In March of 2010, I finally moved from my venerable XFCE4 + Xfwm setup to a glitzy GNOME + Compiz desktop. The experiment is largely successful thus far.
gnome-shell, from what I can tell, is launched as part of the session definition file (/usr/share/xsessions/gnome.desktop). You can copy this to gnome-fallback.session in $XDG_CONFIG_DIR/gnome-session/sessions and run gnome-session out of .xsession without arguments, or (probably better) provide the --session argument to gnome-session and keep the modified file somewhere personal.
- Get compiz running via compiz --replace.
- Add this to GNOME's startup applications to make it your default window manager
- Better than this command in your .xinitrc/.xsession is changing the "Window Manager" element of GNOME's Session-RequiredElements registry key.
- Enable Alt+Tab window switching via the "Application Switcher" plugin
- I don't like the zooming effect; scale it to 0x
- Enable Super+Tab folded window switching via the "Shift Switcher" plugin
- Has some conflicts with "Application Switcher" by default; I disable all but "Next Window", "Previous Window" and "Initiate"
- Be sure the "Text" rendering plugin is enabled to get window titles
- Enable desktop backgrounds with the "Wallpaper" plugin
- You'll want disable Nautilus's attempt to manage the background: use gconf-editor and unset apps/nautilus/preferences/show_desktop
- Note that this will disable your desktop icons.
- Enable Ctrl+Alt+arrow virtual desktop switching via the "Rotate Cube" plugin
- "Trailfocus" handles general transparency
- Set "Window to Start Fading" to 1
- Change opacity levels of unfocused and focused windows to 60 and 95, respectively
- Cube: I use
- transparency on rotate (requires that Compiz draw wallpaper)
- Spherical deformation on rotate
- Inside-the-cube view
- App Switcher
- Maximize "Speed"
- Minimize "Timestep"
- Enable "Mipmap", "Bring to Front", "Icon", "Minimized", and "Auto-Rotate"
- Reduce "Opacity" to 10
- I like the "animations" plugin
- The "Window Titles" plugin is useful in conjunction with SSH forwarding
- Go ahead and use "Bicubic Filtering" if you've got the horsepower
- "General Options" -> "Key Bindings":
- Toggle vertical maximize: Ctrl+Up
- Toggle horizontal maximize: Ctrl+Right
- Disable everything else save "Close Window" (Alt+F4), "Window Menu" (Alt+space)
- /usr/bin/x-terminal-emulator: Alt+F1
- /usr/bin/x-www-browser: Alt+F3
- Video thumbnailing requires totem-video-thumbnailer, part of the totem package
- You'll also likely need raise the limit on thumbnailable media files; I thumbnail any local file < 1G
- Users of taskbars (the "Window Selector" applet) will want to look into Compiz's "Window Preview" plugin
- Transparency can be had regardless of the GTK theme if using compiz's "Opacity, Brightness and Saturation" plugin
- Add an opacity rule (I use a value of 50): "(class=Gnome-panel) & !(type=PopupMenu | Dialog)"
- I use avant-window-navigator now
GNOME Control Center
- Ensure hinting and subpixel ordering is optimized via a trip to the Lagom LCD Test page
- Don't set wallpaper here if Compiz is handling it
- Xorg page