Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Hopefully the title sums it up, but I'm looking for a way of being able to switch the Appearance Preferences' Visual Effects option to 'None', from a terminal/script (and optionally later to be able to switch back to 'Normal', though that's not such a big deal).

I'm a total Ubuntu-noob, so I can't tell you which window manager/widget-set/whatever I am using (Gnome 2.30.0?). It's on Ubuntu 10.4 patched up to date as of late July 2010.

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

If all you need to do is to disable and enable effects this is fairly easy done with metacity --replace to disable effects and compiz --replace to enable effects. This is scriptable too.

share|improve this answer
Thanks - I haven't tried scripting this yet but the metacity --replace command certainly seemed to kill the desktop effects (and thus allow me to use VNC properly). Cheers! – robsoft Aug 20 '10 at 13:25
FWIW, if what you're trying to solve is VNC not working properly with desktop effects enabled you can set /desktop/gnome/remote_access/disable_xdamage to true in gconf-editor. The side effect will be that it will update more than just the changed regions so it will be slower and consume more badnwidth. – Li Lo Aug 20 '10 at 13:30
+1 @Li Lo - thanks for that. That would certainly be useful when I'm using VNC on the same local network. In this particular instance I'll be remoting into a machine across the internet, behind a slow broadband connection, so I'll stick with the 'faster' side effect. – robsoft Aug 20 '10 at 14:38
In that case I suggest you try ouy Nomachine NX, FreeNX or neatx. It's much faster than VNC. – Li Lo Aug 20 '10 at 14:51
Thanks, I will do. – robsoft Aug 20 '10 at 15:35

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.