Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 15th Feb 2006 22:52 UTC, submitted by Jane Walker
Novell and Ximian Novell plans to release a beta for its Linux Desktop 10 including new features offering better interoperability with Microsoft Office and Open Office, said Ted Haeger, Novell's director of user communities, at the Southern California Linux Expo. The beta, tentatively scheduled for release next month, will include a new feature, dubbed Xgl. Haeger said Xgl will allow users to jump between screens and multiple desktops. Targeted to CAD software users, Xgl has a practical side that allows users to have better window- and file-sharing capabilities.
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RE[2]: yay
by rayiner on Thu 16th Feb 2006 17:25 UTC in reply to "RE: yay"
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Nothing against OS X but it's desktop technology hasn't progressed in years. I mean it was definately ahead of it's time but it can't lead the way forever. Open source sometimes takes more time to get the latest technology but when it's done, it's usually done right.

I'm a pretty big OSS fan, but even I have to cringe at this one. OS X is still ahead of both Vista and XGL, for a couple of important reasons:

1) It is mostly on a level of technical parity. Quartz 2D Extreme is out there, even though its not yet enabled because it is incompatible with Quickdraw. Quartz Extreme does the same compositing, distorting, and window synchronizatoin tricks that Compiz does. One potential thing XGL has over OS X is that it sends geometry to the server via XRENDER, instead of doing rendering client-side and just having the window server deal with the resulting bitmaps/textures. In theory, this could be used for some advanced effects like high-quality window scaling, though the fact that text is still represented as bitmaps greatly limits that approach.

2) It's already out there, already mature, and already in wide use. Adium draws fancy anti-aliased chat window graphics, Growl gives me fancy anti-aliased semi-transparent notifications, etc. Lots of apps actually take advantage of OS X's vector features, because it's been out for so long. It'll be quite awhile before the same is true for Vista and XGL.

As for the "being done right", I don't know about that. XGL + the software above it is quite kludge-tastic at the moment. First, the whole "dual X server" thing harks back to the "dual kernel" marketing Apple had in the early days of OS X but quickly buried because everyone realized how ugly that sounded. On top of that, most apps aren't yet ready to take full advantage of XGL. GTK+, even current versions, still draws half through Cairo and half through GDK. GNOME 2.14 will still mix core X and Cairo rendering because it'll still use a non-Cairo'ed Clearlooks theme. The guts of the graphics layer are not really ready for XGL yet --- all sorts of problems ranging from memory management to low-overhead GL context switching need to be addressed at the DRI level.

Now, I'm sure this will all get worked out eventually. By the time GNOME 3.0 rolls around, I'm sure we'll be using a pure Cairo GTK linked to XCB talking to XGL running on DRI-EGL. However, while all those pieces are there in various forms, it'll be quite awhile before they come together into a well-integrated graphics stack. Since I don't think Vista will make it out in 2006, I don't think its a big deal in the context of competing with Windows, but relative to OS X its still an issue.

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