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Howto: ATI fglrx driver + Xgl + compiz on Debian Sid for KDE users

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A how-to on manually installing Xgl and compiz on Debian Sid, for KDE users, with the proprietary ATI graphics driver ("fglrx").

Note: This how-to was done with Kanotix, which is very close to stock Debian Sid. I think it'll work on stock Debian Sid, but since I don't have Sid on my spare partition at the moment, I can't test it. If someone here can, it would be much appreciated.

Note: You should already have the fglrx driver installed and enabled before you start installing Xgl.

Note: If you have an nvidia card, AIGLX is a much better way to go than XGL. The new beta nvidia driver, v1.0-9626, supports AIGLX. AIGLX is better for the following reasons: AIGLX is built into X.org (whereas Xgl runs on top of X.org), so it's easy to enable and will get regular updates along with the rest of X.org; and you still get 3D accelleration with AIGLX, meaning you can run, for example, Google Earth (you don't get 3D accelleration with Xgl).

So why not run AIGLX with the ATI driver? Because, as far as I can tell, the proprietary ATI driver doesn't support the "composite" extension. Evidently you can run AIGLX using the non-proprietary "radeon" driver, but it's much slower. So, on my laptop, which has an ATI Radeon Xpress 200M, for example, if I want those fancy desktop effects, I'm stuck with Xgl.

1.Install the following packages from the normal Sid repositories:
libdrm2
libpng3
libxdamage1
libxcomposite1
libxfont1
libglitz1
libglitz-glx1
libgl1-mesa-glx
libfontenc1

Note: Even though compiz packages are in Sid now, they're aimed at GNOME users and don't come with a Preferences utility or a Theme Selector utility. So we'll install a more functional compiz package later.

2. Add to /etc/apt/sources.list:
deb http://cairographics.org/packages/debian/ unstable/
deb-src http://cairographics.org/packages/debian/ unstable/

Then "apt-get update" and install:
libsvg-cairo1
libsvg1

3. Add to /etc/apt/sources.list:
deb http://www5.autistici.org/debian-xgl/debian/ binary-i386/

Then "apt-get update" and install:
xgl
compiz
cgwd-themes

4. Edit /etc/kde3/kdm/kdmrc:
In section "[X-:*-Core]":
change
"ServerCmd=/usr/bin/X -br"
to
"ServerCmd=/usr/bin/Xgl :1 -fp /usr/share/fonts/X11/misc -fullscreen -ac -accel glx:pbuffer -accel xv:pbuffer -br"

Even better, comment out the existing "ServerCmd" so you can go back and forth between Xgl and regular X.

5. Edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf:
In the keyboard section, add: "Option "XkbOptions" "altwin:super_win" "
In the screen section, make sure the default color depth is 24
In the graphics card section, make sure that "sw_cursor" is disabled/commented out

6. Edit /etc/init.d/kdm:
After the "set -e" line, add this line (omit the quotation marks):
"export LIBGL_DRIVERS_PATH=/usr/lib/dri"

At this point, Xgl should be running when you log in to KDE.

7. To start compiz:
Bring up a konsole window and type "compiz-start.py &" You should now have compiz window decorations, wobbly windows, a desktop cube, etc.
You should also have a cgwd icon in your system tray (click on it to set compiz options and select themes!).

In order to start compiz when KDE starts, make a file named "compiz.desktop" with the following text:

[Desktop Entry]
Encoding=UTF-8
Exec=xmodmap -e 'keycode 113 = Mode_switch' -e 'keycode 22 = BackSpace';compiz-start.py
GenericName[en_US]=
StartupNotify=false
Terminal=false
TerminalOptions=
Type=Application
X-KDE-autostart-after=kdesktop

Double-click on it, and the screen should flicker and...you have compiz going, with all the effects (wobbly windows; destop cube; etc.). You should also have an icon in your system tray that allows you to select themes and set preferences.

If you want it to run every time you log into KDE, put it in ~/.kde/Autostart.

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problem with Gtk

I did every step. At my lovely desktop IBM machine it worked. But now i tried it to a laptopt that has an intel videocard it didnt worked.Here is the output when i tried compiz-start.py

/usr/bin/compiz-start.py:199: GtkWarning: Can't set a parent on widget which has a parent

menu.append(item)
compiz: No composite extension
Couldn't load settings. Reverting to defaults.

** (cgwd:3529): WARNING **: Cannot open pixmap: unshade

** (cgwd:3529): WARNING **: Cannot open pixmap: above

** (cgwd:3529): WARNING **: Cannot open pixmap: unabove

** (cgwd:3529): WARNING **: Cannot open pixmap: sticky

** (cgwd:3529): WARNING **: Cannot open pixmap: unsticky

I can see the icon that will show preferences and the seelection at the tray. But there is no compiz effects on the desktop.
I will be happy if you help me.

compiz not installable on Sid

I tried your instructions for installing compiz on Sid. I ran into a dependency problem as the compiz package requires libdbus-1-2, but Sid only has libdbus-1-3 and dpkg/apt-get doesn't recognize it as fulfilling the dependency.

Any ideas as to if compiz will work with libdbus-1-3?

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