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This question would serve me to figure out if I can remove, or replace compiz, if I don't use Unity. I seem to be running into a lot of desktop/window bugs, such as windows unminimizing on the wrong workspace, windows not activating when unmaximized (nasty one), and now, white taskbar buttons.

I would appreciate a comprehensive answer that makes me understand what is the place of compiz among software products like Gnome, "Unity", lightdm, metacity, which are, for me, stuff that overlap in functionality in a blurry way.

I have a friend who said he removed compiz from his 12.04 installation, as if not needed. That sounds dubious to me, since I use something called ccsm (CompizConfig Settings Manager) to tweak various desktop stuff all the time.

I also hear (read on launchpad) that "compiz is dead" (or will soon be). If you look at development, pretty severe bugs are progressing very slowly. I would like to know what to turn to, in the future. I should add, I very much tend to stick to gnome-classic, because the Unity thing always seemed a step backward (or sideways) to me: big buttons intended to be "tapped" on a tablet rather than clicked, a launcher that never did what Alt+F2 did in previous versions (2 simple things: autocomplete and suggestions).

Didn't mean to wander, question in the title, thank you.

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I would appreciate a comprehensive answer that makes me understand what is the place of compiz among software products like Gnome, "Unity", lightdm, metacity, which are, for me, stuff that overlap in functionality in a blurry way.

Gnome 3 use Mutter as Window Manager, hence no Compiz. Unity uses Compiz as plugin (actually Unity appears as plugin in the CCM) hence if you remove Compiz you will bring down Unity since Unity depends of Compiz (you can check it out using aptitude why unity compiz and will result in unity Depends compiz). Other windows manager doesn't use compiz or has an option to integrate compiz as desired but it's not necessary for the correct functionality, just to pimp up the display.

Compiz is ultimately a x-window-manager and can be replaced with easy in any Desktop Environment except Unity.

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Thanks, from this I understand that if I log into gnome-classic (as opposed to Unity 2D or 3D), Compiz is not used? Indeed if I mark compiz for removal it will only bring down "unity" (and ubuntu-desktop). BUT, what about CCSM? I use a lot of its settings, which software gets configured? Is CompizConfig Settings Manager a misnomer then? –  haelix Dec 5 '13 at 8:58
    
To better explain the practicality of this issue, my compiz seems to have some memory leak, sometimes exceeds 2GB in days. Definitely being used! –  haelix Dec 5 '13 at 9:16
    
@haelix I don't have/use Unity but GNOME3. If you don't use Unity I don't see a reason why you must use compiz or why have Unity installed. You may want to check Cinnamon instead if Unity/Compiz is giving you problems –  Braiam Dec 5 '13 at 15:13
    
Ok, so if I remove Compiz, do I need something in its place? –  haelix Dec 6 '13 at 12:33
    
What about the hardware acceleration, when drawing windows? That's something Compiz was supposed to do. Maybe the answer should mention about the acceleration bit. –  haelix Dec 6 '13 at 12:34

Compiz do not work on gnome-shell. However you can use it using compiz --replace command. This link provides more detail https://live.gnome.org/GNOME3Myths

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Tried to read this but unfortunately the paragraph "I can't use Compiz with GNOME Shell!", as well as the associated link, is more confusing than clarifying. As a user, do I really need to go through mailing lists to understand which features belongs to what product? As an example: desktop themes and their configuration (e.g. adwaita) - do they belong to Compiz, Gnome, or what... –  haelix Dec 5 '13 at 9:23

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