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Using gala compositing in xubuntu 12.10

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Posted

I recently installed xubuntu and wanted some good compositing. I tried compiz but it seems a bit buggy with xfce, and too heavy for my needs anyway.

I recently found a great solution. Using elementary os's gala window manager. it works excellently with xfce! incredibly smooth, stable, and fast. You get very smooth effects, features like "aero snap", and light resource usage. I'm also using plank as the dock and it all integrates very well, feels like I'm using eOS luna, but with the very stable, mature xfce base and apps.

To install it on xubuntu just do the following:

Add the elementary daily ppa and install gala

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:elementary-os/daily

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install gala dconf-tools

Set gala as xfce's default window manager

cp /etc/xdg/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-session.xml ~/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-session.xml

leafpad ~/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-session.xml

replace "xfwm4" with "gala"

Put min/max/close buttons on the right

open dconf-editor:

org pantheon desktop gala appearance

button-layout: :minimize,maximize,close

original source where I found the instructions: youtube.com/watch?v=12a8M5y7MNg

My current desktop, still got plenty of tweaking left to do:

Disclaimer: The elementary ppa is a daily development ppa and installing from it may not always work correctly since the packages are always in "flux".

post-159052-0-87722900-1354943255.png

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Posted

Nice! I'll have to give this a go. I tried to set up Compiz on my Arch install but Compiz + XFCE + ATI Catalyst drivers is bad news.

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Posted

lol, Brandon I saw you're Reddit post a few weeks back, haha linux subreddit for the win (Y)

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Posted

I found this post and the one on reddit to be very helpful. Here are a few tweaks I have discovered when using plank and slingshot with xfce.

Preload Slingshot for faster first launch at startup - add "slingshot-launcher -s" to the list in Settings: Session and Startup: Application Autostart tab.

Launching Slingshot from the top panel - add a launcher, select "run a program" and type in slingshot-launcher as the program.

Launching Slingshot from Plank - navigate to

~/.local/share/applications/

create a new file called Slingshot.desktop

put the following in the file:


[Desktop Entry]

Version=1.0

Type=Application

Name=Slingshot

Comment=

Exec=slingshot-launcher

Icon=plank

Path=

Terminal=false

StartupNotify=false

The next time you actually start Slingshot, a Plank icon will appear in the dock. You will likely have to terminate Slingshot for this to happen because Slingshot doesn't quit when you close it's window.

Changing what appears in the Slingshot menus - one way to do this is change a few entries in the standard xfce menu using Settings: Main Menu. After doing that, navigate to:

~/.config/menus/

Open up applications.menu in a text editor and you will see a record of the changes you made. Make a file called "pantheon-applications.menu" in the same directory. Use the applications.menu file as a starting point and template for pantheon-applications.menu

Just to be complete, Plank themes can be added in the following location:

~/.local/share/plank/themes/

choose one by changing the theme name in the following file

~/.config/plank/dock1/settings

You can also specify themes that are installed by the system. They are located in

/usr/share/plank/themes/

And the original Plank dock item, which doesn't seem to do anything, can be removed here:

~/.config/plank/dock1/launcher/

I hope I haven't wandered too far off topic. Thanks for your original post, and if that was you on reddit, thanks for that one as well.

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Posted

Thanks for the guide! I just compiled the Gala packages from the Ubuntu PPA for Debian Wheezy and tried it with MATE 1.4.2 (stable) and MATE 1.5.6 (dev). It is a good replacement for the default window manager in both, but the development version of MATE definitely handles it better (probably due to its GTK3 integration). Gala seems to be fast and capable, I just wish it had a few more features. Its a young project. Hopefully it gets there.

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Posted

Gala, Plank, Slingshot - I like a lot of what the elementary project is doing, but, as you say, they are just getting started and some things need more polish. Their music player is interesting as well and I even use Open Sans font from their repository as my system font.

I haven't learned how to compile yet, but the idea of being able to use things from elementaryOS in a Debian based distribution that doesn't use Ubuntu is appealing.

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Posted

I haven't learned how to compile yet, but the idea of being able to use things from elementaryOS in a Debian based distribution that doesn't use Ubuntu is appealing.

Sometimes packages built for Ubuntu will just work in Debian, particularly when the base version is fairly similar. (Ubuntu 12.04 shares much of its core with Debian Wheezy, and Ubuntu 10.04 shares much of its core with Debian Squeeze.) Ubuntu is diverging further from Debian as time goes on, so it is generally best (and cleanest) to download the source code and port Ubuntu packages to Debian rather than installing the Ubuntu binary directly. In most cases the procedure is fairly trivial, but I don't recommend it if you're not a developer or have no interest in understanding Debian development and packaging.

My procedure for porting Gala to Debian was as follows:

  1. I downloaded and extracted the gala source from the Elementary PPA.
  2. I tried to compile it, noting the packages required to build it that I didn't have installed.
  3. I installed as many of the build dependencies as possible from the Debian Wheezy repository.
  4. I downloaded the source for the two dependencies that are not in the Wheezy repo (granite and plank) from the Elementary PPA.
  5. I repeated steps 2 and 3 for both of those dependencies. Granite built but plank require valac-0.18 and Wheezy only has up to valac-0.16.
  6. Fortunately Ubuntu 12.04 also lacks valac-0.18; so I downloaded it from the Elementary PPA and repeated steps 2 and 3.
  7. I installed the new valac.
  8. I compiled plank.
  9. I installed granite and plank.
  10. I tried compiling gala again, but it failed with a linker error.
  11. After googling the linker error (which I had never seen before) I discovered that one of the build dependencies for the Elementary gala package is wrong. I needed a version of mutter newer than 3.4.1.
  12. Fortunately Ubuntu 12.04 also has this problem, so I downloaded the source of the patched version from the Elementary PPA.
  13. I repeated steps 2 and 3 to build mutter. It built with no problems.
  14. I installed my patched version of mutter.
  15. I tried compiling gala again. This time the build succeeded.
  16. I installed gala.

If I wanted to distribute Gala for Debian Wheezy there would be additional steps required to properly port it, but the procedure I described works well for a personal build.

You can browse the Elementary PPA directly here. Find the dsc for the package you want to port, and port it somewhat like the following example.


sudo apt-get install build-essential devscripts


mkdir granite

pushd granite


dget http://ppa.launchpad.net/elementary-os/daily/ubuntu/pool/main/g/granite/granite_0.2.0~r534+535-0+pkg47~precise1.dsc

dpkg-source -x granite_0.2.0~r534+535-0+pkg47~precise1.dsc


pushd granite_0.2.0~r534+535

debchange -R

> granite (0.2.0~r534+535-0+pkg47~youridentifier0) testing; urgency=low

>

>   * Rebuilt for Debian Wheezy.

>

>  -- Your Name <youridentifier@somewhere.com>  Wed, 13 Mar 2013 22:09:55 -0400

popd

dpkg-source -b granite_0.2.0~r534+535


pushd granite_0.2.0~r534+535

dpkg-buildpackage -us -uc

popd

rm -rf granite_0.2.0~r534+535


sudo dpkg -i $(ls -1 | grep '.deb' | grep -Ev '\-dbg_|-demo_')

sudo install -f


popd

There is a lot more complexity than what I have detailed. If you are really interested in more information I recommend that you read the Debian Developer's Reference manual. Porting can become an intensive activity if there are numerous packages to port, many differences between the systems, or the existing packages are poor quality. I offer no further assistance in this regard.

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Posted

Thank you for your insights into porting. Yesterday for the first time I successfully compiled an app and used it. I'm not sure how far I will go with this. It is definitely, as you say, an intensive activity! I'm glad I got my feet wet yesterday, and reading your post gives me a better understanding of what is involved.

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Posted

The elementary OS team is the best distro team at the moment.

Great hope for these guys.

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Posted

I recently installed xubuntu and wanted some good compositing. I tried compiz but it seems a bit buggy with xfce, and too heavy for my needs anyway.

I recently found a great solution. Using elementary os's gala window manager. it works excellently with xfce! incredibly smooth, stable, and fast. You get very smooth effects, features like "aero snap", and light resource usage. I'm also using plank as the dock and it all integrates very well, feels like I'm using eOS luna, but with the very stable, mature xfce base and apps.

To install it on xubuntu just do the following:

Add the elementary daily ppa and install gala

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:elementary-os/daily

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install gala dconf-tools

Set gala as xfce's default window manager

cp /etc/xdg/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-session.xml ~/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-session.xml

leafpad ~/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml/xfce4-session.xml

replace "xfwm4" with "gala"

Put min/max/close buttons on the right

open dconf-editor:

org pantheon desktop gala appearance

button-layout: :minimize,maximize,close

original source where I found the instructions: youtube.com/watch?v=12a8M5y7MNg

My current desktop, still got plenty of tweaking left to do:

post-159052-0-87722900-1354943255.png

I

was going to try this. but then... linux....

step 4 adding the actual ala dconf tools...

gala: Depends on libplank0 but it's not going to be installed

sigh

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Posted

was trying to do this on an Arch Linux VM to test it out but a couple of the dependencies for gala are being stupid and not wanting to install. maybe i'll try the manual method instead of using yaourt :/

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Posted

I

was going to try this. but then... linux....

step 4 adding the actual ala dconf tools...

gala: Depends on libplank0 but it's not going to be installed

sigh

No need to blame "linux" in general :) Must be an issue with the ppa, its a daily development ppa so it doesn't always "work" because new packages are being uploaded all the time, I'd guess it will work eventually when things finish uploading to the PPA. I had a similar issue trying to install gala on xubuntu 13.04 (gala wanted a different version of cogl that wasn't in the ppa yet, but after a few days it sorted itself out and let me install it). I've added a disclaimer to the OP about the ppa :)

was trying to do this on an Arch Linux VM to test it out but a couple of the dependencies for gala are being stupid and not wanting to install. maybe i'll try the manual method instead of using yaourt :/

I had the same problem when I was trying to install it from the aur, a lot of the packages didn't like the version of automake in the arch repos so some of its dependencies wouldn't compile. If you install "automake 1.12" from the aur and try again I think it will work.

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Posted

...

step 4 adding the actual ala dconf tools...

gala: Depends on libplank0 but it's not going to be installed

...

Synaptic Package Manager is a good way to check your work. Install that, click on the origin button on the left, then click on the elementary-os-daily repository above that. You should be able to search for gala and for libplank0 in the listing on the right. I see both of them on my machine.

sudo apt-get install synaptic

should get you synaptic package manager

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Posted

I decided to give this a try. But, my results look nothing like what is in the OP. Maybe it's my theme? It looks like a normal xfce desktop.

Here's my xfce session:


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<channel name="xfce4-session" version="1.0">

  <property name="general" type="empty">

    <property name="FailsafeSessionName" type="string" value="Failsafe"/>

  </property>

  <property name="sessions" type="empty">

    <property name="Failsafe" type="empty">

	  <property name="IsFailsafe" type="bool" value="true"/>

	  <property name="Count" type="int" value="5"/>

	  <property name="Client0_Command" type="array">

	    <value type="string" value="gala"/>

	  </property>

	  <property name="Client0_PerScreen" type="bool" value="false"/>

	  <property name="Client1_Command" type="array">

	    <value type="string" value="xfce4-panel"/>

	  </property>

	  <property name="Client1_PerScreen" type="bool" value="false"/>

	  <property name="Client2_Command" type="array">

	    <value type="string" value="Thunar"/>

	    <value type="string" value="--daemon"/>

	  </property>

	  <property name="Client2_PerScreen" type="bool" value="false"/>

	  <property name="Client3_Command" type="array">

	    <value type="string" value="xfdesktop"/>

	  </property>

	  <property name="Client3_PerScreen" type="bool" value="false"/>

	  <property name="Client4_Command" type="array">

	    <value type="string" value="xfce4-settings-helper"/>

	  </property>

	  <property name="Client4_PerScreen" type="bool" value="false"/>

    </property>

  </property>

  <property name="splash" type="empty">

    <property name="Engine" type="string" value=""/>

  </property>

</channel>

See below:

post-248407-0-74037200-1363711295.jpg

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Posted

I decided to give this a try. But, my results look nothing like what is in the OP. Maybe it's my theme? It looks like a normal xfce desktop.

Here's my xfce session:


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<channel name="xfce4-session" version="1.0">

  <property name="general" type="empty">

	<property name="FailsafeSessionName" type="string" value="Failsafe"/>

  </property>

  <property name="sessions" type="empty">

	<property name="Failsafe" type="empty">

	  <property name="IsFailsafe" type="bool" value="true"/>

	  <property name="Count" type="int" value="5"/>

	  <property name="Client0_Command" type="array">

		<value type="string" value="gala"/>

	  </property>

	  <property name="Client0_PerScreen" type="bool" value="false"/>

	  <property name="Client1_Command" type="array">

		<value type="string" value="xfce4-panel"/>

	  </property>

	  <property name="Client1_PerScreen" type="bool" value="false"/>

	  <property name="Client2_Command" type="array">

		<value type="string" value="Thunar"/>

		<value type="string" value="--daemon"/>

	  </property>

	  <property name="Client2_PerScreen" type="bool" value="false"/>

	  <property name="Client3_Command" type="array">

		<value type="string" value="xfdesktop"/>

	  </property>

	  <property name="Client3_PerScreen" type="bool" value="false"/>

	  <property name="Client4_Command" type="array">

		<value type="string" value="xfce4-settings-helper"/>

	  </property>

	  <property name="Client4_PerScreen" type="bool" value="false"/>

	</property>

  </property>

  <property name="splash" type="empty">

	<property name="Engine" type="string" value=""/>

  </property>

</channel>

See below:

I noticed that if you put it in the session before manually running "gala --replace" once, it won't work. try hitting alt + f2, typing "gala --replace", then double checking the session file to make sure its still set to use gala, and then re-log and it should load gala as expected.

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Posted

I noticed that if you put it in the session before manually running "gala --replace" once, it won't work. try hitting alt + f2, typing "gala --replace", then double checking the session file to make sure its still set to use gala, and then re-log and it should load gala as expected.

I'm not following you on this. So load terminal and type in: gala --replace. Is that right?

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I'm not following you on this. So load terminal and type in: gala --replace. Is that right?

terminal works too, you just need to put that command either in the terminal or use xfce's alt + f2 run prompt.

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terminal works too, you just need to put that command either in the terminal or use xfce's alt + f2 run prompt.

Ok I did that. Then logged out and it's still the same. So I restarted and still the same thing. Maybe it's the theme I am using or the fact that I installed xfce4 on Mint 13, then installed gala?

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Ok I did that. Then logged out and it's still the same. So I restarted and still the same thing. Maybe it's the theme I am using or the fact that I installed xfce4 on Mint 13, then installed gala?

It shouldn't have any effect on the theme aside from the window decorations. Are you getting the window shadows and animations?

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It shouldn't have any effect on the theme aside from the window decorations. Are you getting the window shadows and animations?

I'm not getting anything in regards to gala. I guess I could start from a clean slate and just install Xubuntu.

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Posted

Hi,

I successful installed Gala on Xubuntu 13.04, but I have a question about workspace management:

in Elementary OS the workspace are shown and managed at bottom with the possibility of move windows from a workspace to another; how can I obtain it in xubuntu too?

I tried setting this operation is command in an active corner but nothing happened.

Thanks!

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Posted

Hi,

I successful installed Gala on Xubuntu 13.04, but I have a question about workspace management:

in Elementary OS the workspace are shown and managed at bottom with the possibility of move windows from a workspace to another; how can I obtain it in xubuntu too?

I tried setting this operation is command in an active corner but nothing happened.

Thanks!

I'm not sure, i was never able to get that to work outside of pantheon.

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