[update] You may also be interested in Fusion-icon, which is what I’ve been using lately.

Often you need to turn off Compiz desktop effects to play a game, run an incompatible application, or even to watch video on some Intel chipsets. Previously I used the fusion-icon tray icon, which was not updated for newer versions of Ubuntu and Compiz. Until today I used the Visual Effects tab of the Appearance Preferences dialog in Ubuntu 7.10 to start and stop Compiz. Now there’s a simpler solution.


Compiz-Switch does one of two things when it is run: When Compiz is running, it switches to Metacity (GNOME), Kwin (KDE), or Xfwm (Xfce). When Compiz is not running, it turns it on.

Update: packages for Ubuntu are now available for download. There’s no need to compile it yourself anymore.

There is no package available for Compiz-Switch currently, but it’s easy to create your own using checkinstall. (Packages created with checkinstall should not be distributed.) Open a terminal and run these commands:

  1. Download the source and decompress it:
    wget http://blogage.de/files/1382/download?compiz-switch-0.2.0~source.tar.gz -O- | tar -xzf –
  2. Change to the new folder:
    cd compiz-switch-0.2.0~source
  3. If you have not installed checkinstall, you need to do so now:
    sudo apt-get install checkinstall
  4. Run checkinstall to create and install the package:
    sudo checkinstall

You can remove the folder that was downloaded once the installation is complete. Compiz-Switch can be uninstalled using the Synaptic package manager.

Run Compiz-Switch from Applications->Accessories->Compiz-Switch. You can drag the launcher from the menu to your panel or desktop for quick access.

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