After switching for a week and falling in love with Compiz and some of the features it offers, I feel like I can accomplish far more now on Linux than I was on Mac OS X. For me Mac OS X became the new Windows, I was fighting the system to work almost as much as I was do actual work (between the IMAP code in Mail.app crashing and Safari leaking, I was not a happy camper). The one missing feature however was Dashboard. I'm not a religious user of Dashboard, but I always used it to keep little chunks of information stored away either in post-it notes, via clocks, or tickers, etc. I'd not found a good solution until recently, by way of Opera and a combination of widgets and one of the default Compiz Fusion plugins.
(click to enlarge)
The concept behind Opera Widgets is the exact same as behind Dashboard widgets, tiny little web applications running on your desktop, by default however they run on your desktop. This wasn't going to work for me, I like to stash widgets away, and access them through the trusty F12 button as per usual with Dashboard.
In enters the "Widget Layer" plugin for Compiz Fusion , which allows you to assign rules for placing regular windows sitting in the window manager, into this special widget layer that appears just like Dashboard does on Mac OS X (with the actual desktop faded out in the background). In order to group all Opera Widgets in the Widget Layer, you can set the "Widget Windows" field to:
Which will cause all enabled Opera Widgets to be availabe at a keypress of F12, if you're on Linux, I highly suggest you try it out, it's extremely useful, especially if you grab some of the more developer focused widgets from the widget directory
Of course, there's plenty of reasons to use Compiz. One of my favorite plugins is the "Annotate" plugin that allows you to draw on your screen, which comes in handy for going over interfaces with coworkers.
In general the addition of Compiz to the Linux desktop I feel is an important one, it drastically improves the rendering of windows since it's essentially doing what Quartz Extreme is doing on Mac OS X in terms of offloading some rendering on the graphics card's GPU. Having really bitching eye-candy certainly doesn't hurt either, So far with Compiz I have what equates to "Spaces", "Expose", and "Dashboard" from Leopard, along with a myriad of other goodies like "Wobbly Windows", true transparency and reflections on arbitrary UI elements and of course, a fish tank inside my desktop. (If you're using openSUSE, the one-click packages for Compiz Fusion can be found here on the wiki).