What is Compiz?

Compiz is a window manager, that means it takes care of all the basic needs to interact with the windows on your desktop - like moving, minimizing and resizing.

In GNOME the default window manager is Metacity. Most people won't have even heard about it, because it's integrated in the desktop environment and its name is nowhere mentioned.

This results in the fact that the usual user isn't aware of the mere existing of such software or rather that it's a separated application that can be replaced like any other on Linux.

The bottom line is: Ubuntu's desktop effects are not just an enhancement of the desktop environment but it replaces a specific part of it. Compiz has been integrated very well in the GNOME desktop of Ubuntu. Just like GNOME obscured the existence of Metacity, many people won't know they're running Compiz on Gutsy.
Certain options of Compiz can be configured directly through the panel menu of GNOME in Gutsy.

None of those entries are specifically related to desktop effects.
While the brand new Appearance menu combines a couple of previously separate settings menus, the last two entries were until now exclusively to configure Metacity.

Furthermore if you install the CompizConfig Settings Manager provided by the Compiz Fusion project, you will get an entry in the panel menu, named "Advanced Desktop Effects Settings"
The tab for the effects in the new Appearance menu introduced in Gutsy, replaces the separate Desktop Effects application of Feisty. The second screenshot demonstrates how the menu gets altered automatically, when the CompizConfig Settings Manager is installed.


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