As I understand, Compiz can be installed as the compositing-manager on various desktop environments. I am using Ubuntu Studio 15.10 with XFCE 4.12 and I want to install Compiz in its basic configuration just to use simple fading, shadows and maybe the infamous Cube workspace-switcher, however I would like the visuals of my windows to stay as they are.

So far, I have only found old tutorials on how to install Compiz on XFCE that are sometimes dated multiple years back and often involve adding additional PPAs or plugins and applications that I do not want to use or can not understand the use of.

Is it possible to just install and use the Compiz version from the Ubuntu Software Center to get what I am looking for? Or will I still need some additional software to make it compatible to XFCE 4.12?

It would be great if someone could explain a current way of installing just the basic Compiz functionality or point to an up-to-date website which explains this.

EDIT: I tried the installation myself and found out what is necessary to set up in the process. If you need a guide, please refer to the answer I posted blow.

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    sudo apt-get install compiz should install it. You may also want to install compizconfig-settings-manager. It short, the answer is yes to all the questions, though I am not sure what you want explained, and what is "make it compatible to XFCE 4.12". – mikewhatever Nov 26 '15 at 17:08

To answer this question for someone who is looking for the same explanation as myself:

I just tried to install Compiz and found out that, in fact, it does not simply work in the expected way without any additional configuration.

When installing Compiz from the Software Center, it will use its own gnome window decorator, meaning that the title bars may vanish on the first start without further configuration and if enabling the window decoration, the default blue theme will be used.

I would advise to install it this way if not wanting to add any additional PPAs:

  1. Deactivate any installed compositing manager in the XFCE options by unticking "compositing" in the window management settings or by removing custom compositors such as Compton from the startup applications.
  2. Make sure the video card driver is up-to-date.
  3. Open a terminal and enter: sudo apt install compiz compiz-plugins compizconfig-settings-manager metacity dconf-tools (The Compiz-Plugins are also needed for additional functionality such as animations and the Cube. Metacity will be used to enable the original XFCE "Greybird" theme, dconf-tools for setting it up.)
  4. Press Alt+F2 and enter dconf-editor to open it, then change the "theme"-values to Greybird in org\gnome\desktop\vm\preferences and org\gnome\metacity. You may also look for the "button-layout" value and move the window buttons to either side here. The value works as such (left_button_names):(right_button_names). So by simply writing the button namens before the colon, the window buttons will be situated to the left and vice versa in the order you enter them, seperated by a comma.
  5. Open the Compiz-Configuration from the regular XFCE-settings menu at the bottom under Extras and at least enable the following options: Composite, OpenGL, Window Decoration, Move Window, Resize Window, Place Windows. (You may also want to add such things as Grid for snapping windows and Application Switcher for alt+tabbing windows and so on.) Also make sure that four horizontal workspaces are enabled in the general settings when wanting to use the Cube. To find out what plugins I could/should enable, I used the following sources: How To Set Up Compiz In Xubuntu, Compiz Fusion on Your Desktop: Howto Ubuntu (Video Series), Xubuntu + Compiz = Pretty pretty Xubuntu
  6. Press Alt+F2 again and enter compiz --replace to find out if everything works correctly before adding it to the Autostart Applications or changing any statup system files. If there are any problems, a simple reboot will disable it again.
  7. You may have to use the command bash -c "sleep 2; compiz --replace" in the Autostart Applications, if compiz --replace alone does not work for you.
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    Just a hint that may help, you may get rid of dconf dependency as it's not used in xfce by setting backend to ini in /etc/compizconfig/config, then it will use flat-file. Also you may create a profile dedicated to xubuntu-session. You can make same setup from ccsm > preferences. – user.dz Nov 28 '15 at 12:44
  • What is the relevant startup file in bionic? The compositor is no longer specified in xfce4-session.xml – sawablo Jul 2 '18 at 3:33

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