Compiz is an originally developed by Novell Composition and window manager that uses OpenGL accelerated X expansion AIGLX or the now-defunct OpenGL accelerated X server Xgl. It is often used to demonstrate that offer ( graphical ) AIGLX and Xgl opportunities and where the Unix desktop could develop in the future.

Special features of Compiz

In contrast to pure Composition managers Compiz is not only a such, but at the same time the window manager, which means that it also takes care of the drawing window borders, title bars, minimizing and maximizing buttons and so on. However, this is also in KWin and Metacity the case.

Since Compiz corresponds to the ICCCM standard, it can for this purpose the window manager, the desktop environment that is started on an appropriate X server replace ( such as Metacity for Gnome 2 or KWin in KDE Plasma Workspaces ).

Compiz is also modular. All effects, but also basic things like the ability to move windows or change their size, are implemented as plug-ins. This Compiz is easily expandable.

Compiz provides a suitable window manager daemons currently using GNOME and KDE. These ensure the correct displaying of window frames, title bars, and similar elements in these desktop environments when using Compiz.

Compiz is the basis of the Ubuntu Unity interface and is since version 4 also supported by VirtualBox.


The configuration of Compiz and its many add-on modules can be made via several tools:

  • Compiz itself has the configuration via csm ( Compiz Settings Manager ).
  • The Compiz Fusion project develops the extension ccsm ( CompizConfig Settings Manager ) to simplify configuration and to make better graphically.
  • If Compiz is started gconf with the extension, all settings can be made directly via the gconf-editor.

Similar projects

Beryl was a Compiz cleavage that emerged after some developers own development branch called compiz- quinn created, which took up more and more changes. Since the end of March 2007, there were stepping up their efforts, the two projects under the name Compiz Fusion together again, which was also implemented into action on 6 April 2007.

Project Looking Glass is a 3D user interface, which is developed by Sun Microsystems and released under the GNU General Public License. The project aims to develop new opportunities for interaction with a computer work surface and sees itself as a technical advance development for future user interfaces. The extended use of a three-dimensional work surface allows, for example, to make notes on Web pages at the back of the browser window. Looking Glass is an open source project and is being developed for Linux and Solaris. It uses and extends the Java 3D.

Mandriva Metisse developed as a 3D user interface for Linux.

KWin, the standard window manager of KDE Plasma Workspaces, since version 4.0 also supports compositing effects. Since 4.2 they are active.

The Gnome project is for Gnome Shell on the window manager mother, a combination of Metacity and Clutter graphics library.

Pictures of some Compiz plugins

Scale plugin

Cube and rotate plugin

Opacity plugin

Fire paint plugin ( compiz fusion)

Snow plugin, here with leaves ( Compiz Fusion )

Window Switcher plugin, Cover mode ( Compiz Fusion )

Window Switcher plugin, Flip mode ( Compiz Fusion )