metacity and Emerald including icon packs, see this post.

If anything goes wrong with the window manager and X display looks messed up, then reloading Window Manager should fix it 9 of 10 times. If you want to use emerald to be your default window decorator with Compiz, you can make the selection from Select Window Decorator option in the menu shown above.

Next thing to do is to ensure that compiz gets loaded every time you start/restart your computer. To ensure this, add fusion-icon in the list of Startup Application inside System > Preferences > Startup Application. Click add to enter new startup application and enter fusion-icon –no-start as shown below:Now add it and Compiz would be loaded with your chosen settings every time. Let me also list out couple of my favorite  settings for compiz fusion, which you can enable using Settings Manager shown in Menu above.

1. Expose effect (you take your mouse to a chosen corner and you get Mac like Expose effect): For this to work all you need is the Scale (plugin inside Window Management settings selected). Press Win+w to activate it.

2. Viewport Switching (switch / flip between your virtual workspace or desktop by rotating mouse wheel): This effect used to be enabled by default inside older versions of Ubuntu, but since Karmic they haven’t enabled it by default. You can enable it by selecting the following inside Viewport Switcher settings, click on the buttons to enable it and then choose settings of Button5 and Button4 for next and previous workspace. This really helps with the workflow.

3. Desktop Wall  to Desktop Cube in Compiz: Just enable the plugin by first un-ticking the Desktop Wall and then ticking the Desktop Cube option. Also tick Rotate Cube and 3D Windows options for enhanced effects. If you have enabled Viewport Switching as described above, you can switch between desktops by rotating mouse wheel, and the desktop flips over like a rotating Cube. Now to get the full 3D view of your Workspace, hold Ctrl+Alt and left click anywhere on the desktop and while holding the left mouse button move the mouse to see your workspace turn in to a virtual polyhedron like one shown below.

4. Drag Windows to Other Workspace

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About the Author

has written 1285 posts on this blog.

Meditating towards his "nerdvana", lifehacker is a teacher by the day and a nerdy blogger by the night. He lives to learn and yearns to learn living.

18 Comments on “Install Compiz Fusion and Emerald in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx”

  • Noah wrote on 16 May, 2010, 15:29

    While trying to install the driver I receive an error message:
    SystemError: installArchives() failed

    How can I solve this problem?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • lifehacker wrote on 16 May, 2010, 18:29

    You might try installing the updates available using the Update Manager and then try installing the driver again.

    Originally Posted By Noah
    While trying to install the driver I receive an error message:rn SystemError: installArchives() failedrnrnHow can I solve this problem?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • Petr wrote on 9 June, 2010, 3:12

    Every time I start system, I must click on reload Window Manager. Do you know how to do it automaticaly?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • lifehacker wrote on 9 June, 2010, 16:33

    @Petr
    It should be done automatically if you have already installed fusion-icon and have already added it in startup programs. If it is not working then you can try disabling fusion-icon and enabling it again after a reboot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • happylarry wrote on 2 July, 2010, 11:14

    hi, i’ve istalled everything as instructed above but when i choose a theme in emerald theme manager it only changes the program windows not the desktop (aaplication…places…system…power button etc), i’ve downloaded and acivated the driver for my nvidia card and selected emerald as the window decorator, i cant think of what could be wrong, any ideas?

    thanks

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • lifehacker wrote on 2 July, 2010, 13:04

    @happylarry
    Emerald is only the window decorator (top bar), it is not the gnome theme manager. You would have to go to the Theme settings in Preferences > Appearance in System menu. The themes here decide how icons, window colors, menu bars etc look.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • happylarry wrote on 3 July, 2010, 2:56

    thanks lifehacker, rookie mistake then i guess, i’ll do it properly this time.

    much appreciated

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • David wrote on 26 July, 2010, 20:09

    Finally got all these bits together and running, but no effects seem to work, having set my cube etc, ctrl+alt+left just uses basic desktop switcher. It’s really odd.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • lifehacker wrote on 27 July, 2010, 9:51

    @David
    First thing you need to check is, whether your desktop effects are “on” or not. They should be turned on.

    Make sure that you have selected Compiz as the window manager in Select Window Manager menu, by right clicking the Blue cube icon.

    Next, make sure that in the CompizConfig Settings Manager, you have Desktop Cube ticked and Desktop Wall un-ticked. After this your compiz effects should work for sure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • Toofroilet wrote on 13 September, 2010, 15:30

    And not a single comment about how to make Emerald the window manager. Outstanding! : D

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    [Reply]

  • Bill Maige Dotto wrote on 22 September, 2010, 10:36

    an having problem with this fusion thing
    i type the command as it instructed
    then it give me this compiz-core: command not found
    Can some body help why am i get this kinda output

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

    lifehacker Reply:

    compiz-core is not a command. If you are trying to install it try

    sudo apt-get install compiz-core

    Alternatively you can launch synaptic from System > Administration menu and then manually install all the packages.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • dthusira wrote on 25 October, 2010, 9:37

    emerald themes only applying for the window borders… can it be applied for the desktop panels?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

    lifehacker Reply:

    Emerald is just the window border decorator. If you want to apply it to desktop panels etc. then you need to change the theme for gnome which you can do by going to System > Preferences > Appearance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

  • Afsar wrote on 4 October, 2011, 22:26

    i am using ATI mobility radeon HD 5640 graphics. is it support compiz fusion?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

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