Maintainers for the unsupported plugins

I’m looking for people who are willing to step up and maintain some of the compiz plugins which we do not enable by default in Unity. These include:

  • cubeaddon
  • animation*
  • wobbly
  • group
  • etc

I won’t remove these plugins from the source tree because I’m all for people using what they want, but its becoming increasingly difficult for Daniel and I to keep these plugins up to date. At the moment, if we need to make an important API change and it would be non-trivial to update a plugin which is not used in Unity, that plugin is disabled for building.

I think our history is important, and there are people out there who would be willing to keep them alive. If there aren’t, then I’m happy to leave them disabled until we get time to continue maintaining them or someone else steps up.

If there’s a plugin that you really love that isn’t supported in the Unity usecase, and you want to maintain it across API breaks, hop onto #compiz-dev on freenode, send me an email or contact compiz-team on launchpad and let us know. While we might not have time to actually do the maintenance, I’m very willing to help and give advice to people who want to step up and do it. Love to have you on board.

28 thoughts on “Maintainers for the unsupported plugins

  1. Compiz amd unity are great, I love them and they are the main reason why I leave Mac to Ubuntu, there is just a request I need to do to you: please, make it lighter and faster! Is great but is incredibly slow comparing to kde and gnome shell, Ubuntu 12.10 is really slow. New features are awesome, but are not the only important thing, faster and lighter, please, and unity will be just nothing but perfect 🙂

    1. Sure.

      Generally speaking you’ll only really need to know your way around C++. For some of the more complex plugins, a good understanding of graphics math and linear algebra is useful, especially plugins that make heavy use of vertex transformations. Very few of the plugins use openGL directly. You’ll know instantly when you see it.

      I’m always available on #compiz-dev and #ubuntu-desktop . We use a code-review process in launchpad and require anything that touches the default usecase in ubuntu to come with unit tests (unless explicitly excepted).

  2. Oh my God, not Wobbly Windows?! Please, it would be like losing a right leg!

    OK, OK, so maybe I don’t walk that far on a daily basis…but, you know, it would be really inconvenient to lose it. For me, it’s one of those beautiful and ‘soothing’ effects that give Ubuntu it’s flavour.

    Quite seriously, I think I’d probably rather not move on to new versions of Ubuntu if wobbly were not available in the next version.

    1. I have been using Compiz / Beryl for over six years. Compiz attracted me to Linux along with wobbly windows. If wobbly becomes deprecated, I will be in agreement with you that future Ubuntu releases will become a thing of the past. So sad and disheartening. Very bad move Canonical. I don’t think you realize the demographic of people whom use wobbly windows.

      1. Hmm, I think you misunderstand my point.

        Wobbly windows are still enabled in the source tree, and at least some of the more popular non-unity effects are still being maintained and kept up to date.


        Maintaining this stuff is a huge drag on our development manpower. Finding people to work on compiz is hard, and at the moment there are only two full-time maintainers. Our to priorities right now are fixing bugs, updating core to work with the evolving desktop architecture and making compiz scream performance wise (I’ll post a bit on this in a while). We’ll keep maintaining the more popular stuff (as we already do now), but I’m looking for people who would be willing to maintain the stuff we don’t enable by default. If there is such a strong base of users who love this stuff, then there must be someone out there who would be willing to volunteer to keep it up to date.

        So. Are there?

        1. Definitely understandable, compiz is a huge/complex codebase and you guys have been doing a lot of hard work re-writing it and whipping it into shape. I agree you should focus on making the core stuff as good as it can be instead of trying to maintain every plugin under the sun.

      2. Compiz is a great window manager. I don’t understand how people can chalk it up to being purely for wobbly windows. If you’ve ever run standalone Compiz, you know how powerful (and lean) it is and how insignificant the wobbly windows plugin really ends up being, when compared to the entire package.

        I’m not saying that it doesn’t deserve to be maintained, simply that it should not be treated with some illogical priority. Compiz and its basic components come first. If it’s so important, people would be stepping up to Sam’s request.

        Anyhow- the demographic requiring wobbly windows are generally people who only want to use it as some weird form of bragging rights. Despite what a few noobs would have us believe, showing off wobbly windows on YouTube or in your local coffee shop is not the best way to prove that desktop linux is ready for mainstream and to many folks who choose to leave it disabled, it just makes you look pretentious.

        Just sayin, don’t rag on the devs because of something so trivial. They’re doing the best they can.

        1. Really don’t think anyone was “ragging on the devs” – certainly not me, the OP of this section of comments……. I *love* the devs, and everything that they have done. Even on Ubuntu 12.04, Unity & Ubuntu Tweaks don’t deliver the features I need to make my desktop behave itself – they all come from CCSM. But the “feel” of Wobbly Windows – which I’ve never shown off to friends of posted to Youtube – provides an indescribeable “softness” to the desktop during my workday which I believe to be one of several important factors of why I choose to work in a Linux workspace rather than a Windows one.

          I’d offer to help – and I have a history of providing free services to projects I enjoy – but I have only ever coded in PHP, MySQL, and Javascript. I have a feeling that I wouldn’t be much use to the Compiz team….. and to achieve the level of performance that they’re after would require a reasonably high level of C++ competence methinks!

          So…turning your comment back on itself – please don’t rag on peoples failure to offer help to the project… it may well be that they don’t have the skillset to support what they love. I would give a few hours a week if I were able to. 😉

          PS. Absolutely no animosity intended here – I have nothing but respect for the Compiz team and the features they have provided for such a long time, and genuinely

        1. I’m with Tony on this. It’s not for bragging rights, I just think wobbly windows makes the experience a little more visceral and I like it for that.

    2. Hey, why don’t you give Manjaro Linux a try… specially the XFCE version, the repos have Compiz and all the plugins, I have been using it for a while and it works great! (XFCE + Compiz is a great couple) it does not only have wobbly windows but also all the other astonishing effects, and I must say wobbly windowsw is my preferred.

  3. I’m surprised that since compiz’s performance (comparatively) is getting so much flack from people, and since compiz is the backend of Ubuntu’s signature system, that they would try to hire some compiz developers to help you out. I’m not necessarily talking about helping with these plugins, but for bug fixing and optimizing in general. I think you guys are doing a great job, but Canonical needs to do it’s job by putting out job listings and spending some money to help themselves out. I guarantee they are paying many people to do less important things.

  4. Does anyone know how to install the latest version of Compiz on Debian sid? I can’t find any packages, and if I try to compile from source then Compiz complains that a library is missing…

  5. Hi, just upgraded to 12.10 BETA 2. Is there a way to install the Reflection and Deformation plugin on 12.10 at all? Even some kind of beta version? When I rotate the cube with 3D windows enabled there are “copies” of my open windows floating outside of the cube to the left and to the right. Very weird. I’m thinking playing around with the deformation settings might fix it up a bit. Thanks!

  6. Hi Sam, I sincerely want to thank you for compiz , your work on it, as well as those from the past and those who may see this post and be able to assist. I use cairo-dock and compiz to run my 12.04 with unity disabled and it is fantastic, fast and fewer crashes than unity enabled. I have the belief that the problem is not compiz, but unity. ( realizing that unity is a work in progress, and is coming along) But , I would choose compiz over unity if that choice were mine to make. Sam , thank you so very much, again. It cannot be said to you , enough !

  7. @alex, to get compiz 0.9.8 running on debian sid requires quite a bit of effort. you’ll need to get a harfbuzz-enabled pangocairo, etc. i recommend you try the SprezzOS APT source. run:

    wget -O- | apt-key add –

    then add to sources:

    deb unstable main non-free contrib
    deb-src unstable main

    with that done and mesa9 built, time to hop on #compiz-dev and mash some GLFragments and GLPrograms into a working wallpaper plugin… debian-4-life! 😀

  8. Hello smspillaz,

    Can you please point me to some updated resources where I could read some instructions on how to get and setup a build environment for compiz?

    Thank you,

    1. I can just put it here (assuming ubuntu, other distros similar)

      sudo apt-get build-dep compiz
      bzr branch lp:compiz
      mkdir build; cd build; cmake ..
      make && make install

      1. Hi Sam,

        about 8 months ago I spent a good 3 days trying to get involved in the compiz project; I had a particular bug (that persists to this day!) that I wanted to fix, having filed a bug report. At the time, it was impossible to figure out where compiz development was happening. IRC was terse and silent; I was up at odd hours at the time. The compiz website was less than useless: it was wrong! I had no idea which git to clone. The compiz website was extremely out of date.

        After 3 days of monkeying around, I gave up.

        I love Compiz, and I want to help. But entry into the project was nigh impossible. It appears from this reply that it is in fact very easy now. But looking again at,
        it STILL is horribly out of date and makes it SEEM impossible to join development.

        I appreciate and agree that you should dial back on the insane amount of plugins
        currently. Stuff is broken, and there isn’t time for the maintainers to fix it. But it should be
        a huge priority (ESPECIALLY now that you are dialing back and asking for community
        support) that you make entry much, much easier.

        Do me a huge favor. Change the homepage of to say something like:

        (date here)
        sudo apt-get build-dep compiz
        bzr branch lp:compiz
        mkdir build; cd build; cmake ..
        make && make install

        Make it ugly and bold and underlined and in red font so that everyone sees it. It will have to do until someone fixes the website proper.

        I’m going to try working on my bug again. But I want to stress that most people will NOT work this hard to try to get started helping on a project. I believe that the community is there for you, but the information on how to get _started_ isn’t. Change that.


  9. Hello. A lot of the people I know who have switched to linux or tried to do so (though there aren’t too many of them) do so because they realize linux can do things other OSes can’t. And windows can do most things linux can do, albeit badly. Windows cannot do wobbly windows or the desktop cube, and hence it is things like those that attract people to linux. And attracting users to linux means a greater userbase, which is generally a good thing when talking things like bug reports etc.
    I think it would be a shame if compiz were only used for the ordinary “boring” tasks like the desktop wall etc.
    After typing all this I suddenly noticed that your blogpost mentions irc. I should probably go there to ask any questions about development etc…


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