Archive for the 'Compiz' Category

Ubuntu: The First Distro to Ship Compiz-Fusion by Default

As of the Tribe 2 release, due to the awesome work on the part of Michael Vogt (mvo) and Travis Watkins (Amaranth), Compiz 0.5.1 git and the Compiz-Fusion main plugins are not just a part of the default installation of Ubuntu, but enabled by Default, even on the LiveCD.

Of course, it’s only enabled for supported hardware devices, so for you folks that can’t run Compiz, you’ll be greeted by Metacity as always.

The rest of the Compiz-Fusion stuff is also in the universe repository, so feel free to pick it up by running the following command:

sudo apt-get install compiz-fusion-plugins-extra compizconfig-settings-manager

Keep in mind, Gutsy is alpha software and isn’t recommended for use on your desktop, however, if you’re feeling gutsy, it’s a fun experience. 😉

Compiz 0.5 – I’ve been waiting! >=( (and other interesting uploads…)

After painstaking months of agony and waiting and all that jazz (er, sort of), Compiz 0.5 has finally been uploaded to the Gutsy repositories. I’m so glad to see it – I was tired of compiling it.

Also of note, Rhythmbox 0.10.90, featuring the new Tango icons in the user interface and crossfading, has also been uploaded. While I personally cannot stand to use Rhythmbox (go Banshee!), they’re finally beginning to put the effort into the user interface that it really deserves. Bravo!

Finally, like everyone and their grandmother (or maybe their mother) has heard, Dell is finally officially, as of today, selling PCs pre-loaded with Ubuntu Feisty. ‘Bout dang time! 😉

It Takes Two to Tango

The merge between Beryl and Compiz has served little purpose other than to start a bunch of flame wars on the mailing lists.

Boy – that’s something to be real proud of. 😦

Compiz Can’t Help But Hide Some of the Really Cool Stuff

Unless you’re a nerd (like me! :-D) and pay attention to the Compiz Mailing List and git log, you might miss out on some of the cool things that are coming down the pipe, or some that are already here.

With Compiz 0.4 or 0.5, there are a couple new options for the decoration plugin that aren’t (for some reason or another) in the gconf schema files (at least the ones in the packages by RAOF, at the moment).

Add the following two string keys in /apps/compiz/plugins/decoration/allscreens/options:

decoration_match
shadow_match

Set their values to simply “any” for now.

If you have the regex and decoration plugins loaded in Compiz, you can then use the two in combination to affect what window types get decorations or shadows!

For example, if you set shadow_match to “!type=dock | any”, all non-panel windows will have shadows… but your gnome-panel won’t.

Pretty neat, huh? 😉

Compiz 0.5 on Feisty

I typed a lightning quick guide for Compiz 0.5 and Ubuntu Feisty on the Ubuntu Forums.

Probably will need some touch-ups, but it’s a good start. Should work for most.

Many thanks go to RAOF for making and hosting the packages! 😀

Random Notes for the Day #1

In the past, I’ve had several instances where I’ve had posts filled with short snippets or updates concerning several items at once. These posts will now have their own set of titles for the sake of easiness.


I updated the Compiz Documentation for Ubuntu a little bit (concerning Feisty Fawn). It should be a bit more accurate now.

After Googling around a bit, I managed to fix uTorrent in Wine. It seems that sometimes the resume and settings info can cause uTorrent to not appear regardless of how many times you tell it to show itself. Deleting the ‘settings.dat’ and ‘resume.dat’ files and their respective backups from ‘~/.wine/drive_c/windows/profiles/USER/Application Data/uTorrent/’ did the trick.

My XChat-Banshee script hasn’t seen much attention this week. I’ll look to it again soon-ish.

I found out I was unwittingly put on display over at Arturo Monterrosso’s blog. He’s pretty much awesome – done a lot of work in terms of Compiz Documentation and Wiki management.

A bit of talk has been flying around the Banshee Mailing List regarding Google’s Summer of Code. Apparently Aaron B. is going to try and get Banshee it’s own little bit of GSoC outside of both Mono and GNOME GSoCs. Some very great ideas are just dying to be capitalized upon. I’m quite excited as I think the 0.13.x branch will bring a lot of great changes.

The Ubuntuforums Beginners’ Team has been starting to get up and running. Right now it’s a lot of brainstorming on most everyones’ parts, but in the end, I’m confident we’ll end up with a very organized and handy system to help the transition of new users to Ubuntu a lot smoother.

And finally, a screenshot. Enjoy!
Desktop Screenshot - March 9 2007

A Day in the Life…

What’s a high school student to do when they’ve got a week off?

Install some new distros and play around obviously!

With that in mind, the next distro on my list of forays was openSUSE 10.2. I was slightly wary, of course, because of two factors that largely hurt the distribution (in my mind):

1. It uses RPM.
2. It’s KDE-centric

RPM vs. DEB/DPKG

I tend to grimace when anyone mentions the words “Red Hat Package Manager”. I’ve had some bad experiences (I’m looking at you Fedora Core 6) in the past that left quite the sour taste in my mouth when it came to any distro sporting it.

What did openSUSE bring to the table?

As most people will testify (at least the other current and former SUSE users I spoke to), the biggest problem with openSUSE right now is package management. While there’s always the much-maligned RPM-hell to deal with, even on a more basic level, ZMD, and to a certain extent YaST, can simply be a nightmare with many conflicts arising here and there. At least, that was the case for me.

While this may or may not be an RPM trouble, I did notice that when it came to fetching and installing packages, that the entire RPM system was much slower on my laptop than apt+dpkg. Simply installing GNOME took an extra 45 minutes on my laptop under SUSE – compared to a brisk 15-20 minutes I experience with apt on Ubuntu.

KDE vs. GNOME

I am not getting into this debate. Both sides have their bonuses. Here’s what I’ll talk about instead.

Ubuntu’s KDE vs. openSUSE’s KDE & Ubuntu’s GNOME vs. openSUSE’s GNOME

openSUSE is a generally KDE-centric distribution and it shows. openSUSE is the most spry KDE environment I have yet to see on my laptop. Programs were quick to launch and the default setup wasn’t unbearably gaudy in the least bit. I like the KDE layout for YaST quite a bit too. openSUSE definitely wins for the KDE user.

On the other hand, there’s not much I can say about openSUSE’s GNOME. Playing around with it and KDE for the past several hours has led me to the conclusion that the only thing I really like about openSUSE’s GNOME is the default setup (I even copied the GTK theme to my documents partition so I could use it back on Ubuntu).

Compiz/Beryl

openSUSE has taken a bit of a weird stance, in my eyes, regarding a composite window manager. Where other distros support AiGLX very well out of the box and ship with no composite manager installed, openSUSE goes out of its way to make XGL easy. If you use XGL to use Compiz or Beryl, then you’ll love how easy it is, however, AiGLX takes a little work to get up and running.

The Installer

The openSUSE installer is the best I’ve seen on any distro. That’s really all I can say.

I also love the graphical grub and the usplash – A+.


At the end of the day, openSUSE just wasn’t for me. It’s a solid distribution, especially in light of the “drawbacks” I attributed to it. If you’re a KDE-lover and you hate looking at a terminal, openSUSE is definitely a good choice for you. There’s a UI for almost everything (even more so than Ubuntu).

On the other hand, if you’re a minimalistic GNOME guy who likes to tweak his system (like me), then I don’t think openSUSE will satisfy you in the same way other distributions might. (Of course, if you’re one of those true Linux nerds, you’ve probably constructed your entire OS from the ground up, so I doubt much could satisfy you when it comes to popular OSs.)

I love the constant innovations coming out of the Novell and openSUSE community and while I welcome their creativity and genius, I just don’t think that a SUSE-based distribution is the right one for me.