StackSwitch and Wallpaper Plugins with Compiz 0.7.6

Over the weekend I played more with Compiz 0.7.6 on Ubuntu. Here’s two more cool new plugins and how to set them up.

Reader Exsecrabilus requested that I write about the unique new StackSwitch window switcher for Compiz. StackSwitch tilts your desktop and windows down like a table, and flips up the selected window.


StackSwitch isn’t a challenge to install. If you’ve followed my previous instructions on upgrading Ubuntu’s Compiz, it’s included the repository.

Install StackSwitch from the package stackswitch (click the link to install), or by running the command below in your terminal:

sudo apt-get install stackswitch

Open System->Preferences->CompizConfig Settings Manager. Find and enable the plugin Stack Window Switcher. The switcher can be activated by pressing Super-Tab, or Super-Alt-Tab to show windows from all workspaces. (The super key is also known as the Windows key.)

The second new Compiz plugin I’ve been playing with is the wallpaper plugin. As the name suggests, it draws desktop wallpaper. The attraction of drawing wallpaper with this plugin is that it supports different wallpaper for different workspaces.

Compiz wallpaper plugin

If you simply enable the wallpaper plugin and set up your images, nothing will change. This is because GNOME’s Nautilus is already drawing your wallpaper along with your desktop icons. Unfortunately, you’ll have to give up desktop icons to use this plugin because Nautilus can’t draw icons onto a transparent background. This is planned to be fixed in the next version of GNOME and Ubuntu.

We need to change a Gconf key to stop Nautilus from managing the desktop. Launch the Run Application dialog with Alt-F2 and run gconf-editor. Navigate to apps->nautilus->preferences and unselect the show_desktop option. Your desktop icons should disappear.

Open System->Preferences->CompizConfig Settings Manager. Find and enable the Wallpaper plugin, and configure it with a wallpaper image for each of your workspaces. You can use the up and down buttons to set which workspace gets which wallpaper.

If you’d like unique wallpapers for each workspace and are not a Compiz user, give Wallpapoz (DEB package) a try. Wallpapoz functions by detecting whenever you switch workspaces, and changing the wallpaper whenever you do so. This way, it can work even with Nautilus desktop icons. I wouldn’t recommend Wallpapoz with Compiz however, any 3D effects showing more than one workspace will show you a single wallpaper.

Archived Comments


Hey !

I followed the steps to enable the wallpaper plugin but I can’t seem to get it to work. As soon as I enable the wallpaper plugin, it deactivate itself automaticaly. Does anyone have an idea why it happends ?

Thanks !


Very interesant, thank you!

I’m gonna write about this in my blog, but I gonna told that I have seen this here :D


I tried the wallpaper plugin, it works fine - however it means you need to set up a quick nautilus launcher to browse your desktop - or start putting everything in your home folder.

I set up shortcut to launch nautilus (but can just as quickly open gnome-do and type ‘ho’ end press Enter) however, I’d rather have the option of keeping my current work right on the desktop - so I’ll stick with my gnome desktop and leave compiz until it’s worked out how to do it properly.

It would be more interesting if there were a fast, simple switching script I could run by clicking a launcher.


the wallpaper thing was exactly what i was looking for, i thought having all the sides of the cube with the same wallpaper looked boring. but i’m too new to ubuntu and compiz to figure it out initially but thanks to you this was perfect, thanks and since even with my xp desktop i got rid of the desktop icons to get a clean look it wasn’t a problem for me, cheers :)

Computer Background

works fine. Thanx alot.:-)


running jaunty and everytime I disable nautilus showing desktop, the whole computer freezes up. doing a killall_nautilus will free it up again. Tried to write this into startup to no avail. Luckily I have commands in compiz to kill naut. Any suggestions as to why unchecking the box in gconf locks it up?



I installed stackswitch and I am able to locate where the effect is enabled. The problem is that once I check the box it almost immediately automatically unchecks itself. I’ve tried settling the conflicts and it appears as though nothing is keeping stackswitch from running. Does anyone have any suggestions of what I could try? Thanks


Does not work at all on Ubuntu Jaunty

thanks a lot fixed it for me (using 9.04)


This works great, i followed instructions on how to update, then these instructions and it works without any error, i just noticed one thing, i use transparent top and bottom panels, and they still have old background, how to change this?


Stackswitch’s author seems to have switched compile methods to cmake.

Unfortunately this doesn’t work at all.

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