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Important! Read this first

This article might NOT be what you are looking for. If you just heard of compiz and want to try it out, you want the article named Compiz Fusion. This article is only here as a reference.


Compiz is a compositing window manager. Because it provides its own window manager, it cannot be used simultaneously with other window managers such as Openbox, Fluxbox, Enlightenment, or even GNOME's Metacity--users of these window managers may wish to try Xcompmgr instead.

Compiz is the core of the project Compiz Fusion. Both projects are active and undergoing constant development. For more information, refer to the article, Compiz Fusion vs. Compiz.


There are binary packages available in the Community repository. Install compiz using one of the following commands:

# pacman -S compiz-core
# pacman -S compiz-decorator-gtk
# pacman -S compiz-decorator-kde 


Preparing Xorg for Compiz

Compiz, at this moment, has only one rendering path. The "Texture from Pixmap" path runs faster but doesn't work on all hardware yet.

Using "Texture from Pixmap" rendering

The GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap extension is needed for this rendering path. This extension is currently provided by Xorg if you either use the 9xxx nvidia drivers or the AIGLX extension. It is also provided by Xgl. Refer to the Composite wiki for more information.

Starting Compiz

Using compiz-manager

In order to use compiz-manager, you need to install it from community:

pacman -Sy compiz-manager

Compiz-manager, that now is installed in /usr/bin/compiz-manager, is a simple wrapper for compiz and ALL its options. For example, you can run


and see that console returns. You can use it in all the scripts that start compiz. Very simple!


System > Preferences > Sessions > Startup Programs


gtk-window-decorator --replace
compiz --replace --use-cow gconf

GNOME Compiz Manager

Gnome-compiz-manager, available in the AUR, provides a tray icon (compiz-tray-icon) and a compiz settings manager (gnome-compiz-preferences). Add compiz-tray-icon to the Startup Programs list in the Sessions preferences to autostart the program.


In your KDE desktop, open Konsole and type:

compiz --replace gconf & kde-window-decorator &

Autostart Compiz with KDE

In order to start compiz automatically when log on to KDE. Create a new file ~/.kde/Autostart/compiz.desktop, with the following content:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=compiz –replace gconf & kde-window-decorator &

Additional Compiz Configurations

To achieve more satisfying results from Compiz, you can tweak its config with gconf-editor:

 gconf-editor &

Note that now compiz-core isn't built with gconf support; It is now on compiz-decorator-gtk. So, you need to install it if you want to use gconf-editor to edit compiz configuration. Compiz config is in apps > compiz > general > allscreens > options

Active plugins is where you specify the plugins you would like to use, simply edit the key and add in value(refer to apps > compiz > plugins). Plugins I’ve found useful are screenshot, png, fade, minimize. Please do not remove those enabled by default.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Default plugin keyboard shortcuts

  • Switch windows = Alt + Tab
  • Arrange and View All Windows = F12 turns on or off; clicking a window will zoom it to the front
  • Switch desktops on cube = Ctrl + Alt + Left/Right Arrow
  • Switch desktops on cube - with active window following = Ctrl + Shift + Alt + Left/Right Arrow
  • Rotate cube manually = Ctrl + Alt + left-click
  • Make window translucent/opaque = Ctrl + Alt + wheel mouse OR Alt + wheel mouse
  • Zoom-in once = Super-key right-click
  • Zoom-in manually = Super-key + wheel mouse up OR WIN-key + wheel mouse up
  • Zoom-out manually = Super-key + wheel mouse down OR WIN-key + wheel mouse down
  • Move window = Alt + left-click
  • Snap Move window (will stick to borders) = Ctrl + Alt + left-click
  • Resize window = Alt + right-click
  • Bring up the window below the top window = Alt + middle-click
  • Slow-motion = Shift + F10
  • Water = hold Ctrl + Super key
  • Rain = Shift-F9
  • Film effect - changing desktop = Ctrl + Alt + Down Arrow (Compiz-quinn: Ctrl + Alt + Page Down)
  • Expose - Point your mouse to the TOP RIGHT CORNER of your screens.
  • Screenshot - Super Key + Left-Click Drag(Select a region)

This is another useful features when you have many windows opened at once without minimizing them. You can get to the window you want right away.

Source: Compiz - openSUSE


See Compiz_Troubleshooting

Additional Resources

  • Xgl
  • Composite -- A Xorg extension required by composite managers
  • Compiz Fusion -- A composite and window manager offering a rich 3D accelerated desktop environment
  • Compiz -- The original composite/window manager from Novell
  • Xcompmgr -- A simple composite manager capable of drop shadows and primitive transparency
  • Beryl -- A composite/window manager forked from Compiz (since merged to become Compiz Fusion)
  • Wikipedia: Compositing Window Managers