Compiz was pretty much “the thing” that got me started with Linux. Whenever it comes up on online forums, there are usually a few people who say the same thing. When KDE 5 and Gnome 3 made their own compositors and window managers a lot the Compiz functionality was replaced. Most people seem to be content with this. Many people seem to regarded Compiz as a thing of the past.
I’ve always felt that Compiz offered a lot more and was generally more useful. Today I found out, it really isn’t that hard to get Compiz working in KDE 5 with Plasma. I know I tried doing this when KDE 5 first came out, and it just didn’t work. That’s not the case now.
I’m using Open SUSE but you should be able to find these packages in whatever distribution you are using.
Compiz is the window manager, Emerald is the window decorator, Compizconfig Settings Manager is the configuration tool, and Fusion Icon sets everything up.
You’ll want to disable KDE’s desktop effects. Search “Compositor” in your application menu and disable “Enable compositor on startup”.
Search “Autostart” in your application menu. Add fusion-icon to run on startup. Run
fusion-icon from a terminal or the applications menu, and you should be able to change your window manager to Compiz. Right click the Fusion icon and choose “Select Window Manager”. Once that is set, it will replace your window manager on startup. From the Fusion Icon, you can set your Emerald Theme and Compiz settings.
If you want to use the “Windows Previews” plugin in Compiz, you may see two window previews if KDE’s window previews are turned on. To disable this, right click your task manager, click “Task Manager Settings” and uncheck “Show Previews”.
So why even use Compiz? One of the main features for me is, just by holding down shift while switching desktops, I can bring the window with me while moving to different sides of the cube. I’ve never been able to find a way to do this in KDE. There are also a lot more features, plugins, and themes.
A lot of it seems frozen in time. A lot of the Emerald themes I remember from 10 years ago. But they still work fine
I think Compiz was good for the Linux community. It got a lot of people talking about Linux and a lot of people using Linux.
Its kind of unfortunate that it was shut out by the big two desktop environments. When Compiz was big, I remember seeing new plugins in the Compiz settings manager every few weeks. It has been years since KDE 5 was released and there are hardly any plugins for it’s “Desktop Effects”.
I know a lot of Linux users dismiss Compiz as pointless “bling”. Even if this was true, people were sharing Compiz videos and people were trying Linux just for Compiz. I think it would of been better if Gnome and KDE didn’t shut Compiz out.
Whatever the issue was with KDE 5, it seems to be fixed. With Gnome, even though most online posts say it is impossible to run Compiz, it has been reported to work if you start Gnome in “fallback mode”.