Quick Fix: Natty, Ubuntu Classic and Compiz

If you’re reading this, you must be a Unity reject: the ones who upgraded to Natty and are now left in the cold after being told their hardware’s just too yesterday. If you’re beginning to miss your wobbly windows and other frills on Ubuntu Classic, give this quick hack a try:

  1. Get rid of unity-window-decorator:
    sudo killall unity-window-decorator

    If you get a message saying unity-window-decorator: no process found, it means the decorator isn’t running, move on.

  2. Get back gtk-window-decorator:
    • Start CompizConfig Settings Manager: ccsm
    • Open up the Window Decoration settings
    • Change Command to: gtk-window-decorator --replace
    • Close CompizConfig Settings Manager

    You can configure your old frills and see them in action now. All that’s left is making sure everything remains frilly after the next reboot.

  3. Set up fusion-icon:
    • Install:
      sudo apt-get install fusion-icon
    • Start:

      You’ll see a cool icon in your notification area; right click on it and ensure the Select Window Manager setting is Compiz and the Select Window Decorator setting is GTK Window Decorator.

    • Set fusion-icon as a startup application:

      System ā†’ Preferences ā†’ Startup Applications ā†’ Add; then enter the values:

      • Name: fusion
      • Command: fusion-icon --sleep 5
      • Comment: Start fusion-icon with a delay of 5 seconds after startup

Test the setup on the next reboot: you’ll notice a slight flash in the first few seconds; this is fusion-icon starting the Compiz window manager, pretend you didn’t notice. I guess this quick fix should hold up until we get some real ones from the Compiz/Unity guys.

8 responses to “Quick Fix: Natty, Ubuntu Classic and Compiz

  1. More details: trying this under gdb looks like gtk-window-decorator segfaults on gwd_get_decor_frame
    $ gdb –args gtk-window-decorator –replace

    ** (gtk-window-decorator:5444): CRITICAL **: Could not find frame info p.\u0016\u0008\u0001 in frame type table

    Program received signal SIGSEGV, Segmentation fault.
    0x080527e8 in gwd_get_decor_frame ()

    This bug seems to be documented here:

  2. FYI ubuntu forums seem to be familiar with the window menu problem.
    It seems to be a crash of gtk-window-decorator. The proposed solution is to use compiz-decorator instead. Just tried it out and cannot reproduce the crash, so this may have really “fixed” it

  3. Just found your instructions and followed them. One problem I can no longer grab and move windows.
    Haven’t got a clue where to start debugging.

  4. Pingback: Enabling compiz and all its effects in Natty narwhal ( I hate Unity!!!) | Siva's Tech Tips N' More

  5. Yeah I think that it is the gtk-window-decorator. I am running classic with the unity plugin disabled and the latest compiz. I actually had a bit of a crash (I screwed with something up in one of he compiz plugins [reflection] and everything went black — had to do a upgrade from 11.04 to 11.04 from an install disk to get everything working. )

    I changed to a theme that does not have a window menu icon. The problem does seem to occur without compiz installed, so it is likely gtk, as the unity decorator was not reinstalled when I “upgraded” from the install disk and it was still running gtk as the window decorator.

  6. Thanks for this, Unity was crashing my system with compiz configured. I have one concern. When I set this up window decorations die every time I click on the Window Menu icon instead of right clicking the title bar — they reappear when I uncheck and recheck window decorations in the settings manager, or restart the compiz window manager. Is there a conflict I can fix? Or reset the mouse action somewhere? I.e. this a bug or a feature?

    • It really looks like a bug, one of many. Unfortunately I can’t replicate this and figure out what’s happening because my hard drive crashed just yesterday, so you’ll have to help me out.

      1. Is the “window menu icon” the one at the right end of the title bar of the application? gtk-window-decorator must be crashing every time you click there.
      2. Are you running Ubuntu Classic? I’ve no idea how this fix will behave on Unity, I was never able to boot into it.
      3. Have you disabled the Unity compiz plugin? You can find it in the settings manager, under plugins; sometimes it ends up being enabled.
      4. What version of Compiz are you running? I think there have been some updates fixing a few bugs.

      It would also be a good idea to post this on the Ubuntu forums. If you decide to do so, do post the link to the forum thread here too.

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