Ubuntu Linux: Turn on 3D Compiz Eye Candy Effects for the X Window System

Posted on in Categories Data recovery, Gnome, Hardware, Howto, Linux, Linux desktop, Ubuntu Linux last updated October 18, 2007

Compiz brings to life a variety of visual effects that make the Linux desktop easier to use, more powerful and intuitive, and more accessible for users with special needs. It is an OpenGL-based compositing and window-manager. Compiz is the original compositing window manager from Novell’s XGL project. It is developed by David Reveman and community.

Compiz is one of the first compositing window managers for the X Window System that uses 3D graphics hardware to create fast compositing desktop effects for window management.

By default Compiz configuration settings manager is not installed under Ubuntu Linux 7.10. So first install compiz manager:
$ sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Please note that compiz only worked with 3D hardware which was supported by Xgl. Most NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards are known to work with Compiz on Xgl. On board Intel card (Intel GMA) also reported working with compiz.

Turn on 3D Compiz Effects

Right Click on Desktop > Change Desktop Background > Select Visual Effect Tab > Select Extra or Custom
Ubuntu Linux: Turn on 3D Compiz Effects for the X Window System
(click to enlarge image)

Save the changes.

How do I use or see the 3D effects?

Now everything is turned on, but how do you use it? Just hit the following key combinations to see effects:

  • ALT + TAB: Switch windows
  • Windows key + Tab: Switch windows
  • Ctrl + Alt + Left/Right Arrow: Switch desktops on cube
  • Ctrl + Alt + Left-click anywhere on wallpaper and drag
  • Try minimizing and maximizing windows
  • Try Dragging windows
  • Double click titlebar
  • Windows key+right-click Zoom-in once
  • Windows key + wheel mouse up : Zoom-in manually

To get idea about 3D effects, please see following youtube video (video may not work inside RSS reader, so click here to view the same):

Further readings:

Compiz Documentation

Linux Gnome desktop: Open files as root via a right click (context menu option)

Posted on in Categories Gnome, Howto, Linux, Linux desktop last updated October 2, 2007

Windows XP has a small option called Run as command.. You can add similar option to Linux desktop to open or run file as root via a right click. The following tutorial explains how to add a context menu item that enables a Linux user to open files as the root user when browsing their file system using nautilus. This script feature allows the user to navigate their file system and open or edit any file or directory as the root user of the system. It’s a perfect solution for those that are not completely comfortable using terminal commands.

=> How to open files as root via a right click

I turn my Linux computer off and when I turn it on it runs disk check (fsck) on hard disk. Why?

Posted on in Categories Gnome, Howto, Kde, Linux, Linux desktop, Ubuntu Linux last updated September 13, 2007

A typical question asked by many new Linux users. The answer is pretty simple:

Your partitions are not being unmounted properly when you last shutdown the Linux desktop. Linux needs to shutdown properly (I’m sure this applies to Windows and Mac OS too) before powered off. If you skip this step there could be data loss.

If you are using text based session (CLI), type following command as privileged user:
shutdown -h now
OR
halt

If you are using GUI (KDE / Gnome or any other Windows Manager) click on System > Quit button. Look out for shutdown button.

Do not unplug the power supply. Also use UPS (Uninterruptible power supply) to protect data and to avoid other problems. I recommend APC ups for continuous supply of electric power.

Updated for accuracy.

Download of the day: Linux Weather wallpaper

Posted on in Categories Download of the day, Gnome, Linux, Linux desktop, Linux distribution last updated August 29, 2007

The Weather Report tool downloads weather information from the U.S National Weather Service (NWS) servers, including the Interactive Weather Information Network (IWIN) and other weather services. You can use Weather Report to display current weather information and weather forecasts on your computer taskbar / Panel (fig # 1):

Download of the day: Linux Weather wallpaper
Fig # 1

Now there is a new tool called Weather wallpaper. It is a program which connects to NOAA each hour to get the current weather at the specified location and creates and sets a wallpaper with the data retrieved.

First you have to search for the ICAO Location Indicator for your city and edit the configuration file located at ~/.weather-wallpaper/conf accordingly.

Download Linux Weather wallpaper

=> Linux Weather wallpaper

Gnome per user language encoding configuration using .dmrc file

Posted on in Categories Gnome, Howto, Linux, Linux desktop last updated August 27, 2007

Sometime you may see different language encoding in X than on your console (tty) prompt. Sometime two different user need two have different language encodings.

~/.dmrc file – Per-user language support

In theory this file should be shared between GDM (Gnome) and KDM (KDE), so users only have to configure things once. This is a standard .ini kind / style configuration file. It has only one section called [Desktop] which has two keys: Session and Language. There are some per user configuration settings that control how GDM behaves. GDM is picky about the file ownership and permissions of the user files it will access, and will ignore files if they are not owned by the user or files that have group/world write permission. Normally GDM will write this file when the user logs in for the first time, and rewrite it if the user chooses to change their default values on a subsequent login.

Setup language encoding in X

Defining LANG variable is not sufficient, you need to setup language encoding using ~/.dmrc file.
cat ~/.dmrc
Output:

[Desktop]
Session=gnome
Language=cs_CZ.UTF-8

Refer to Gnome Display Manager Reference Manual for more information.

Gnome or KDE Keyboard Shortcuts you must know

Posted on in Categories Gnome, Howto, Kde, Links, Linux desktop last updated May 25, 2006

Shell (command prompt) offers fastest way to finish your work. However, not everyone out there is comfortable with shell. Therefore, you end up using KDE or Gnome. After some time you will fill that, you need combination of both keyboard and mouse to get best result.

Novell has published a nice list of essential keyboard short cut that will save your time under KDE or Gnome desktop.

“…Tired of using your mouse so much? Did you know that both KDE and Gnome have keyboard shortcuts for just about everything you can do with a mouse?…”

=> Read all keyboard shortcuts

This is useful and helpful for all new and advanced users 🙂