Monday, December 17, 2012

Compiz is Killing Me

compiz is a piece of software included with the Ubuntu Linux distribution.  It's purpose has something to do with making dang sure you can't do want you want to do with the GUI.  This devious module will go to great lengths to interfere with your futile attempts to use your computer in the manner you like, at least through the Unity window manager; it's influence seems to stop at the borders of the windows manager.

The compiz program is determined.  It will stop at nothing.  Like The Terminator, it will just keep coming because...

That is what it does.

One of it's evil tricks is to saturate your CPU.  Want to send an email?  Ha!  No chance!  compiz is generating 400 million random longs first!  Take that!  70%, 80%, even 95% CPU is not enough for the mighty compiz!

That's right, just try to refresh that browser!

The root of this evil (and we speculate here) is that compiz is taking advantage of your past efforts to customize The Unity (did I mention that that was futile?) in older versions of the distribution.  This "problem" (the authors do not appear to think of it in these terms) seems to impact chimps that have had Unity installed for awhile, and have been through a few updates.

So we here at Computer Programmer Shirt recommend resetting compiz to its defaults.  It's easy, any chimp can do it.  First remove and make backup copies of your configuration files, in one swoop, with a move command.

mv ~/.compiz-1 ~/.compiz-1.broken
mv ~/.config/compiz-1 ~/.config/compiz-1.broken

The restart your computer.  Nice and Window-ish eh?  Well that's how you restart Unity.  It's the only way to be sure.  

The system will create fancy new versions of the compiz configuration.  If everything is OK, you can remove the backup copies.

Good luck, you will need it.