Coping with a Generic Compiz Installation… Patiently

One look at the Compiz Fusion installation page at the Gentoo Linux Wiki and you might think it’s so very easy to get Compiz up and running. If you thought that, though, then you forgot that I’m running all this on a six-year-old “Dell Dimension 4500S” computer with a depreciated Intel 845GL integrated graphics card. Yup, this was gonna get interesting.

First of all, as a heads up, I never ever trust the lists of packages given for Compiz Fusion, and for good reason. They can easily be outdated, and/or be installing something that’s preferred by the author of the documentation but not necessary. Basically, wherever they had some list of packages or manual installation, I cut my own path.

However, that’s where I got myself into trouble. I skipped over too much configuration information. In fact, I had skipped over the first section: “Prerequisites”. Well, alright, I hadn’t skipped them, but I glanced at them and thought myself done just because I had them installed. Little did I know I had to actually configure some of them too.

So, yea, I type in “compiz-start”, hit ENTER, and waited. And waited. And, waited some more. And, continued to wait. The screen appeared frozen, but Ctrl+C killed compiz and everything came back. During that period, apparently Compiz was running, but the windows weren’t updating, and I couldn’t do anything. A little crying at #compiz investigation revealed I had forgotten to configure AIGLX properly in xorg.conf. After that I was fine. Mostly. At least, once I actually enabled “Window Decorations”, “Resize”, and “Move”. Whoops.

So, the moral of this story is to read everything through, ’cause you might miss the key part that really makes it all run, especially when it comes to a really aggravatingly old desktop.

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