Revision as of 04:38, January 28, 2014 by Duncan.Britton (Talk) (As a standalone window manager)

What is Compiz?

According to, Compiz is: "... an OpenGL compositing manager that use GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap for binding redirected top-level windows to texture objects. It has a flexible plug-in system and it is designed to run well on most graphics hardware. Okay, this description isn’t really meaningful. In a nutshell, Compiz is a compositing manager, which means that it enhances the overall user interaction by adding fancy effects to your windows, from drop shadows to awesome desktop effects like the Desktop Cube or the Expo view. Compiz can also be a window manager, which means that it is the software between you and your desktop apps. It enables you to move or resize windows, to switch workspaces, to switch windows easily (using alt-tab or so), and so on."

Installing Compiz

To install Compiz, you must first emerge it:

#  emerge -av compiz compiz-fusion emerald hicolor-icon-theme

As a standalone window manager

For Compiz to run as a standalone window manager, you must first change your ~.xinitrc file:


The lines after the first two can be any applications that you would like to launch when the server starts.

Now, with compiz installed and ready to run, try starting it:

$  xinit

Configuring Compiz

If it starts successfully, you will be greeted with a black screen and whatever programs you added to your ~/.xinitrc after line two. At this point, you are probably wondering "Why are there no decorations around my windows?" There are no decorations because Compiz comes configured to not decorate windows. In your terminal that was launched from the ~/.xinitrc file, type in:

$  ccsm

This command will launch a Compiz configuration application that will allow you to add decorations to your windows (and many other neat things). Once the configuration app. launches go to "Effects" and check the box next to "Window Decoration." Many interesting and useful features can be enabled and disabled from ccsm.

For those of you looking for an alt+tab switcher, go to "Window Managment" and check either "Application Switcher" or "Static Application Switcher". If you are interested in a feature similar to the Windows 7 Super+Tab switcher, look into the "Shift Switcher" in "Window Managment" You can then go to Window Managment -> Shift Switcher -> Appearance and change the switcher mode and change it from "Cover" to "Flip."

Don't like the default window decorations? You can modify the window decorations to your liking by typing:

$  emerald-theme-manager

Emerald offers several different engines for theming:

  • zootreeves: Evolved from the legacy engine
  • truglass: Glassy effects for your windows
  • vrunner: Multiple gradients with somewhat glassy features too
  • legacy: Based on original gnome-window-decorator
  • line: Based on original legacy
  • pixmap: Everything done with customizable pixmaps!
  • oxygen: Designed to be vista-ish in nature

Helpful Tricks / Tips



To do.

To Come

* Explanations of ccsm and emerald-theme-manager
* Programs to use with compiz