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HandyLinux & Compiz 3D

compiz : le cube compiz : exposé

Compiz is a free compositing window manager that has revolutionized the desktop environment of the X server, especially on Linux distributions. Compiz enables advanced graphics effects like transparency, 3D effects and shadows. Compiz composes display by exploiting hardware acceleration available on the graphics card.(as wikipedia says).

To take advantage of this session on HandyLinux, you can directly use the integrated Compiz version or add Compiz to your XFCE session.

HandyLinux-Compiz comes with a default configuration including the following characteristics:

  • 4 virtual desktops available,
  • “Expo” function to display virtual desktops together, available on the upper right corner of your screen,
  • Independent “Compiz-deskmenu” on the upper left corner of your screen or through shortcuts [Super]+[Space] or [Super]+left-click,
  • A taskbar managed by lxpanel with comparable classic XFCE menu, handy-menu launcher, button to navigate his personnel file, open windows list, volume control applet, system tray and clock.
    This panel is configurable with a right-click as xfce4-panel, very intuitive using,
  • Four virtual desktops around a swivel cube when the pointer approaches the edge of a screen, or with keyboard+mouse shortcut: [Ctrl]+[Alt]+Left maintained click,
  • Complete configuration managers for Compiz and Emerald allow you to change the setting at any time,
  • A complete XFCE environment integration through fusion-icon, this little applet allows you to change window manager with one click without leaving your session.

a little video preview ?

Prerequisites: Compiz session involves enabling graphics acceleration. Most of graphics cards are supported natively. Sometimes you may need to install propriatory drivers to enable hardware acceleration. Go on forum if you have any questions.


This version directly includes a Compiz session in addition to the XFCE base session: Compiz is available directly as independent session from the Connection Manager (Slim) or as overlay to your HandyLinux XFCE desktop with fusion-icon. In independent session mode, Compiz comes with lxpanel taskbar (xfce4-panel is not fully fonctionnal out of XFCE) and benefits of the independent menu Compiz-deskmenu.

This release is based on HandyLinux-1.6.1 : if you have installed HandyLinux-1.7, you have to add compiz session.

lxpanel on Compiz Compiz-deskmenu

Download HandyLinux-Compiz

HandyLinux-Compiz comes with two versions as for the base distribution: 486 (for old computers) and 686-pae (for modern computers).

Installing HandyLinux-Compiz

installation method is exactly the same as HandyLinux, so I leave you with the main installation documentation.

Adding Compiz session

To access this new feature without reinstalling, just add the Compiz session to your existing HandyLinux setup.
Compiz is not present in Debian Stable repository. So I copied the compiz packages from Debian snapshot to build a specific repository for HandyLinux offering the needed packages to install a Compiz session and Emerald window decorator.

Adding HandyLinux-Compiz repository

To use this repository, you must add it to your list of HandyLinux deposits located in /etc/apt/sources.list.d/handylinux.list, simply with your text editor and a terminal because the system files will be changed. These deposits are secured and signed, you can go there with confidence.
Open your terminal (HandyMenu > Raiders > Terminal) launch the command

gksudo leafpad /etc/apt/sources.list.d/handylinux.list

Once your list opened, add the address line of the repository

deb compiz main

or faster with the terminal, launch directly

echo "deb compiz main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/handylinux.list

Installing Compiz

Now that your deposits are activated, they need to be updated and we have to install essential packages. As usual, two methods: the mouse or keyboard.

Graphical method

  • Open your Synaptic package manager: HandyMenu > Raiders > List of Applications > System > Synaptic package manager.
  • Click on “Reload” for a list of new packages available.
  • Search for “handylinux-compiz” package, right-click and “select for installation”. Synaptic will ask you to confirm the installation of the dependent packages, accept.
  • If you wish to have an independent Compiz session directly accessible from your login manager, find the package “handylinux-compiz-session” and select it to install.
  • Click on the green “Apply” icon in Synaptic menu bar and accept the installation of additional packages.

With terminal

  • Open your terminal : HandyMenu > Raiders > Terminal and launch the command
    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install handylinux-compiz

    or if you wish to have independent Compiz session directly available from your your connection manager,

    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install handylinux-compiz handylinux-compiz-session

Last setups

The package compiz-handylinux comes with a preset for compiz (window manager) and emerald (the window decorator). But compiz does not use XFCE defined preferences in “independent session”. So use lxappearance to start again themes and user interface. Lxappearance is not displayed in the list of XFCE applications, so you have to run it from the minimum runtime interface:

  • Simultaneously press the [Alt] + [F2] on your keyboard to display the launcher.
  • Type the command “lxappearance” then [Enter] to configure your interface.

and voila

Now just log out (rebooting is not required) to take advantage of compiz in your overcoat HandyLinux XFCE.
If you have installed “handylinux-compiz-session” to enjoy an independent session, there is a manipulation to do: add the session to Slim. For direct access to Compiz from Slim, we use SlimConf and add the session as follows: Save, quit, log out, enjoy :)

Enjoy Compiz-HandyLinux

  • The Compiz session is available directly from your connection manager with Slim if you install Compiz-HandyLinux or if you added “handylinux-compiz-session”. To take advantage of the independent Compiz session, Press the [F1] key while your connection and choose “compiz-session” by scrolling through the sessions, always pressing the [F1] key. Note that this session is not using the XFCE panel but Lxpanel, a task bar configurable and independent. You can not use desktop launchers (Compiz has no “office”).
  • To keep your XFCE preferences (launchers on the desktop, XFCE4-panel …), leave the session start by default (without pressing [F1]) and choose from compiz or xfwm4 control applet fusion-icon located in your system tray.

Configuring Compiz

Preferences go through the configuration Compiz manager CCSM and Emerald Theme Manager. These applications are available from the Applications list, from the applet fusion-icon on your system tray (in XFCE session) and from the compiz-deskmenu menu available on the Compiz session ([Super]+[Space] or top left corner of the screen when hovering).

If you chose the independent session, the startup items are not supported by XFCE but by a system script. To change the applications launched by the compiz session, open a terminal and issue the command:

gksudo leafpad /usr/bin/compiz-session

This command will open the startup script of the compiz session with your text editor. Add, remove what you want, then log back in to see the changes. Your password will be requested. In case of error or mishandling, you can still log in to your XFCE session to modify your startup script “compiz-session”.


HandyLinux-Compiz comes with a default configuration similar to the conventional HandyLinux desktop. To change these settings, we will use CompizConfig Settings Manager, the Compiz configuration manager. This software is fed with options but everything is simple and the changes are immediately visible on your environment.
CCSM is available from the Applications list, the menu compiz-deskmenu “config” section, on the lxpanel menu available in independent session or from Compiz fusion-icon available in the notification area.

appfinder : ccsm deskmenu : ccsm lxpanel : ccsm fusion-icon : ccsm

ccsm CCSM presents its options by categories, which makes it easy given the number of options presented.
For a detailed review, wait a bit, but you can already see the options simply by testing ;)
FIXME : add CCSM detail review in a dedicated page


Emerald is the software that decorates your windows. HandyLinux-Compiz comes with a serie of different themes but offers HandyLinux default colors theme too. To change your Emerald theme, direction emerald-theme-manager from the Applications list, the compiz-deskmenu menu, the lxpanel menu or the fusion-icon in the notification area:

lxpanel : emerald deskmenu : emerald lxpanel : emerald

Emerald theme manager Note that the emerald theme manager change the decor of the compiz session only. If you selected 'xfwm4' as a window manager from fusion-icon, you will not see the changes.

Emerald-Theme-Manager can not only manage your Emerald themes, but also allows you to import other themes (the “import” button), change (the “edit” button), save and export your themes.


Compiz-Deskmenu is a menu built at the base for compiz, but it can be integrated with all window managers for a primary or secondary menu, launched from a panel/launcher, combined with a keyboard shortcut, or action mouse on the desktop (right-click as openbox menu). On HandyLinux-Compiz, it is accessible from the top left corner of your screen, the keyboard shortcuts [Super]+[Space] or from the keyboard/mouse shortcut [Super]+left-click.

Compiz-Deskmenu includes its own graphical tool, available from the configuration menu itself or by running “compiz-deskmenu-editor” command from a terminal.

deskmenu config deskmenu mod item

The Compiz-deskmenu brings classic applications included in HandyLinux. It is not self-generated, meaning that if you install a new application, it will not be automatically added to the menu: you will have to add it yourself if necessary.
You can also use this menu and change it to show your favorite applications in a column as in this example: deskmenu mini config

Remove Compiz

HandyMenu > Raiders > Terminal …

sudo apt-get remove --purge handylinux-compiz handylinux-compiz-session compiz* emerald*
handylinuxcompiz.txt · Last modified: 2017/01/14 03:01 (external edit)