Enabling Ubuntu compiz 3D cube Desktop Effect

If you ever get bored of your ordinary default Ubuntu desktop or you feel that you do not utilize your Graphic card the way you should, you can try to enable Ubuntu compiz 3D cube Desktop Effect the give your desktop an extra spark. This article will provide you with a step-by-step configuration on how to enable Ubuntu compiz 3D cube Desktop Effect.

Step 1: Installation of VGA driver

You may skip this step if you have already installed restricted display drivers from Ubuntu’s PPA repository. This step is optional even with a default Ubuntu installation. I recommend to proceed with Step 2 and let Ubuntu system will attempt to detect your VGA card and install appropriate VGA drivers for your card automatically. If that fails come back to Step 1 and do it manually as described below.

Installation of nVidia restricted driver

First add ubuntu PPA repository:

$ sudo add-apt-repository \
$ sudo apt-get update

At this point install nvidia driver using apt-get command:

$ sudo apt-get install nvidia-current \
nvidia-current-modaliases nvidia-settings
$ sudo nvidia-xconfig

Installation of ATI driver

A complete installation guide for ATI graphic cards can be found here:


Step 2: Enable Ubuntu’s extra visual effects

At this point we should be able to enable extra visual effects for a gnome desktop. Navigate to:

System -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Visual Effects

and enable Extra radio button:

Extra: Provides more aesthetically pleasing set of effects. Requires faster graphics card.

Enable Ubuntu's extra visual effects

If you skipped Step 1 you will now be guided through graphic cards driver installation. Once installation is complete reboot your system the get new drivers take effect.

Step 3: Installation of Ubuntu compiz 3D cube desktop effect

At this point we can install compiz extra plugin and compiz simple manager to enable compiz 3D cube desktop effect. This requires installation of following packages:

  • simple-ccsm
  • compiz-fusion-plugins-extra

Execute the command below to start installation of above packages:

apt-get install simple-ccsm compiz-fusion-plugins-extra

Step 4: Enable Ubuntu compiz 3D cube desktop effect

At this stage we are ready to enable Ubuntu compiz 3D cube desktop effect by navigating to:

System -> Preferences -> Simple CompizConfig Setting Manager -> Desktop -> Appearance -> Desktop Cube

Ubuntu compiz 3D cube desktop effect

Now to rotate your compiz 3D cube press CTRL + ALT + Left Mouse click anywhere on your desktop. By moving your mouse you start rotate your cylinder which is a default effect for your 3D “cube”:

compiz ubuntu cilinder effect

To get a Ubuntu compiz 3D cube effect navigate to:

System -> Preferences -> Simple CompizConfig Setting Manager -> Effects -> Cube Effects -> Deformation -> None

enable ubuntu compiz cube 3d effect

At this point you will have a fully functional cube:

ubuntu compiz cube effect enabled

Compiz effects

This is just a simple default compiz settings. Feel free to explore more compiz effects by navigating to:

System -> Preferences -> CompizConfig Setting Manager