For Linux users of a certain vintage over-the-top desktop effects were a staple part of the Linux desktop landscape, thanks in large part to Compiz. This boundary-pushing window manager made it easy for developers to create complicated composited desktop effects as ‘plugins’ leveraging 3D capable hardware.
While most Compiz effects were giddy, gaudy, and garish, they looked totally unlike anything Windows or macOS has to offer, making them not only a distinct visual differentiator but also a metaphor for how Linux ‘does things different’.
Heck, my own introduction to Linux came via a YouTube demoing Compiz effects.
His ‘Burn My Windows’ add-on is:
- Excessive ✔
- Showy ✔
- Useless ✔
- Totally frickin’ cool ✔
It’s a hot concept: instead of a window just vanishing when you close it, this extension makes it disintegrate in a curtain of fire.
Fancy giving it a go?
Like the ‘3D cube’ effect, the Burn My Windows extension is designed for GNOME 40 and above (based on the extension listing page) but you can use install this extension under GNOME 3.36 on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, with most features working:
Through the Extensions app you can access a settings dialog where, among many options, you can speed up or slow down the fire effect to suit your own needs/memories, as well as pick from a variety of fire presets (including an ice-cool snow destruction version).
You can also choose to apply destruction effect to dialogs and modals.
While it is possible to use Compiz in 2021 (particularly on some of the nimbler desktop environments like MATE) a GNOME extension implementation is the quickest, easiest, and least-involved way of getting nostalgic effects like this back on Ubuntu.