Install Compiz Fusion and Emerald in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

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Now that we have setup the perfect desktop using Ubuntu 10.10, its time to make it look sleek and add some eye candy. The procedure to install Compiz and Emerald window decorator on Ubuntu 10.10, 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, 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 1314 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.

5 Comments on “Install Compiz Fusion and Emerald in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat”

  • nanujra wrote on 26 November, 2010, 17:23

    Very useful guides for setting up 10.10!

    I’ve got a question though.

    How doI enable cube-flipping between screens using my laptop trackpad instead of a mouse??

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

    lifehacker Reply:

    @nanujra, If your trackpad allows scrolling then the cube flipping works by default, just try scrolling and you should be able to flip between desktops.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

    nanujra Reply:

    @lifehacker,

    Thanks, i realised it was just a matter of double clicking and holding while i dragged the screen

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [Reply]

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  1. Dual Boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat | Hack Your Life!
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