fixing problems with Compiz on openSuse 11.1

The OpenSuse Linux distro got a major update to version 11.1 a few days ago.  While I’m still an Ubuntu fan, I decided to try out the latest version of openSuse. I’ve heard a lot of good things about that distro and it certainly doesn’t hurt that openSuse team can count on the corporate backing and support of Novell.   Novell sells Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) and Suse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), which closely follows the cutting-edge openSuse distro.

However, I’ve ran into numerous annoyances with openSuse (which I’m not going into details here) which were at times difficult and time-consuming to resolve.  While none of these problems were major roadblocks or prevented me from using the system, I still have much higer expectations of modern Linux Desktop environments nowadays since they are all trying to target the general non-technie populace, instead of the hacker minority.  For newcomers to the Linux desktop, I would still highly recommend Ubuntu since I rarely ran into problems that weren’t easily resolved.  I’ve been very impressed with Ubuntu because “it just works.”

While I use the CLI (command-line interface) often, I also like my eye candy.  On Desktop Linux distros, the software responsible for the fancy graphical interface that can do all sort of nifty things is called Compiz.  I ran into problems using Compiz on openSuse and after some research, came across this:

[ Try these steps to get Nvidia drivers and Compiz running

1. one-click install Nvidia drivers from OpenSUSE website
2. reboot (with new kernel if updated)
3. as root in terminal: rcxdm stop , sax2 -r -m 0=nvidia
(zero not the letter o)
4. Change configuration, select right monitor and resolution, save and exit
4. rcxdm start
5. In a terminal, run nvidia-settings as root
9. exit to your user login inside terminal: simple-ccsm and turn on ‘Enable desktop effects’

You should start to see the full special effects of Compiz.

If the one-click installation of Nvidia drivers doesn’t work, try these steps instead.]

Compiz on openSUSE 11.1
by cyberorg, Thursday, December 4th, 2008 @ 3:31 pm

Although openSUSE 11.1 is almost ready, Compiz that is in it is still not there yet. If you run into some of the remaining annoyances, here is how to get Compiz Fusion bliss on openSUSE 11.1.

Add X11:XGL repository that contains compiz without NOMAD patches
zypper ar X11:XGL

Update all compiz packages from that repo
zypper up -t package -r X11:XGL

After making sure compiz is switched off and disabled, remove old configuration:
rm -rf /home/your-username/.config/compiz
Launch simple-ccsm and enable Compiz.

Hopefully, this will provide a short-term solution to getting compiz from freezing or muckling up the X display until a long term solution is devised and included as the default in openSuse.

Off the subject note: What do I think of openSuse Desktop environment when compared to Ubuntu Desktop?  The only major differences between them are the package repositories management and menu layout.  While these distros have different package repo management, they are both excellent and execute very well (as long as I don’t have to struggle with package dependencies and these are resolved for me automatically).  Menu layout is pretty much a matter of personal taste.  Everything else with the distros is pretty much the same.  Which is why I think it’s critical for openSuse to make absolutely sure that their distro doesn’t cause all sort of small and irriating problems that have to be cleaned up by the user.  Ubuntu distro is hands-down beating them in this usability area.

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