Compiz shouldn’t be enabled by default on Ubuntu

Enabling compiz by default is one of the goals of Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon (7.10) release, but following a thread on the ubuntu-devel mailing list it seems that the final decision was not taken yet.

I agree with all the points of view, compiz has some major problems and dependencies.

Just an overview on the main graphic cards:

  • Intel: open source drivers, compiz runs smoothly AFAIK, it could be enabled by default.
  • ATI: open source drivers have some performance issue, proprietary drivers do not support AIGLX and anyway compiz has some bugs with these cards (I’ve one of those inside my laptop) thus I don’t think enabling compiz by default it’s a good choice now.
  • Nvidia: open source drivers do not support 3D (I’m not talking about nouveau ’cause they are still too experimental), proprietary drivers are really good but they’re not bundled with Ubuntu thus compiz can’t be enabled by default.

I’m sorry but I can’t find a way compiz could be enabled by default… I think the right decision is to disable it until all graphic cards would be supported and bugs would be solved. I also think that, if this feature is so important for Ubuntu, Canonical should hire some programmers and sponsor the compiz development.

4 thoughts on “Compiz shouldn’t be enabled by default on Ubuntu

  1. sam

    when they say “compix enabled by default” they mean that as gnome starts it checks if it can run compiz. if not it falls back to metacity.

    currently in the gutsy betas with an nvidia card, when you first boot after install the nv driver is used which has no 3d acceleration, so no compiz. then you can install the nvidia driver with the restricted-driver-manager. on the next boot you have 3d acceleration, and compiz starts automatically.

    the main objections raised in the list are about serious bugs in compiz, and anoying differences between compix and metacity.

    it is easier to read the thread at

  2. Fabrizio Balliano

    @sam: i agree with you but i continue thinking that “by default” can’t mean “1/10 possibilities that it would work out of the box” cause graphic card, driver and serious or non serious bugs lower the possibility to something like 1/10

  3. Peter Gasston

    When I try to activate Desktop Effects on my Ubuntu machine at home, the screen goes completely white and I have to reboot; if Ubuntu had Compiz by default and that had happened when I first installed, I would never have converted to Linux.

    However, when I try a Knoppix live CD with Beryl, it tells me that my graphics card doesn’t support the effects, and that it is reverting to a 2D desktop – after that, it works as usual. If that were the case, I think Compiz by default would be fine.

    So really, it just depends how they handle it.

  4. Fabrizio Balliano

    @Peter Gasston: I also think compiz is really important and I’d like to see it enabled by default but it should be much more stable than now. We all know that many problems are due to the graphic cards drivers and the community can’t solve all until the ATI/NVIDIA etc will provide better/open drivers anyway we’ve to deal with this situation and take a decision… my opinion is to provide stable and robust software, that’s why I wrote about disabling it :)

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