Ubuntu – Compiz Problems (Plugin Missing, Performance Issues, Development)


I've recently set up the compiz cube again, and I was very happy to find that that flickering window glitch is gone! However, the cube reflection and deformation plugins are also gone.

I am running a fresh 12.10 install, and I have every compiz plugin package installed (including compiz-plugins-extra, which supposedly contains everything that compiz-fusion-plugins-extra package used to have), but those two plugins are still missing. I haven't been able to find anyone with the same problem.

Any ideas? (thanks!)

Best Answer

If I am allowed, I would like to cover certain doubts and questions in regards to Compiz. I will first start with the original question and add 2 more related sujects in regards to compiz

Compiz Plugins Missing / Theme Decorators

As seen in the following Bug Report and launchpad links HERE and HERE they are part of a much larger group of Addons that still have performance, stability or compatibility issues.

They were removed to assure the end user, that Compiz would have less chance of crashing the system or creating stability issues in general. Although some of them were later implemented, they need proper testing to ensure that when they get added again, they will work correctly. Some might not get added back again, some will do. Others still need more work to let them use less CPU/Memory or create Crashes. The latter is the one that is getting more work since it affects Unity directly.

You can see how everything is coming along here: https://launchpad.net/compiz

And if you look here: https://launchpad.net/compiz/+milestone/

you can see there are more important things to fix before adding new material/plugins again to the code. For example, the most noticeable of all is performance issues which, in past versions took a big chunk of the frames your video card had (And affected Unity's performance at the end).

Compiz Performance

In the past (Ubuntu 11.04 & 11.10), the performance of Compiz (And Unity as a derivative of it) had a performance impact when using low to mid range Video Cards. Even high grade cards felt the impact. With version 12.04, the performance impact was lowered for most users and it was much better than previous versions. This performance was better improved when the 12.10 came, bringing with it a more updated video drivers (Nvidia and Intel specially). More users reported better performance in general. With the 310.xx series of Nvidia for example, users could feel the huge benefit from video performance.

In fact, I did a check with 5 computers, comparing the 306.xx series with the latest 310.xx series and the results were truly 50% better. I actually did not trust the 50% but using Unity with Wine games, OpenGL games or doing a glx or any kind of benchmark (Before and after using the 310.xx series) I could see a general performance boost. The computers I tested were:

  • Nvidia Geforce 8600 GT + Intel Core 2 Duo 7200 + 2GB
  • Nvidia Geforce 9500 + Intel Core 2 Duo 8500 + 4GB
  • Nvidia Geforce 440 + Intel Core 2 Quad Q9500 + 4GB
  • Nvidia Geforce 550 GTX TI + Intel Core i7 2600 + 16GB
  • Nvidia Geforce 560 GTX TI + Intel Core i7 2600 + 16GB

The latest version of Nvidia has an specific improvement for Unity in the last part were it mentions:

Improved performance and responsiveness of windowed OpenGL applications running inside a Unity session

Nvidia is not the only one working to improve the performance in Ubuntu while using Compiz/Unity. Intel with it's latest drivers also improved for users using Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge video technology. (The 3000/4000 series). Apart from this, AMD/Ati is not far behind with much work on the latest proprietary drivers. So basically with the help from several companies in the gaming and hardware world, Unity/Compiz is becoming a much better desktop with performance and stability in mind.

Compiz Performance with OpenGL Apps (Games, 2D, 3D)

Should be mentioned that as part of an ongoing work to improve OpenGL performance, specially with the help from Nvidia, intel and Valve, there has been a lot of work on Compiz and Unity about this. Posts like THIS mention improvements with Compiz of 18%. Between this and the enhancements with Ati, Intel and Nvidia (Nvidia and Intel with performance boosts) you can be sure that performance and stability are #1 with the Compiz project.

Although Plugins come second, they are still worked on if you follow the changelog for Compiz. Apart from this, many performance issues are been worked on for Ubuntu 13.04 (But also for 12.10 and previous active versions) that will come from several parts, including the Linux Kernel 3.8, the Nvidia Drivers, the Intel Stack, the new Ati Drivers, the work done by the Ubuntu Developers in Unity and Compiz and the Testing done by it's users.

Compiz Development Slowed

As some have read, Sam Spilsbury, one of the main Compiz developers left Canonical in pursuit of his university studies (Good decision), but this does not mean Compiz is dead, dying, slowed or other wise. As a matter of fact, Compiz right now has a little over 100+ members related to the Compiz team, of which, 13 are direct ones which are still active and working on either Compiz 0.9.9, Compiz or both.

So this means that there are more developers right now working in Compiz than there were years ago and activity within the Compiz project is not dead at all, so much so that we can see articles that mention Improved gaming performance.

Now, with this is mind, there is also work that has started in relation to Wayland and how it might change the landscape of compiz, Unity and Ubuntu over the following years. There is already talk about Unity moving towards Wayland and how this move is supported more and more over time with all the technical issues surrounding the development of X and the impact Compiz has on some video cards and their performance.

Little by little Ubuntu will be gaining support for Wayland in each new release towards a final goal of switching completely from X to W(ayland).

I hope the users that read this understand all the good news. I wrote all of this to help everyone understand some of the facts about Unity, Compiz and the work done in general.

If you have any additional information please feel free to comment. If you have found bugs, please report them here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/compiz

Hope to help everyone with trouble with compiz. Remember to check Askubuntu for other related Compiz problems or doubts ( Like How to correctly enable Desktop Cube )

Thank you.