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Does the default XFCE's window manager offer any 3D eye candy? If it does, how do I enable it after installing the relevant drivers?

I want to install Nouveau's experimental 3D driver (which worked great for me under Ubuntu), libgl1-mesa-dri-experimental, in Xubuntu. But I don't know if just installing it will enable any 3D effects.

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The reason you don't see 3D effects is because XFCE is designed to be light weight in both footprint and system load. – Marco Ceppi Sep 22 '11 at 14:45
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Xfce by design leaves out much of the eye candy of other systems. There aren't even fancy animations. The most you can get is 2D accelerated compositing if your driver supports it (most do), unless you are willing to install other software.

You have to enable the compositing feature in XFCE's settings manager, and to my memory it will use hardware acceleration automatically. (You may need to do this manually but I am on unity so I cannot test it).

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Xubuntu doesn't come with Compiz so no 3D effects out of the box, but turning on the Composite feature gives you many effects like transparency and shadows plus it allows you to use 3D programs like Docky...

To enable go to: Applications -> Settings -> XFCE Settings Manager

Then run: Window Manager Tweaks - Compositor (tab) and Enable

...and from there play with the settings and fancify your desktop :)

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Does installing the necessary drivers enable them? – Oxwivi Sep 22 '11 at 8:14
@Oxwivi no, they are CPU based if you don't have the right drivers. – RolandiXor Sep 22 '11 at 13:57
@RolandTaylor, that's what I'm asking, if I've the right drivers, will it be automagically enabled. – Oxwivi Sep 22 '11 at 16:10
I found that having the necessary driver will enable compositing. Please add that to your answer so I may choose it. – Oxwivi Sep 22 '11 at 16:11

In xubuntu 12.10 go to:

Settings Manager -> Window Manager Tweaks and navigate to the last pane "Compositor". Check the "Enable display compositing"

I know, its not of direct use for a one year old question - but I got stuck in 12.10 and landed on this site. Consider this an update of TenPlus1's answer.

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AFAIK only KWin and compiz offer opengl/3d based compositing. xfwm4 (i.e. the default window manager of xfce) offers fancy stuffs such as transparency/shadows only. And as far as your drivers question goes installing necessary drivers makes your hardware ready, you still need to enable what is in offer i.e. What @TenPlus suggests in context with xfwm4 to enjoy. You can look into cairo-compmgr for some additional compositing as well which can easily run in top of xfwm4.

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You are forgetting Mutter, but good answer. – Javier Rivera Sep 22 '11 at 10:51

It's four years old, but there was "Xubuntu + Compiz = Pretty pretty Xubuntu" at

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I would like to avoid Compiz, if possible. I like it's collection of candy, but the less extra software I need to install, the better. – Oxwivi Sep 22 '11 at 8:45

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