Annoyed by the system beep from the speaker inside your computer’s case? You’ve probably noticed it when pressing backspace on the terminal prompt, or when Firefox’s find function can’t locate your query. Using Compiz, it’s possible to turn off the beep and replace it with a cool visual effect.

I’ve posted before on disabling the system beep by blacklisting the pcspkr module. For most people this post is a better solution because you’ll still have the beep when you might need it, such as in a virtual terminal.

Title wave effect

You need to have CompizConfig Settings Manager installed to access all of Compiz’s settings.

Install CompizConfig Settings Manager from the package compizconfig-settings-manager (click the link to install), or by running the command below in your terminal:
sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

Open it from System->Preferences->CompizConfig Settings Manager, or System->Preferences->Advanced Desktop Effects Settings depending on your version of Compiz. I’ve upgraded from Ubuntu 8.04′s version to 0.7.6.

To disable the system beep while running Compiz, click General Options, and deselect the Audible System Bell option.

Now you can find a system beep effect that you like and enable it, these options are identified by a music note icon. Here’s a list of all the ones I found:

  • Water effect->Title wave: A wave is emitted from the beeping window’s titlebar.
  • Blur Windows->Pulse: The window blurs out briefly.
  • Fading Windows->Visual Bell: The window, or optionally the whole screen, goes black and slowly becomes brighter again.
  • Wobbly Windows->Shiver: The window jiggles/shivers.

Remember that you need to have the relevant plugin enabled to get the effect.

If you’re not a Compiz user, or sometimes have to turn Compiz off, system beep preferences for GNOME’s default Metacity window manager can be found in System->Preferences->Sound->System Beep.

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