Enabling Compiz On Linux Mint 12 (GNOME Classic)

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme , Christian Schmalfeld <c [dot] schmalfeld [at] projektfarm [dot] de>

This tutorial shows how you can enable Compiz on a Linux Mint 12 Lisa desktop (the system must have a 3D-capable graphics card - I'm using an NVIDIA GeForce 8200 here). With Compiz 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 8200. It should work the same way with all other NVIDIA graphics cards. Compiz is not supported on GNOME 3 yet, that's why this how-to is applicable only for the classic GNOME desktop. To switch to the classic desktop, log out of your current session and click on the cogwheel icon next to your username in the log-in screen:

Select GNOME Classic from the dropdown-menu and log back in:


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 Additional Drivers tool. The Additional Drivers tool can be started from Applications > System Tools > System Settings > Additional Drivers:

The Additional Drivers tool should tell you that there are NVIDIA graphics drivers available for your system - select the recommended one.

To install it, click on Activate. You will be asked to type in your password afterwards:

The NVIDIA driver is now being downloaded and installed:

The Additional Drivers tool should now tell you that a system restart is required to activate the driver. Click on Close to leave the Additional Drivers tool but don't restart yet:

To make sure that your machine uses the proprietary NVIDIA graphics driver after the reboot, specify them in your xorg.conf file, which is located in /etc/X11. List this directory's contents to see if the file is present:

ls -l /etc/X11

ctest-System-Product-Name X11 # ls -l /etc/X11
total 72
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root  4096 2011-04-26 01:06 app-defaults
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root    14 2011-04-26 01:04 default-display-manager
drwxr-xr-x 4 root root  4096 2011-04-26 01:01 fonts
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 17394 2010-02-19 01:02 rgb.txt
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root    13 2011-09-27 16:10 X -> /usr/bin/Xorg
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root  4096 2011-04-26 01:06 xinit
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root  4096 2011-02-08 14:27 xkb
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root   101 2011-09-29 14:57 xorg.conf
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root   709 2010-11-02 22:17 Xreset
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root  4096 2011-09-28 09:30 Xreset.d
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root  4096 2011-09-28 09:30 Xresources
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  3730 2010-12-02 04:34 Xsession
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root  4096 2011-09-30 15:09 Xsession.d
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root   265 2010-02-19 01:02 Xsession.options
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root   601 2011-04-26 00:55 Xwrapper.config
ctest-System-Product-Name X11 #

If there's no file named like that, create one with

sudo touch /etc/X11/xorg.conf

After you have found the file or created a new one, open it with

sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

If the file already existed, there should be a section called Device in it. Add the line Driver to it just like in the following example. If you created the file yourself, add the whole section to it:

Section "Device"
Identifier "Default Device"
Option "NoLogo" "True"
Driver "nvidia"

Save the file afterwards.

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6 Comment(s)

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By: Albert

You don't need to install a driver for nVidia anymore on Mint 12 (you indeed needed to install a driver on Mint 11 and before). Nouveau works right out-of-the-box and can just run Compiz on any card up to GeForce 405. If it isn't broken, don't try to fix it.

Only on newer cards you still need a driver.

 But indeed, you can install that driver if the performance is not sufficient or the card runs hot.

By: Jeannie

Gnome Classic in Mint 12 is NOT Gnome2, it's Gnome 3 in Fallback mode. Peopel seem not to get this and keep on talking about Gnome 2, but this is simply WRONG, please correct your article.

By: Anonymous

@Jeannie: No need to be abrasive in your comment for an honest mistake on his part. You can offer advice or a correction without hurtful.

By: Anonymous

What are you talking about? Abrasive? Hurtful? Nonsense!

By: Anonymous

I think your terminology is a bit confused here. Mint 12 running Gnome Classic is not running Gnome 2. It is running a layer over Gnome 3. Closer to Gnome 2 is the Mate environment, which is available with Mint 12, but is not completely polished yet.

By: Anonymous

Your tutorial fails at step 1.... there is no "gnome classic option" at log-in :(