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I had a pretty non-technical summer. I did an MBA internship that was more businessy than techy. So, I haven’t had any technical adventures worthy of a story, until now.

Rotating Cube Desktop on Ubuntu 8.04.1 (Hardy Heron) using Compiz Fusion

nce upon a time I bought a new computer and had an old computer to do whatever I wanted with. It became my just-for-fun computer. First it was a Red Hat server that hosted my old website, then a Windows 2000 server that hosted my website, and eventually a test box for whatever distro of Linux I wanted to try out. But, now it’s an Ubuntu box, because I love Ubuntu, and because I can try out any other distro on my laptop using a LiveCD or VirtualBox.

Awhile back I was impressed by the the visual effects of my friend’s computer running Beryl (which has since become Compiz Fusion), and I’ve always wanted to get that running too. But between getting married, and going back to grad school, I just haven’t had the time or inclination to hunker down and figure it out. But last night I couldn’t sleep and I thought, why the heck not. So, here is how you set up your Ubuntu 8.04.1 desktop so that you can rotate it like a cube. Things you need: an Ubuntu installation, and a semi-respectable video card (like 32M minimum)

  1. Open Hardware Drivers and make sure your proprietary drivers are enabled (System>Administration>Hardware Drivers)
  2. Open Apperance and set Visual Effects to Extra. This will also test whether your Ubuntu installation can use Compiz (System>Preferences>Apperance>Visual Effects tab, choose Extra, if the system kicks up no errors, you’re good)
  3. Open Add/Remove and install the Advanced Desktop Effects Settings (Applications>Add/Remove, show “All available applications”, seach “Compiz”, check the box and Apply Changes)
  4. Open Advanced Desktop Effects Settings (System>Preferences>Advanced Desktop Effects) and check “Desktop Cube” (agree to disable Desktop Wall if it pops up), click on Desktop Cube>Transparent Cube tab and change Opacity During Rotation to 20.
  5. Click Back then check “Rotate Cube”
  6. Click General Options>Desktop Size tab and change Horizontal Virtual Size to 4.
  7. Now that your basics are set up, rotate the Cube by holding down the middle button on your mouse and dragging.
  8. Play around with any other options you want to.
  9. Show your friends.
And they all lived happily ever after. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
UPDATE: This appears to work with Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) as well. Some of the names are slightly different, but close enough.

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