Personal Stories – Linux and busted stuff

Ubuntu Linux comes with a nifty program called Compiz Fusion that has some great desktop enhancements. Basically, it pretties up the desktop and makes moving windows around a lot easier. Back in the old days (man I'm old) personal computers pretty much just ran one program at a time. Now, computers run lots of programs at a time, but switching between "windows" kills my productivity. So any program that helps me organize my screen is a plus.

After some wrangling and help from the Ubuntu community, I managed to run Compiz. The results are awesome.

Notice how the windows fade away depending upon when I last used them and the general coolness factor. Imagine a desktop with all the best graphics of Mac OS X and Windows Vista (Home Premium, with a compatible video card). Yeah, it's that awesome. I wasn't even scratching the surface of Compiz features because I was afraid my video card would blow up or something.

Then the badness started.

Turns out Compiz has a famous bug that occurs with my brand of video card, Nvidia. In laymen's terms, which are the only terms I understand, the video card is unable to reuse its memory, and after a while, it fills up. Then when you open a new window, there is no memory left to render the new image. Hence, this bug is referred to as the Black-Windows -Bug. The Ubuntu community and Nvidia know of this problem, but for Nvidia cards like mine, a solution has been elusive.

So, back to the old fashioned style desktop and another gratuitous photo of little man.

The moral of the story: Ubuntu is great but can't fix everything. UPDATE: Problem solved. Now if I can just get that middle mouse button to work . . .

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