Linked by Adam S on Sat 25th Jun 2005 19:56 UTC, submitted by Diego Calleja
X11, Window Managers A new acceleration architecture is being ported from kdrive by some QT developers, which will make composition managers like xcompmgr really fast and able to do some of the "display tricks" MacOS X has been doing for awhile.
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Short version: we may have eye candy in X.org sooner than we thought.

Long version:

Two X extensions called XRender and Composite, combined with a compositing manager (like xcompmgr), allow for the alpha transparency, the transparent windows, all that good eye candy stuff you want.

But XRender/Composite really needs acceleration to be worth a damn. The best solution to this problem is to use hardware acceleration. This is what Xgl is all about, it moves the entire X server onto OpenGL. But it's less than a year old, quite new. Right now they're developing it inside KDrive, which is Keith Packard's experimental X server - a kind of proving ground for new technologies, unlike the stable X.org. Like XRender and Composite before it, it will probably go through a maturation stage and eventually get ported over to X.org. So despite what someone said earlier in this thread, Xgl is probably still very far away from mainstream use!

The other option is software acceleration, using the traditional X infrastructure. But the existing software acceleration in X.org, XAA, doesn't work with XRender/Composite. KAA is a much improved version of XAA from KDrive. What Zack has done is port KAA to X.org, calling it Exa. If Zack can convince the X.org developers to tweak all their video drivers, Exa will allow us all to enjoy XRender/Composite relatively soonish, instead of waiting for Xgl.

So there's still quite a bit of work to do (I'm told Composite isn't quite stable itself yet), but if the X.org developers buy into this, this development could mean we'll see fancy eye-candy in mainstream X within months rather than years.