Debian Linux Install and Configure Compiz Eye Candy Effects

Compiz is an OpenGL compositing windows manager for the X Window system. It use 3D graphics hardware to create desktop effects such as a rotating desktop cubes, a minimization animation and many other effects are created using plugins. In this post I will explain how to install compiz on Debian Linux 6 or above with NVIDIA GPU. However, instructions should also work on Debian lenny and Intel 3000 or latest Intel 4000 video cards.


Step #1: Install Compiz

Open a shell prompt and type the following apt-get command or apt-get command as root user:
# apt-get install compiz compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-fusion-plugins-main compiz-gnome compiz-gtk
# aptitude install compiz compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-fusion-plugins-main compiz-gnome compiz-gtk

The latest version of Debian may not come with compiz by default.

Step #2: Configure Xorg

You need to update your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file, enter:
# vi /etc/X11/xorg.conf
Update Extensions section as follows:

Section "Extensions"
        #For compiz
        Option "Composite" "enable"

Update Device section as follows:

    #For compiz
    Option "XAANoOffscreenPixmaps" "true"
    Option "AllowGLXWithComposite" "true"

Here is a sample Device section from my NVIDIA xorg.conf file:

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device0"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "Quadro FX 3800M"
    Option "XAANoOffscreenPixmaps" "true"
    Option "AllowGLXWithComposite" "true"

Finally, update Screen section as follows:

        Option "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "true"

Save and close the file. You can reboot the system or type the following command to restart the gdm3 i.e. restart your server:
# /etc/init.d/gdm3 restart

How do I enable compiz?

Login to your desktop. Open a terminal and type the following command to test compiz
$ /usr/bin/compiz --replace
Now, you will be able to use all compiz resources. However, you need to configure compiz using CompizConfig Settings Manager. Type the following command to start CompizConfig Settings Manager:
$ ccsm
Or click on the:
System > Preferences > CompizConfig Settings Manager
Sample outputs:

Linux CompizConfig Settings Manager Command and Settings

Fig.01: compizconfig-settings-manager in action

First, you need to click on the “Effects” > Enable “Windows Decorations”. This will fix the windows unusable problem such as window borders, resizing windows and moving windows which are initially disabled by default:

Fig.02: Enable Compiz decoration effect to move windows

Set compiz as the default Gnome window manager

Type the following command:
$ gconftool-2 --type string --set /desktop/gnome/session/required_components/windowmanager compiz
Logout and login again to test your new settings.

Summing up

Read the following man page using the man command:
man xorg.conf

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I'm Vivek Gite, and I write about Linux, macOS, Unix, IT, programming, infosec, and open source. Subscribe to my RSS feed or email newsletter for updates.

3 comments… add one
  • Aswath Jul 19, 2012 @ 0:36

    is that ccsm or ccss ? please correct me ?

    • 🛡️ Vivek Gite (Author and Admin) Vivek Gite Jul 19, 2012 @ 8:39

      Yes, it was a typo on my part.

      Appreciate your feedback.

  • jason Oct 4, 2012 @ 1:45

    Now I am lost as to how I would get this to work with the Intel 4000?, as there is no xorg.conf file for Intel 4k … I tried for hours to get this to work on my (Nvidia Optimus) Geforce 630M, without any luck. Really wish I had compiz back, my old laptop finally died and everything was running pretty well on that machine!

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