Ubuntu and Compiz

This weekend I’ve managed to install compiz on my ubuntu desktop. I’ve to tell you that it was not as easy as it is sold on the wiki. It’s not just a matter of apt-get install something and edit a few config files. It was not that difficult eather, and the results for me were not what I expected.

My video card is a MSI – ATI 9200. Not the newer nor the fastest card in the shelves, but what I could afford sometime ago. For this ATI card  there are two X video drivers avaible, one opensource (ati – radeon), and the other proprietary(fglrx). I’ve used both in different moments of my “quest”, and I’ve to say both performed badly in my desktop enviroment.

Compiz can run above two X variants, Xgl and AIGLX. Ubuntu repos for this software were broken this weekend, so I got packages from ubuntu.compiz.net in order to try the software.

Xgl installed fine, but I had issues getting it understand that  my card has acceleration. The desktop run very slow. When running with the proprietary driver it got even worst, since it could not understand the Xlib library on my system. Above that compiz could not start. After some hours trying to fix the problems, getting help from google and #ubuntu-xgl on freenode, I gave up and decided I would give AIGLX a try.

AIGLX installed better and performed better. It was faster to configure and was not slow at all. Great! Compiz started and performed nicely. I was very happy with the results so I put compiz-start on sessions–> run, so it would start magically everytime I log in. I rebooted and found, very sadly, that now the desktop was slow again. I’ve not tried to solve the issue, since I was getting bored on that trial and error game.

My conclusion is that the 3d effects are near in the future, but not yet here for all of us. If you have time at your disposal to mess around with this software great. Otherwise I would wait a little. I know both Xgl and AIGLX are alpha software and we should install it at our own risk. I did it at my own risk! 🙂

My best results were with AIGLX so that is the one for me. Be aware that compiz is forking right now and in some weeks we will have a new version under the name Beryl.

The people who were this weekend on #ubuntu-xgl at freenode are great, and they helped me a lot. I think the main problem in my case was the ati drivers (both opensource and proprietary), and their relations to the system (libraries) and to the servers (Xgl , Xorg and. AIGLX).

I can’t stop thinking that if I had the time to get Gentoo running it would perform better, because I would be sure everything got compiled as pieces of the same system. Maybe I’m wrong and it is not a problem of Ubuntu (wich is my day by day distro btw) packages (on multiverse, there is, or in the compiz .net repos) that are not behaving well with the base system. It seems the lego is missing pieces…

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Published in: on 09/25/2006 at 12:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

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