I'm quite new to Linux on the desktop, having using it on servers for years.

The basic question:

If I don't want visual effects, is there any reason I need or want to have compiz installed at all?

More details if you want them:

I've got a fresh Ubuntu 10.04 LTS desktop install. Since the compiz bug that makes the "show desktop" button not work correctly drives me nuts and I'm not married to having visual effects anyway, I figured I'd just turn them off. And so I did that (System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Visual Effects, choose "None", and close). As far as I can tell, this successfully terminates the compiz process and fires up metacity instead. So far so good.

But the next time I boot the machine, visual effects are re-enabled (the "Extra" setting, in fact -- and don't think that window drag effect isn't very disconcerting when it shows up out of the blue when you've never seen it before!).

So naturally I've looked for and ultimately filed a bug with the Gnome project, but in the meantime, I don't want to have to muck about with this every time I boot. While I could fight a rearguard action (put metacity --replace in my Gnome startup script or something), it seems more straightforward to just uninstall compiz entirely.

Any reason I shouldn't do that? Is compiz doing something else for me? I mean, from the project description I think it's just a cool window manager and if I'm happy with metacity, fine, but as I'm a newbie to this stuff on the desktop...


While Compiz is very cool and certainly has its applications, it is basically just visual candy and not required. My opinion: rip it out.


Sounds like something else might be going on with your system. I checked to make sure I had compiz running with the "medium" choice on Visual Effects. Then I turned Visual Effects to the "none" setting (compiz vanished from system monitor list as expected) and rebooted. Compiz stayed off. I know it's just one data point, but there it is.

  • You're using Ubuntu 10.04 / Gnome 2.30.2? I can't imagine what would be special about my situation, it really is a basic install. Certainly no issue with other settings being remembered. – T.J. Crowder Sep 12 '10 at 21:52
  • @TJCrowder: Same version of both. – hotei Sep 12 '10 at 22:09
  • @hotel: Thanks. V. strange. I've done virtually nothing "custom" on this workstation. – T.J. Crowder Sep 13 '10 at 14:29

Compiz does add some features I find very useful apart from Eye Candy. Things like the grid plugin, Maximumize, Windows Rules, Window Placement, make it much easier to arrange my windows (often automatically) in a way that helps me be a more efficient worker. The magnifier is often useful (though it's probably possible to get that other ways). However, you would probably know if you were making heavy use of those. If you're not, then I'd say ditch it.

As others have hinted, I don't think it should be necessary to uninstall it. Turning visual effects to 'none' should turn off Compiz, even after a reboot.

  • But if I turn it off (even if I don't uninstall it), I don't get any of those, right? So it doesn't really matter if I uninstall it? – T.J. Crowder Sep 12 '10 at 21:51

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