If you'd like to use desktop apps or features that require a 3-D compositing manager but lack the hardware power (or patience) to enable Compiz effects, the Tombuntu blog points out that the standard Metacity window manager can fit the bill. As noted, enabling metacity's compositing gives you just a few effects—mostly window previews on Alt+Tab switching, drop shadows, and window movement smoothing—and relies only on the CPU for power, so nearly any graphics card can use apps like the OS X-style Avant Window Navigator. To enable Metacity's built-in composite manager on most any modern GNOME-based Linux distro, open the gconf-editor tool (by launching with Alt+F2 or through a terminal), head to apps->metacity->general, and enable the "compositing_manager" option. Hit the link below for a command line switch you can script or shortcut to turn compositing on and off.
Tagged With compiz fusion
The Anywired blog posts a good guide to using Ubuntu (and most any Linux distribution) productively, through both built-in but under-appreciated features and free software. We've covered a few of the suggestions before, including Compiz Fusion tools, a super-charged Gedit, and app launcher GNOME-Do, but Anywired points out the newest features and offers a few GTD-minded suggestions along the way. As is often noted, however, some tips are Ubuntu-specific, but most can be implemented in any Linux distro. Have your own must-have apps for cranking widgets, open-source style? Let's hear it in the comments. Full-throttle Productivity and Web-Work With Ubuntu
If you're already rocking the Hardy Heron/8.04 beta of the upcoming Ubuntu Linux release, or you plan to upgrade next month, the Tombuntu blog points out a small change in how to access customised window and desktop effects from the "Preferences->Appearance" menu. To get a simple options interface, you simply install the "Simple Compiz Config Settings Manager" (sudo apt-get install simple-ccsm from the command line). Those who like their hundreds of visual preferences laid out for them can still install the compizconfig-settings-manager to get an "Advanced Desktop Effects Settings" menu installed. Custom Compiz Effects in Ubuntu 8.04
Ubuntu blog Tombuntu shows Linux users rocking Compiz Fusion, the desktop effects package installed by default in Ubuntu 7.10, how to switch the effects on and off without having to mouse through two menus and flip a radio button. Using a little app named Compiz-Switch and another program to install it, anyone needing to flip off graphical effects for better memory or program compatibility can get there from a taskbar or system tray shortcut. The guide requires a little terminal cut-and-paste, but I had Compiz-Switch installed and working in less than five minutes. Compiz-Switch should also work on other GNOME-based distros running the latest version of Compiz Fusion.
Toggle Desktop Effects with Compiz-Switch
Ars Technica's Open Ended blog posts a helpful guide for Linux users running Compiz Fusion who want to make drop-down menus, tooltips, and other items transparent without digging through a massive configuration menu. The instructions requires having the compizconfig-settings-manager package installed, and those who want to tweak specific program windows (like Pidgin or Firefox) might have to spend some time with Compiz's window-matching documentation. But for those who just want a cool-looking 10 percent shade on their menus, this guide should suffice.
Linux only: Want the look and feel of a Mac without paying the high-end design premium? Tired of hearing from all your Mac-happy friends how awesome Leopard looks? Got time to run through six pages of instructions? Then HowTo Forge has got you covered. Their guide to making a nearly total theme conversion requires Compiz Fusion (installed by default on Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon), Awn and the patience to download and place a hefty handful of files, but everything seems to be covered, right down to the system sounds. The guide is written for GNOME-based Linux systems and requires a number of downloads, some of which might not pass the most stringent legal (or open source) tests but are otherwise free. I haven't tried it myself, but this weekend's another story.
Personal finance webapp Mint monitors your finances for you. Enter your bank account and credit card details and Mint imports transaction data automatically and provides detailed charts about buying habits as well as suggesting how to save. Purchases are broken down by type (spending, gas, entertainment, restaurants, groceries), and Mint can alert you about any abnormal activity in your accounts. The interface is clean and friendly, and Mint looks like a clear winner in money management.