Enable 3D desktop cube without crashing Unity in Ubuntu 11.04

Enabling 3d desktop cube in ubuntu 11.04 with unity will crash Ubuntu Unity. This problem can be solved by following given steps. 
To enable 3D cube in Ubuntu classic mode see 3D Desktop cube in ubuntu classic mode.
Install compiz setting manager through terminal or synaptic manager. In terminal paste the command . 
$sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager


Steps: (Note: each step must be followed sequentially and you will get the desktop cube as shown in the screenshot)

1.In compiz setting manager disable these plugin:
            i) OpenGL
            ii) Composite
            iii) Ubuntu unity plugin
           iv) Desktop wall.
Select disable plugins when a window appears asking for disabling other plugins.
After disabling these plugins your panels and unity will disappear,don't panic and follow next step.

2. Now enable these plugins sequentially.
      iii)Desktop cube 
      iv)Rotate cube
      v)Ubuntu unity plugin.

Some conflicts may occur. Conflicts occur when same buttons are assigned to two or more actions.
After all these steps you screen may response abnormally. Don't worry restart your machine and follow next steps.

3.Here starts the actual work.

1. You need 4 workspaces or Desktop for cube effects.In compiz settings manager select General options -> Desktop Size under General  tab. Set Horizontal Virtual size to 4. Set Vertical Virtual size and Number of Desktop to 1. 

2.Enable Desktop Cube,Rotate cube,3D windows and Cube reflection and deformation.Enable all other plugins if any window appears asking for supporting plugin to be enabled.
3.Goto Desktop cube->Transparent Cube and set Opacity during rotation to 75 or as per your convenience.
4.Goto  Cube Reflection and Deformation -> Deformation. set Deformation to  none. You can change the image appearing at top and bottom of cube in Cube Caps tab.
5.Goto Rotate Cube->Bindings->Rotate cube.See if binding is default set to
<control><Alt>Left and <control><Alt>Right or change it as your desire. 

And Hurray Rotate your Desktop .To rotate desktop using mouse select Left mouse button<control><Alt>and move your cursor to get the effects.

Things to remember
1) Do not minimize the compiz manager at any point during all the steps.
2) Do not perform any other action  during the process.
There may be the possibilities that after enabling the desktop cube with Unity maximize and minimize button disappear or you are unable to move your window. To get back all these function, in the compiz manger select the option "Move Window" and " Window Decoration". 

There may be the chance that something may get wrong and things go out of hand.
To undo all the changes. Open the terminal, in-case the top bar and Unity are disappeared ,then open the terminal with shortcut
ctrl+alt+t. Then type
1) metacity --replace
2) unity --replace or  unity --reset
Unity bar will appear again. 

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why in my ubuntu natty, on desktop cube general option only Unfold,Mipmap, Multi Output mode...but next slide and prev slide is missing...can you fix this?

My system also shows only these options,it is not missing but Next slide and Prev slide appears in Rotate cube->Bindings->Rotate cube.Hope this will help.

This does indeed work, however you need to warn people that are using Nvidia TwinView settings that if they have any applications on the second monitor, they will stop functioning while OpenGL is disabled, or at least this is what happened to me.

Please tell us what plugins we can re-enable after doing these steps. Disabling OpenGL requires 10 plugins to be disabled. I would like to know what I can use with the Desktop Cube, i.e. Fading Windows, Animations, etc. Sorry if this is obvious to you or anyone else, I'm a newer user to Ubuntu.

Thank you for this tutorial!

I should have been better at explaining what happened to me...

I have Nvidia TwinView running two monitors, I had the compizconfig settings manager on the second monitor and mozilla on the first, so I could follow the tutorial. When I turned off OpenGL, the second monitor froze and the compizconfig settings manager moved over slightly to the left monitor, barely showing the OpenGL button. I was lucky and could hit the button which then let the right desktop function again.

I guess I can try re-enabling some of these disabled plugins and see if they warn of conflicts... I just hope I don't mess anything up as my knowledge so far with Ubuntu is limited...

Thanks for the suggestion and I suggest to open the Firefox web browser and compiz manager on the same Desktop or monitor.Conflicts are different functions assigned to same keyboards shortcuts,so just resolve them or disable any one the two functions assign to them.

Cube desktop has been activated.But maximize and minimize button has been removed. What to do.

Go to compiz setting manager. Select the effects tab and in it select the Window Decoration. Maximize and minimize button along with close button will appear again.

Enabling Compiz desktop cube in Ubuntu 11.04 has frequently caused disappearance of close and maximize button tab. Every time I have to do window decoration in Compiz setting. Is there any permanent solution

Hi there,
This has been great information and I thank you.
I do have the cube working, however it appears to try to pick up the menu bar and there is an unsightly vertical bar on the cube. Is there a setting I am missing that causes the cube to only go as far as the menu?
Thanks for your help.

From the question I guess you are asking that your vertical menu(Unity) appears faded while rotating the cube. For that check the Unity setting in Compiz setting manager. Plz be more specific about your question about menu bar.


I followed the instructions, and I tried to search for another instructions where I can install ubuntu 11.04 3D desktop. But, after doing the said instructions and booting the system, the result is the same. The 3D desktop is not working on me. I'm using Windows XP dual core.. Can anyone help me? Thanks.

I followed the steps and compwiz closed when I selected to turn off OpenGL,so did unity, so I followed instructions to recover if things get out of hand and things got worse, how can i turn unity back on?

Have you restart your computer. If yes, then you must be missing some steps. try it again
To get Unity back type this in terminal

1)metacity --replace
2)unity --replace or unity --reset

sidhartha, I followed your instructions verbatim...worked perfect. Thank you very much

after I turned off OpenGL unity crashed. I had to restart UBUNTU in recovery mode.

How can I turn on OpenGL?

well written article, thanks for posting.

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