Compiz Fusion Is Not Ready for Prime Time

As soon as Ubuntu Gutsy came out I started playing with Compiz Fusion. Everybody speaks about desktop compositing these days and YouTube is full of these flashy videos demoing it. As an early adopter I had to try it.

The installation was a nightmare because I couldn't make my NVidia driver work with CF. I could only see white textures everywhere in the beginning. Later on I was told at #compiz-fusion that I shouldn't use the proprietary NVidia driver. I've tried to install the standard Ubuntu NVidia driver numerous times only to find out that there's API mismatch between the installed NVidia driver and the standard Ubuntu kernel. Finally I was able to set CF up with some much-needed help from #compiz-fusion. Thanks guys, great support!

Here's my conclusion. Despite what others say CF is not ready for production use yet. It locked up my box a couple of times so hardcore that I couldn't even SSH to it. Apart from the above unpleasant experiences it certainly gives a smooth feeling to the desktop user. Although I think that the vast majority of the effects that CF provides is pure chrome, there are certainly some features improving the usability. I really loved the Wall, the Exposé-like Scale and the ultra smooth Application Switcher.

After giving it some weeks, it's time to go back to Metacity. It was hard to leave CF, but I demand a rock solid desktop so it has no place on my box yet. There are also some apps that don't play nice with CF. I don't wanna blame the CF developers because of the constant lock-ups as it could also be the fault of my NVidia driver despite I use the latest version. I'll give CF another try when Hardy will come out, but I certainly don't wanna waste my time with it for a while until it gets more stable.

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