I have a fresh install of Ubuntu 12.04 on my Dell Studio XPS (Specs at end of post) with nvidia-current installed as the proprietary drivers and I'm mainly using Gnome Classic but this issue does happen in Unity too.

According to the workspace switcher in the corner, I have 4 workspaces in a 2x2 format, when I click on another workspace it only switches between 2. Selecting workspace 3 on the launcher switches to 1 and 4 switches to 2. I have the compiz cube enabled and when rotating workspaces it is just a plane with a dekstop on each face rather than the cube.

If I go into the compiz settings and have a look at the number of workspaces, it only shows 1 and if I increase them to 4 the workspace switcher changes to a 4x1 arrangement and selecting any of the other 3 not just changes to that workspace but without a desktop environment or any windows (including conky). If it hit CTRL+ALT+T for terminal, it then jumps back to workspace 1 and opens a terminal.

I have been using my laptop with another monitor configured in twinview, but I have also tried disabling this and using one monitor and the issue still occurs.

In want to configure it to have 4 workspaces which display properly in the compiz cube and it would be nice to have this working across both monitors.

[It would be wonderful to have 4 workspaces for each monitor and a separate cube and switcher for each one giving 8 total but I think that's just greedy :p]

Laptop spec

NVIDIA gefore 555M (3D display so optimus is disabled ignores the intel HD3000)
17" Screen 1920x1080
Second monitor acer p223w 1680x1050

2 Answers 2


Note that the switcher icon in the launcher will always show 2x2, regardless of your actual workspace layout.

The Compiz Cube is designed to work only with horizontal one-dimensional workspace layouts, not the default 2x2 Ubuntu Unity layout; changing to a 1x4 (1 vertical, 4 horizontal) workspace layout should fix it.

To make that work:

  • Open CCSM, go to General, and set the workspace layout to 1x4:

    enter image description here

  • Now disable Desktop Wall and enable the Desktop Cube and Rotate Cube plugins.

  • The default cube transition speed can be so fast that it looks like a plane. To adjust, you can tweak the Additional Settings in the Rotate Cube plugin
  • After enabling all this, reboot!

Here's a Youtube video showing the cube fully functional with 4 workspaces on one monitor. The applications are Firefox, Synaptic, Terminal and Software Center, one on each workspace.

  • I'm not using unity so the 'unity --reset' line was not needed but changing from a 2x2 to a 1x4 has done it. Can you please update your answer to reflect that. Then I will award you the bounty. Aug 13, 2012 at 7:16

Install Ubuntu Tweak and use it to change the number of workspaces.

enter image description here

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