Ubuntu Beryl: How to use Compiz

I just installed Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron on my ThinkPad Z61t. It pretty much works out-of-the-box. The wireless adapter did not work while running from the LiveCD, but it works now that it’s installed. Linux has truly come a long way. One of the things that holds back many users is the superior visuals of Windows and Mac OS X. That’s no longer the case. With Beryl/Compiz/Compiz Fusion, Ubuntu Linux looks every bit as good as those other operating systems. But it’s poorly documented, and it was hard for me to figure out how to get started with it. I tried lots of Google searches to find what I was looking for, but nothing turned up. So here’s my guide to Compiz, a sort of “FAQ” or how-to guide and tutorial.

After installing Ubuntu 8.04 (Desktop Edition), the first thing you may want to take a look at is the simplified interface Ubuntu offers (via GNOME) for changing visual effects. Go to System -> Preferences -> Appearance, and then look at the Visual Effects tab. On my system, the default was “Normal.” Get some cool effects (like Wobbly Windows) with “Extra.”

Next you’ll want to get the compizconfig-settings-manager, which allows you to make tons of other tweaks. I found the answer for getting this via a search. First, you’ll need to open a Terminal window by going to Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal. Then:

To install:

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Then go to System > Preferences > Advanced Desktop Effects Settings and you can change your visual effects


Compiz is installed by default, but you need to install this in order to make detailed configuration changes.

As stated above, you can then go to Advanced Desktop Effects Settings to enable cool stuff like the 3D rotating cube. More details on this later.

By default, when resizing windows, it shows a blue rectangle instead of the actual contents of the window. This is like the “better performance” setting on Windows. I really like to see the contents of my windows while I resize them. To do this, open CompizConfig and go to Window Management -> Resize Window. Change the Default Resize Mode to Normal.

Leave a Reply