Compiz is no doubt the best compositing manager for Linux. It has been a part of Ubuntu for a long time and is actively maintained as well. Since the addition of the contentious Unity plugin, Compiz has become the most popular and reliable compositing manager easily surpassing GNOME 3's Mutter.
Being a part of a big project like Ubuntu, developers are coming up with amazing new plugins like Modal dialogs. This, of course, doesn't mean that there aren't any useless plugins for Compiz. Here are 5 such plugins that find no practical applications whatsoever:
1. Desktop Cube
The desktop cube was and is one of the most enviable features of Linux. Managing multiple desktops in a visually intuitive way has made the cube quite popular amongst Linux enthusiasts. Having said that, switching desktops using the cube plugin is, if not clumsy, distracting for many. Imagine you have a browser window in one desktop and LibreOffice Spreadsheet in the other. Now say, you have to quickly switch between the two, would you want a huge cube to take you from window to another? The cube, as fancy as it may look, is bereft of any practical application. Of course, many won't agree with me on that one, but some of the extra plugins that come with the Cube plugin are so ridiculous that you might eventually acquiesce.
Here are two other useless Compiz plugins related to Desktop Cube:
* Cube Gears
The Cube Gears plugin that is an extra plugin that places the gears from glxgears – which is basically a standard animation showing just rotating gears – inside the cube. Now why would anybody want to do that, I don't know, but all I know is that whenever you make the cube transparent, u can see some gears in action. I seriously would love to understand the motive behind making this plugin, is it some sort of mechanical voyeurism or just a joke?
* Cube Atlantis
Cube Atlantis is a similar extra plugin, which shows the fishes from the Atlantis screensaver on the Cube's walls. Having a fish tank while switching from one Window to another might be a great way to distract you a little, but on a practical level, it doesn't make sense.
2. Negative plugin
A negative image is what you see on a camera film, which is then developed in low-lit labs to give you the nice family photos that adorn your walls. Nobody in his or her right mind hangs, prints or even likes to look at negatives of a real image. So tell me folks, why would you want a plugin that turns your desktop into its negative image?
3. Water Effect
Another one of those eye candy plugins for the Linux desktop. It looks fancy but has no practical use. The plugin basically allows you to create water ripple effects on the screen. You can set a combination using which, you can draw trails of ripples on your screen, just to entertain and relax yourself. Alternatively, you can enable the rain effect, which makes your desktop behave like the surface of a pond. The effect emulates the feeling of rain falling on your desktop screen. Do let me know if you find this useful in some way.
4. Wobbly Windows
This has been one of the most used useless Compiz plugins. Enabled in Ubuntu (pre-natty) by default, wobbly windows is a plugin that does what it says – it makes the windows wobble. Whenever you grab a window by the title bar, and try to drag it around, the window will stretch and wobble in different ways depending on which region is grabbed. Despite, the sheer uselessness of this plugin, it has been used and loved by quite a lot of Linux users. Even some Windows users are envying this nifty little feature the reason for which, I don't quite understand.
Firepaint is an eye candy plugin developed specially for arsonists and pyromaniacs. The plugin allows you to set fire to any part of your screen, with no practical utility whatsoever. I don't know if Firepaint works with Unity, but considering how buggy Unity is in Ubuntu 11.04 'Natty Narwhal', you might sometimes feel like setting fire to parts of your desktop. A great way to give vent to your anger, but not something you should be enabling on your kid's desktop.
Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.