The compiz and the effects associated with it were one of the unique features of the linux operating system. Those attracted numerous computer users, including myself, into the world of Linux. One of the complaints about the gnome shell, was the lack of these eye-candy effects (wobbly windows, window focus effects, etc.) as it opted to go with mutter instead of compiz for window management. When ubuntu unity users enjoyed the compiz and the wonderful effects, gnome shell users were left with the minimal effects of the shell. The transition and other effects were even part of our gnome 3.2 ‘wishlist’. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen in gnome shell 3.2. Not until now.


We were one of the first sites to understand and predict the capabilities of gnome shell extensions as early as in march last year. With the gnome shell extensions pouring by the day, this is one area where gnome shell win the competition with unity and by hands down. okay so much for the introduction…

There are two extensions that introduce the the much needed effects to the gnome shell. First is the focus effects extension. This extension, once enabled, adds a transition effect when a window is focused, much like the window focus compiz plug-in.

Watch the video below to see it in action:

The extension is not yet available in the To install it, you need to copy it from the git.
In ubuntu, do the following steps in terminal:

sudo apt-get install git
git clone
mkdir -p ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions
cp -r gnome-shell-focus-effects-extension/ ~/.local/share/gnome-shell/extensions/
cp gnome-shell-focus-effects-extension/example.ffxrc.json ~/.ffxrc.json

(click to see large image)

You could change/modify the transition effects by editing the ffxrc.json in your home folder (hidden file).


The second extension is the coverflow alt-tab. This is also much like the compiz equivalent.

The alt-tab is presented like a coverflow style. Watch the video below to see it in action:

The extension is already in the and could be enabled in any gnome 3.2 system by going to this page and clicking on the ON/OFF button.

(click to see large image)

With extensions like these, we could say good bye to compiz and stick on to our awesome(gnome) shell and enjoy these wonderful effects. At this stage as the compiz future is in doubt, this is a welcome relief to the world’s best desktop OS.


4 responses »

  1. bahha says:

    Thank you for the article I’m going to try it .

  2. eddiek says:

    Thanks for the article. I installed both extensions, and while I am not so keen on the focus-effects-extension, I certainly love the alternative cover-flow. I organise my work by grouping tasks in dedicated workspaces. The extension allows me to switch effortlessly between open windows on different workspaces. Excellent!

  3. Jeannie says:

    Mutter simply sucks in regards of effetcs, it suits the gnome-shell very well though , as it’s as functionality castrated as the tablet optimized idiot suiting gnome-shell itself

  4. ademar111190 says:

    i’m trying it, very good job, but you need improve, especially the focus effect it’s very slow and if you disable it you need restart the prograns to back window normally

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