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After asking about the number of desktops, I was pointed to the compiz wiki which says:

Viewports and desktops are not the same concept. For technical reasons, changing the number of "desktops" or "workspaces" in environments such as GNOME, KDE, and Xfce is not the same as changing the number of viewports in Compiz. You can have multiple viewports on one desktop.

I know how to use the shortcuts in Desktop Wall to switch between viewports on a single desktop.

How do I switch between desktops?

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Can you tell me what you did to start using desktops? Cuz changing the number to anything else than 1 does nothing. The last 3 comments here would suggest that since HARDY desktops have not been working and all we have are viewports. I have yet to see a working desktop setup (all I see are viewports in screens. It is an old topic ok but I did not find anything contradicting these 3 responces. – Rinzwind May 6 '11 at 22:13
up vote 2 down vote accepted

As I found out in the other question, that config value does nothing.

So you cannot switch between desktops in Ubuntu versions after Hardy. The concept of multiple desktops has been replaced with multiple viewports within one desktop.

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