Following on from three earlier articles, here are two more articles highlighting usability features of Beryl; the wheel window switcher and the 'wall' for managing virtual desktops. Videos included, so go on, indulge yourself, boys and girls.
David Reveman writes: "I'd like to get all of you updated on the compiz related things discussed at the X developer conference that was held last week. My talk was mainly focused on 'what's next' and how to get desktop compositing in X to the next level." He also discussed the fork: "I had the chance to talk to Quinn Storm from the beryl project during xdevconf. I would have hoped that the current situation with beryl could be improved but it seems like Quinn at least isn't interested in that. However, after talking to Quinn it's very clear to me that the fork was partially motivated by assumptions that were wrong."
The X.Org community is proud to announce the release of X11R7.2, the third modular release of the X Window System. It incorporates significant stability and correctness fixes, including improved autoconfiguration heuristics, enhanced support for GL-based compositing managers such as Compiz and Beryl, and improved support for PCI systems with multiple domains. It also incorporates the new, more extensible XACE security policy framework.
The Beryl project has often been criticised as being nothing more than eyecandy for the sake of eyecandy. However, there are numerous features in Beryl which could improve usability and workflow. In this series of three articles, some of the new usability features in Beryl 0.2.0 are highlighted and explained (article I, article II, and article III).
LWN has a writeup sumarizing a talk from Keith Packard. RandR 1.2 with much improved handling of multiple input devices, improved EXA, libX11 with XCB support, OpenGL 2.0 support in Mesa, are some of the topics touched.
"Beryl 0.2.0 will be released shortly and I spent time the last week testing out Beryl 0.2.0 RC2 on Kubuntu's Edgy Eft. The improvements found in 0.2.0 are simply amazing. Improvements in usability features, improvements in the pure 3D eye candy, and even the Beryl Settings Manager has been improved (the layout has become much more logically laid out). As you read through this preview of Beryl 0.2.0 and see some of the screenshots, I think you will get a firm grasp on how impressive Beryl can be. Basically, Beryl makes OS X and Vista look old and antiquated."
Apparently, my article a few days ago caused a bigger stir than I had anticipated, not at all unrelated to the fact that my wordings may not have been optimal. So, let me clarify things a bit.
In 2002, both KDE and GNOME released their last major revisions; KDE released KDE 3.0 on 3rd April, while GNOME followed shortly after with GNOME 2.0 on 27th June. For the Linux desktop, therefore, 2002 was an important year. Since then, we have continiously been fed point releases which added bits of functionaility and speed improvements, but no major revision has yet seen the light of day. What's going on?
"Chapter 5 of the FreeBSD Handbook provides an excellent overview for understanding and configuring the X Window system. Today's article goes beyond the Handbook to demonstrate some of the cool things you can do with your FreeBSD system and other systems running X."
"SciTech Software, Inc. today announced that it has ceased further development of its SNAP device driver technology in favor of a new line of web and business logic technologies. SciTech also announced that it would begin looking for a buyer for the company's existing core technology, SciTech SNAP."
"Compiz is the compositing window manager that works on top of Xgl or AIGLX to enable Desktop Effects. Recently, a community developer named Quinn Storm announced that she would start a Compiz-based fork project called 'Beryl', citing frustration with Novell regarding getting her code fixes accepted into the Compiz upstream source tree. We called Compiz/Xgl maintainer David Reveman to get his side of the story."
"All technical reasons (alternative configuration system, alternative decorator, xinerama...) for this fork are incorrect and I know that at least Quinn Storm is aware of this, based on a phone conversation we had last week. With a few notable exceptions, most of the code I've seen going into what is now beryl is not high quality code that would be considered for compiz."
A non-technical overview of the Xgl implementation, and how it relates to Compiz and the nVidia driver, has been published by Emanuele Tamponi. Interestingly, the article mentions that Compiz requires Mesa to implement the infamous GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap function; but since the new beta driver from nVidia implements said function, you can now have Compiz in 3D glory without Xgl or AIGLX (howto).
Just when you thought fancy effects on Linux desktops started to get remotely understandable, focussing on Aiglx/Xgl with Compiz, a fork of Compiz is announced: Beryl. This is the logical continuation of the popular compiz-quinnstorm branch, used by many Ubuntu users. "During this summer, and during the last few weeks, some major additions were done in compiz-quinnstorm, bringing a whole new decorator, cgwd, which was designed to be fully themable, and a new settings backend, csm, which intended to drop most of the gnome deps - there were other reasons for this, but this is not our current subject. Consequently, we reached a situation where it's quite impossible to come back." The main reason is general unwillingness to work with and unresponsiveness to the developers of the -quinnstorm branch from the official Compiz guys.
Mandriva 2007 will have support for 3D desktop effects through Xgl/AIGLX. The choice between AIGLX and Xgl will be made automatically according to the graphic card driver possibilities. The support is currently being tested in Mandriva Cooker, and will work for both GNOME and KDE through Free as well as proprietary drivers.
"In the last few months, there has been a lot of talk about Xgl, compiz, AIGLX et cetera. It seems that 'Xgl' has become a synonym for fancy desktop on Linux - but no one seems to talk about the alternatives or how it all works. I have had a little look into this and am going to summarize it for y'all. I will explain where the following come from and how they work: Xglx, Xegl, Luminocity, and AIGLX."
Some tutorials geared towards the three most popular distros: Ubuntu, SuSE and Fedora Core (1, 2, 3).
Trolltech's Zack Rusin today introduced Glucose on Freedesktop Xorg mailing list. Glucose is a new "OpenGL based acceleration architecture" that "uses XGL code". It does not require any change on the drivers side, except a call to glucoseDriverInit.
"We are very pleased to announce this release, the first major update to cairo since the original 1.0 release 10 months ago. Compared to cairo 1.0, the 1.2 release doubles the number of supported backends, adding PDF, PostScript & SVG backends to the previous xlib/win32, and image backends."
"Five months after release of X11R7.0, the modularized and autotooled release of the MIT Licensed X Window System source code, the X.Org Foundation has issued its first modular roll-up release. X11R7.1 supports Linux, Solaris, and BSD systems. It includes important new server and driver features for embedded systems, 64 bit platforms, enhanced operating system support, and accelerated indirect GLX support. It most importantly demonstrates to developers and industry immediate benefits of modularization."