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Desktop Effects Updates

Compiz has a Community Site
The Compiz community site has existed for a while now, but perhaps I should call people’s attention to it. If you’re a fan of SLED10’s Desktop Effects, you may find this a helpful resource.

A couple notables: the community just approved a new logo for the project, shown at right. They also have a gallery of plugins with really nice screenshots.

What about Beryl?
I frequently include the Beryl project ( which is derived from Compiz) in my demos to show what is possible with the technology. However, I don’t use Beryl for my day-to-day window manager. Two things about Beryl don’t work for me. First, Beryl kind of overdoes it for me–the effects quickly become distracting. I prefer Compiz’s more reserved approach. But the second reason is much more important: it’s unstable. I state this not just by my own experience, but because it has become common knowledge.That’s not to say that Beryl is a bad thing. Beryl strikes me as a place where the developer equivalent of freeform jazz musicians play. There may be a lot of junk and noise, but brilliant innovations periodically come out of it!

A nice mid-point that some may want to consider is the Compiz Extra Packages (from the Compiz downloads page), which bring in a selection of cool plugins, many of which were pioneered within the Beryl community.

One other thing to mention about Beryl. I believe that Compiz wouldn’t have a community site (yet) if Beryl hadn’t forked and lit a fire under the Compiz community. Competition between projects, even friendly competition, is good for innovation in many ways.

News from the Maintainer
David Reveman recently posted some new info on Compiz on a freedesktop.org mailing list. Some of the information is lower-level technical planning stuff, but it does show some of the things he and the compiz community are working on.

Some have said that David Reveman has not been open enough with how he manages the compiz project. However, when I read posts that reveal David’s development philosophy, I repeatedly find that I appreciate his approach. He takes an architecture-first approach to compiz. (In fact, its because David so carefully designed compiz that a fork project like Beryl is even possible.) An analogy that occurs to me is how you can feel the lack of planning that some cities have. Ever tried to get across town on Seattle’s arterial streets? Like many cities, Seattle grew up in a slap-dash, unregulated manner, and you can feel it in the way the streets are laid out and how neighborhoods connect together. Planning may not be able to anticipate all future possibilities, but it generally does better than blind evolution.

Compiz KDE package

What about KDE?
I get asked this question a lot. One of our KDE developers in Prague took the time to explain to me, carefully and patiently, that Compiz does not have all the features of the Kwin window manager, so Compiz therefore amounts to a bastardization of the virtues of KDE.

Nevertheless, I am pleased to see that a compiz-kde package is appearing in the SLED10 SP1 beta builds. 🙂


3 Responses

  1. It’s all about the community you build around the project now. Reveman has taken a very closed stance towards Compwiz. He also come across as arrogant and dismissive in the interview you did with him about Beryl.

  2. Jon:
    Some of that may be that English is not David native language, so his inflectons may sound that way. Nevertheless, David’s closed stance seems to be guided at least in part by prudence. He consistently puts proper design ahead of fast fixes and patches to support additional functionality. Maybe he’s also an engineer at heart, and is not that outgoing.
    Or, maybe he’s just a really talented person and has an unfortunate ego. (I’ve met him face to face, and he does not strike me that way. He’s a very thoughtful guy.)
    Any way you take it, his project rocks, and a lot of people love the results.

  3. Great, maybe in a year or two, X.Org will have a window manager that can do what Amigas could do back in ’85, if the hardware allowed it (which it doesn’t).

    Now, when do we get a desktop that doesn’t suck?

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