What is Compiz?

Compiz is a composing window manager focused on usability and graphically enhancing your desktop environment. Historically, it has been the heavyweight alternative for Metacity and Mutter as far Ubuntu is concerned. It is not recommended to run Compiz on lower end hardware as it can be relatively resource intensive and it greatly benefits from hardware acceleration (the latter is optional as it can also source resources from the CPU directly).

Trisquel 7.0 LTS (Belenos)

The default window manager on the main ISO is Metacity running on top the GNOME Flashback Desktop Environment. While Metacity focus prioritises usability and keeping everything simple, it can be limiting for advanced Desktop users. Here is where Compiz comes into play providing very modern functionality and 3D graphics. It is also capable of tiling windows.


This method will keep Metacity on your system for safety. Note: This was installed on a fresh Trisquel 7.0 system running the GNOME Desktop environment along with Metacity. You will need root permission for most of these instructions.
  • Disabling Compton (Metacity's composing manager):

Note: This is the most crucial part in order to avoid any complications post-install. Create an empty file on ~/.config/disable-compton:

$ touch ~/.config/disable-compton

  • Alternatively, you can comment all of the lines of the following file with "#", in order to stop Compton from running at startup:

$ sudo nano /etc/xdg/autostart/compton-autostart.desktop

  • Reboot:

$ sudo reboot

  • Install the following packages (some of these may depend on or include each other):

$ sudo apt-get install compiz compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-fusion-bcop compiz-plugins compiz-plugins-default

  • Using the user account that is currently logged in to the Desktop session issue the following command in a terminal and check for any errors (this will kill the current window manager and activate compiz; Metacity will be available again after reboot if you decide to do it now):

$ compiz --replace

  • At this point you should verify if either Compiz or Metacity are running, using tools like top" or "pidof", such as:

$ pidof compiz; pidof metacity

  • If Compiz successfully took over. You must now make the changes permanent by adding an entry for "compiz --replace" to be run a startup. Preferably somewhere that will make the command run after the user logs in such as in System Settings > Startup Applications ( gnome-session-properties ).
  • Reboot:

$ sudo reboot

Finally, check if everything is working as expected.


The configuration can be done through compizconfig-settings-manager. This package will include an entry in your Gnome Control Centre that will allow you to configure the active plugins and all of their respective settings and keybinds. It is very recommended to go through this carefully after installing as the default configuration can be unusual.

Notes for Newcomers

Please note that when Compiz is installed, very few of the features/plugins are activated, including "normal" features (e.g. title bars, the ability to move the windows around with your mouse, etc.), so you have to enable most of the features you want.

If this is overwhelming for you, simply check the following boxes for a "standard" desktop experience. (1) In "General," check the boxes "Gnome Compatibility," "OpenGL," and "Composite"; (2) In "Effects," check "Window Decoration"; (3) In "Extras," check "Screenshot"; (4) In "Image Loading," check all of the boxes; (5) In "Utility," check all boxes except "D-Bus," "Notification," "Scale Addons," "Show Repaint" and "Wallpaper"; (6) In Window Management, check all boxes except "Application Switcher."

Additionally, if what you'd like is to be able to choose between Window Managers from the login screen, you can use a_slacker_here's excellent and easy-to-use how-to manual, found on this webpage:


01/26/2015 - 02:40
01/29/2015 - 14:21
02/14/2016 - 21:05