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Fedora 12 + nVidia + Compiz = Eye candy

Right until Fedora 11, I hadn’t cared much about how the Fedora looked. Well, I had made some slight modifications such as using the Murrine GTK engine, but otherwise I had left things as they were. However, the more I used Fedora, the more I was becoming tired/bored of Metacity, the default desktop manager installed by Fedora. I wanted a bit of eye candy :)

Back in Fedora 7 I tried to use the desktop effects in my old Dell laptop, but it made the system run so slow that I decided to switch them off. Once Fedora 12 came out, I decided to have another go at enabling desktop effects, but this time in a more modern laptop.

Since my laptop has an nVidia graphics card, the first thin I had to do was install the native driver that provide me with the eye candy. Unfortunately, the nouveau project that aims to provide an open source driver for nVidia cards is not good enough to get desktop effects working. So, I headed to in order to find out how to install the nVidia native driver. Here I faced my first problem.

The instructions on this site are not precise enough when it comes to PAE kernels, which are 32 bit kernels that support big memory spaces. In my case, I have 4GB ram and I use a 32 bit kernel, so Fedora installs a PAE kernel. The problem I had is that I didn’t install the corresponding PAE modules for the native driver. I simply installed the default non-PAE packages and the result was that my laptop would not enter graphic mode. Bottom line, if you use a PAE kernel, which you can check running ‘uname -a’ and seeing if PAE appears somewhere in the output, please install the PAE modules:

 yum install kmod-nvidia-PAE.i686 xorg-x11-drv-nvidia-libs.i686

For the rest of the installation, you can follow the instructions in the Linux Sofware Blog site. Next, once you’ve installed the nVidia driver, it’s time to install a new desktop manager that provides some eye candy :). You can do so via the following command:

 yum install emerald-themes compiz-fusion-extras emerald compiz-fusion
 compiz-manager compiz-fusion-extras-gnome gnome-compiz-manager 
 libcompizconfig compiz-fusion-gnome ccsm

Compiz Fusion libraries provide the desktop effects and Emerald themes provide some really polished window frames. Once you have these installed, in theory, it should be just a matter of going to System -> Prefences -> Desktop Effects. However, doing this didn’t work as expected because it crashed halfway while trying to enable them. Having a look around, I found this forum link where ‘chuchII‘ explained that you could alternatively enable desktop effects via the Compiz Fusion icon or panel applet. So, execute:

 yum install fusion-icon

Now, simply execute ‘fusion-icon’ from the command line and you should see a new tray icon appear. Right clicking on it, you should be able to enable desktop effects by selecting the Compiz window manager. Finally, if that works for you, simply add a startup application so that the icon gets loaded at startup.

Tagged as , , , + Categorized as How To


  1. Thanks I am new in fedora it works, gracias soy nuevo en fedora todo trabaja bien :)

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