Enabling Compiz Fusion On An Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop (NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200)

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme
Last edited 11/03/2008

This tutorial shows how you can enable Compiz Fusion on an Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) desktop (the system must have a 3D-capable graphics card - I'm using an NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 here). With Compiz Fusion you can use beautiful 3D effects like wobbly windows or a desktop cube on your desktop.

This document comes without warranty of any kind! I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

I have tried this on a desktop computer with an NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200. It should work the same way with all other NVIDIA graphics cards.


2 Enabling The NVIDIA Driver

To use 3D effects on an NVIDIA graphics card, we need the proprietary NVIDIA driver which we can install from the Hardware Drivers tool. The Hardware Drivers tool can be started from System > Administration > Hardware Drivers:

The Hardware Drivers tool should tell you that there's an NVIDIA graphics driver available for your system. To install it, click on Activate:

Type in your password:

Afterwards the NVIDIA driver is being downloaded and installed:

The Hardware Drivers tool should now tell you that a system restart is required to activate the driver. Click on Close to leave the Hardware Drivers tool...

... and then reboot the system:

After the reboot the system uses the proprietary NVIDIA graphics driver.


3 Installing Simple Compizconfig Settings Manager (simple-ccsm)

Open the Synaptic Package Manager (System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager):

Select the package simple-ccsm (simple Compizconfig settings manager) and install it:

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8 Comment(s)

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From: Karthik at: 2009-04-04 11:24:22

Thanks dude for that bunch of information, It was really cool.

From: Anonymous at: 2008-11-06 17:40:32

Don't choose the 177 driver with 8.10 if you have a 5200 card (and maybe any 5*** card), the 177 diver does not support the 5200. If you choose the 177 driver thinking newer is better (Like I did) X won't start and you will have to edit xorg.conf manually to get X back.


From: Yves at: 2008-11-27 06:22:23

Thanks a lot for this explanation page.

 After upgrading to Intrepid (from Hardy) I was stuck with a non-working Ubuntu (display was scrambled...). "Customized" xorg.conf to get an emulation. Amazing the upgrade had to be so painful for a GeForce owner.

Thanks also to the previous comment (do not use 177) - the drivers utility offers 173... hopes it is the right one :)

From: Gary at: 2008-12-23 08:09:06

Don't enable Xinerama in your nvidia-settings if you are using 2 screens. Rather use the Twinview options.

From: Anonymous at: 2008-11-06 02:59:37

I find by default the nVidia graphics tear horribly with Compiz-Fusion.  To fix this I add:

     Triplebuffer          "True"

in the device section of my xorg.conf file.   Then I restart X (Ctrl+Alt+Backspace), and then set the Display Settings tab in the General Settings of CCSM to Detect Refresh Rate = off, Refresh Rate = 120 (my LCD is actually on 60 Hz, but doubling it helps with smoothness), Sync to Vblank = on.  This will give smooth effects with no screen tearing.

In the newer nVidia drivers it is also possible to add:

     UseCompositeWrapper          "True"

to the xorg.conf file.  I'm not sure what it does, but it's supposed to make things "better", or at least according to nVidia.

I also find that if I change any settings in the nVidia settings program (such as FSAA), and then reload the window manager to make the adjustments take hold, moving windows becomes really chopping and gross.  Strangley, rotating the cube/cylinder still remains smooth.  Go figure...  (In other words, I never touch the nVidia settings program.)

From: hanzo at: 2008-11-17 21:02:02

frowning too early. It worked for a couple of minutes, then ist started to lag again...

From: hanzo at: 2008-11-17 19:03:00

Thanks a lot mr.anonymous!

The triple buffer thing did not much, nor did setting the refresh to the double. But the  "UseCompositeWrapper" option did the trick apparently.

It should be noted here that the corect syntax for the options is the following:

Option "Triplebuffer"          "True"
Option "UseCompositeWrapper"         "True"

otherwise you'll get a fat error and nothing will work anymore!

Some people have reported that also enabling "indirect rendering" or "loose binding" might help. It did not help in my case, and other people have reported it to do more damage than good. But still worth a try I guess.

From: Guilherme at: 2008-12-08 02:47:46

Muito Obrigado!

Minha placa de video é Nvidia Gforce 5200 FX de 128mb

Funcionou corretamente, graças ao tutorial!

Valeu mesmo...