Compiz on KDE4.8 – a few details

Just to follow up on my last post, apparently compiz on KDE 4.8 runs as long as you don’t use the KDE/QT Event Loop plugin, but do select the text plugin (CCSM, under image loading).

I don’t know the source of the instability, but if the KDE/QT plugin is selected, the following error is presented:

glibmm-ERROR **: 
unhandled exception (type std::exception) in signal handler:
what: call to empty boost::function

Trace/breakpoint trap (core dumped)

Also worth noting, I had trouble using the default window manager. But, if you place:

/usr/bin/kde4-window-decorator --replace

as the window manager (Compiz Settings Manager -> Window Decoration Plugin -> General Tab -> Command), it seems to work.

I’ll have to explore more, but it does seem to be working, for now.

Compiz works with KDE 4.8!

After waiting what felt like forever, compiz now works again for me with KDE 4.8. (That is to say, it works on Kubuntu 12.04 pangolin current build.)  At least, one of the major bugs (this is the one I filed, after complaining about it here) is fixed, which makes the compiz/KDE combination usable again.  I haven’t tested if some of the panels still do bizarre things like become permanent overlays on the screen, but I’ll get to those later.

In any case, I’m happy enough to be able to use KDE and compiz together again.  You know, I think I’m starting to like Pangolin… and it’s still on the first alpha!

Compiz running on Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric)

NOTE: October 18, 2011.  I see that this page is the top hit on my blog this week.  I think if you’re looking for more up to date information, you should see my current opinion on Compiz on Kubuntu here.

After months of waiting for things to be resolved with the nvidia drivers and such, I finally buckled down to see if I could get compiz running again smoothly on Ubuntu 11.10.  Happily, I can report that the answer is yes!

Using the latest packages, the trick was to follow some advice in this thread.

First, you need to blacklist the nouveau driver.  It hasn’t been working for me, and it has been preventing the nvidia driver from being loaded.

sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

add “blacklist nouveau” to the end of the file, then save and close it.

Next, you do need to update initramfs and  reinstall the nvidia-current driver:

sudo update-initramfs -u -v
sudo apt-get install --reinstall nvidia-current

From that point on, a simple reboot (and making sure that your xorg.conf actually uses the nvidia driver) should be enough to get you back into Xorg with the Nvidia binary blob… and by opening a terminal and typing:

compiz --replace

You should be good to go again. Things appear to be stable, but I’m sure this will need a lot more testing before I switch back to compiz/kde/nvidia as my default setup.

A few notes on Ubuntu 11.04

Right off the bat, I have to say that I’ve been using 11.04 on one of my computers since one of the earliest alpha releases, so I’ve had the opportunity to watch it mature.  It’s something I often do – pick one computer, and use it to test out the new versions of ubuntu, upgrading the packages daily to follow along with the progress of the development. It’s usually a rewarding process, and I enjoy fixing bugs and learning how the operating system components fit together.

This was one of the few times that it was a disappointment for me.

Normally, I’ll start the process a month after the newest release, spending about two months using highly unstable versions, which then improve over time so that nearly all of the bugs are gone about a month before the official release.  This time, the release has come and gone, and my computer still doesn’t feel particularly useful.

Unlike the majority of Ubuntu users, I’m not using the default Ubuntu with Gnome window manager (or is it unity, now?), but rather KDE + Compiz.  Unfortunately, while the KDE version of Ubuntu (Kubuntu) doesn’t appear to get nearly as much attentention from the devs, it usually does march in lockstep, giving reasonable releases that come together at the last minute.  Unusually, compiz just never did come back together for me.  Perhaps it has to do with the upgrades to the xorg packages, but something is just not right when using compiz.

The symptoms are frequent restarts and crashes of the windowing system, in which the CPU usage of compiz soars to 100% and fails to respond to anything short of a the “killl -9” command.  Unfortunately, that makes compiz totally unuseable.  Ironically, it seems to happen only when closing windows, which seems like a strange place for a bug.

The workaround, if it’s actually a work around, is to completely disable compiz, which means switching back to the default KDE window manager.  Fortunately, it’s stable, so at least I can use the computer.  Unfortunately, I find Compiz to be a significant boost to my productivity, with the rotating cube desktop, the scale plugin, etc.  All of those things really make the experience on the computer, so turning all of them off it just unapealing.

In any case, for now, I’ll be staying with 10.10 on my laptops and production computers until compiz is fixed, with the possibility of jumpping straight to 11.10 as soon as that begins if I see compiz gets a bit more of the attention it deserves.

Your milage may vary, but 11.04 isn’t likely to make an appearance on my main computers anytime soon.