Yesterday I went through how you can enable restricted drivers in Ubuntu 7.10, but that was only part of my struggle while trying to get Compiz Fusion turned on. Enabling the advanced graphics should technically have been a piece of cake after getting my 3D-enabled ATI drivers installed on my ATI X1400 graphics card, but that wasn’t exactly the case.

I went to System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Visual Effects and tried filling in the Extra bubble. That should have worked, but instead of being overwhelmed with the amazing eye candy that Compiz Fusion brings I was presented with an error message stating that “The composite extension is not available“. And I had my hopes up. *sigh*

I went hunting around the Ubuntu forum to see if I was alone in experiencing such an issue, and it turns out I wasn’t. There were a lot of people trying to figure out how to work around the problem, but one member hit it right on the dot. Here’s what I had to do:

  1. Go to System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager. This is going to be used to install two packages that you’ll need to have.
  2. The first package that you’ll need to search for is xserver-xgl, and check the box next to it.
    Ubuntu Install Xserver-XGL
  3. Now do another search for compizconfig-settings-manager, which isn’t needed but might as well be installed. This provides a user interface for configuring the different settings of Compiz Fusion.
    Ubuntu Install CompizConfig Settings Manager
  4. Go back to System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Visual Effects and fill in the Effects bubble.
    Enable Compiz Fusion in Ubuntu
  5. You may need to restart Ubuntu, but after that you can use Compiz Fusion in all its glory!

I plan on writing up a review of several Compiz Fusion features later on, and I’ll admit that it is worth any extra work you need to do to get it running. Don’t forget that you installed the Compiz Settings Manager in step 3 which provides an interface for configuring the different Compiz Fusion plugins. That can be accessed by going to System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Advanced Desktop Effects Settings:

Compiz Fusion Settings Manager