Compiz Fusion help needed.

Paul Rumelhart godshatter at
Mon Dec 1 01:30:58 UTC 2008

Steven Vollom wrote:
> Dear Paul,
> When I rotate the middle wheel on the mouse and the cube changes, it 
> dips and shows the rotation then fills the desktop again.  Is that what 
> the cube is supposed to look like.  I had a vision of a transparent 
> octagon that stayed within the borders of the desktop.  Since I have a 
> 22" screen, I anticipated seeing an octagon that was farther from the 
> left and right of the screen than the top and bottom.  It doesn't really 
> make a difference, the effects are wonderful, it is just when I see 
> pictures of a cube in literature about such things, it always appears as 
> smaller than the desktop.  Thanks!
> Steven

I think part of the problem is my using the term "octagon".  The "cube" 
object, which we have setup to have eight desktops on, is basically when 
seen from above an octagon.  Think of two octagon, basically two stop 
signs, set one above the other.  Then coat the outside along the edges 
with LCD screens, and you have what I'm calling the "octagon".  You 
rarely see the top and bottom of it, just one of the eight sides.  When 
the octagon is turning when using the mouse wheel, it is pushing back 
from the screen a small amount and then turning one face and then 
springing back towards the screen again.  That's why you probably see a 
portion of one side of to the left or the right occasionally when it's 
turning.  If the speeds you have set are too fast, it may be harder to 

If you haven't already, try pressing the left and right buttons of the 
mouse when your cursor is over the background and holding them down.  
You should see the whole construct or whatever it is pushed back away 
from the screen.  Moving the mouse left or right should turn it so you 
can see more of it's sides.  If you have windows on those other sides, 
you should see them too.  If you have the cube reflection turned on, you 
should see the bottom portion of the cube reflected on the "ground".  
You can also move the mouse up or down and see the top or bottom of the 
octagon, just to see that it really is an octagon.  If the left and 
right buttons don't work for you, try holding ctrl and alt down and the 
left mouse button simultaneously.  If done this way, the cursor doesn't 
have to be over the background.

The compiz developers were looking for some way to visualize multiple 
desktops.  The default way, if you don't turn on the "cube", is to think 
of your screen as showing one of a grid of desktops up close.  Moving 
desktops is then panning around left or right, like moving along a 
track.  It looks like they wanted a more 3-D approach, so they thought 
of four desktops as being the faces on a cube.  The faces are front, 
back, left, and right.  They didn't use the top or bottom, because it 
would get too confusing because you would then be seeing some desktops 
upside down if you went up twice for example.  It also made more sense 
if you wanted more or less than four desktops.  So our eight desktops 
are just an extension of that.  If you want to see it a little better 
visually, go into Advanced Desktop Effects Settings, and click on 
Desktop Cube.  Then go to the Transparent Cube tab, and set the Opacity 
When Not Rotating to about 40.  You should see the general shape of the 
octagon thing through your somewhat transparent background.  I usually 
don't leave it that way, but it lets you see it visually.

There are lots of settings to mess around with.  If I remember right, 
you can set it up so your are inside an eight walled room instead of 
looking at it from outside.


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