Compiz-0.8.4 on Debian lenny

The compiz package in lenny has a serious problem: some sort of race condition making the gnome-terminal not redrawn correctly. Since I use gnome-terminal extensively (coding using vim), compiz in lenny is unusable.

Today, I decided to compile and install compiz from source. After some trial and error, I’ve done it. Below are the steps taken:

  1. Install required tools to compile compiz.
  2. # aptitude install build-essential libxcomposite-dev libpng12-dev libsm-dev libxrandr-dev libxdamage-dev libxinerama-dev libstartup-notification0-dev libgconf2-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libglu1-mesa-dev libmetacity-dev librsvg2-dev libdbus-1-dev libdbus-glib-1-dev libgnome-desktop-dev libgnome-window-settings-dev gitweb curl autoconf automake automake1.9 libtool intltool libxslt1-dev xsltproc libwnck-dev python-dev python-pyrex

  3. Download the official release tar balls from  Then, unzip and untar them.
  4. Compilation must follow the sequence given in the compiz installation guide.
  5. compiz, bcop, libcompizconfig, compizconfig-python, ccsm, compiz-fusion-plugins-main, others

  6. The first package to compile is compiz.  In my case, the directory is called “compiz-0.8.4”.  Open a terminal, change into that directory and run the following command:
  7. $ ./configure --prefix=$HOME/bin/compiz-0.8.4
    $ make install

    The default installation directory is “/usr/local”.  Because there is no uninstall option, I decided to install it into “$HOME/bin/compiz-0.8.4”.  Thus, I can just remove the whole directory if I don’t want it anymore.

  8. To compile all other packages (except ccsm and simple-ccsm), change into each of the directory and run the following command:
  9. $ export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=$HOME/bin/compiz-0.8.4/lib/pkgconfig
    $ export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=$HOME/bin/compiz-0.8.4/share/pkgconfig:$PKG_CONFIG_PATH
    $ ./configure --prefix=$HOME/bin/compiz-0.8.4
    $ make install

  10. For ccsm and simple-ccsm, run the following command:
  11. $ python install --prefix=$HOME/bin/compiz-0.8.4

  12. Now, it’s time to run it.
  13. $ export PATH=$HOME/bin/compiz-0.8.4/bin:$PATH
    $ export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$HOME/bin/compiz-0.8.4/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH
    $ export PYTHONPATH=$HOME/bin/compiz-0.8.4/lib/python2.5/site-packages:$PYTHONPATH
    $ compiz --replace ccp & emerald --replace &

  14. For me, the last command always fail and leaving me with no window manager at all (no window border, cannot move windows).  Fear not, just run the last command a second time and compiz should be up and running.
  15. Just in case it failed again, you can recall the default metacity window manager with the following command:
  16. $ metacity --replace &

  17. Do take a look at the official installation guide here:
  18. The end.

2 responses to “Compiz-0.8.4 on Debian lenny

  1. omy February 17, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Hi Wenlong,

    I was wondering if you could advise me on this compiz installation. Does your installation guide applies for RHEL?
    I have been having difficulties compiling the compiz, (i’m not even sure if there is a compiz distribution for rhel..!).

    Hope you can advise me .. Thanks a lot for your time!

    • wenlong February 22, 2010 at 8:08 am

      Hi omy,

      The guide should be usable under RHEL, but you may need to make some changes to the first step. I was using aptitude to install required packages, in RHEL, I believe, you may be using some other tools. The package name may be different under RHEL.

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