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Compiz vs Ubuntu Classic Desktop December 1, 2010

Posted by jdstrand in ubuntu.

I am running the development version of Ubuntu (the Natty Narwhal). I’ve tried the Unity desktop (and will continue to do so) but for reasons I won’t go into here, I need to use the Ubuntu Classic Desktop for now. After today’s update I could no longer login to a functional Ubuntu Classic Desktop because of bug #683686. There were a number of things that went wrong and I wasted an hour on trying to work it out (thank you to didrocks and seb128 for helping me). Here is what I’ve learned:

  • Do not disable the Unity plugin in CompizConfig Settings Manager while in Unity (or enable it when not in Unity)
  • To use Unity, login to GDM with ‘Ubuntu Desktop’
  • To use the traditional desktop, login to GDM with ‘Ubuntu Classic Desktop’
  • If after logging in to the Ubuntu Classic Desktop your window manager does not start, this might be bug #683686. To work around it, logout, move your ~/.config/compiz-1 aside (logging into a console first), then log back in with GDM like normal. This bug is actively being worked on.
  • There is a known bug with compiz and the gnome-panel that may cause applets to not load. Logging out and back in again usually solves this. This bug is actively being worked on.

Hope this helps anyone suffering from the same problems I did. Please file bugs if you are having other problems with Compiz, Unity or the Ubuntu Classic Desktop.


1. Jason - December 1, 2010

“Do not disable the Unity plugin in CompizConfig Settings Manager while in Unity (or enable it when not in Unity)”

Erm, that means it will be forever enabled, or forever disabled with no opportunity to switch from state to the other… something not right with that statement.

jdstrand - December 1, 2010

The statement is correct per didrocks. As of recently (gnome-session 2.32.1-0ubuntu2), you are intended to use GDM and select either ‘Ubuntu Desktop’ (aka Unity) or ‘Ubuntu Classic Desktop’ (the traditional gnome desktop). It is my understanding that work is being done to enforce this behavior so others don’t shoot themselves in the foot like I did.

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