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Compiz Gets Thumbs-Up for Gutsy Gibbon 303

Posted by Zonk
from the cheeky-monkey dept.
Da Chronic writes "After a vigorous debate at the last Ubuntu Technical Board meeting, the board decided to ship Ubuntu 7.10 with Compiz enabled by default. The decision was made despite the fact that Compiz still has some significant issues relating to drivers and Xorg. 'For instance, there are some problems — like accelerated video playback issues with Intel drivers — that can only be resolved by using the EXA accelerated rendering framework which is still not ready yet. When asked why Intel isn't addressing the driver issue, technical board member Mathew Garrett explained that "Intel are working on the basis that composited desktops won't be ready for rolling out until EXA is stable enough anyway, so it's not a concern [for them].' In the end, all but one member voted to include Compiz in Gutsy."
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Compiz Gets Thumbs-Up for Gutsy Gibbon

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  • Compiz is...? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BloodyIron (939359) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:54PM (#20592453)
    Sorry, pardon my ignorance, but what is Compiz?

    Perhaps giving a brief description of what Compiz does in the article is in order?

    Don't get me wrong, I would consider myself a fairly adept GNU/Linux user, but that does not necessarilly mean I know everything :/

    Help computer...
  • well... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 13, 2007 @02:57PM (#20592505)
    as long as that "fallback configuration tool" that was linked here a few weeks ago works properly, i guess it shouldnt cause too many problems. lets hope that the installer will intelligently choose the correct manager.
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SlashdotOgre (739181) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @03:09PM (#20592695) Journal
    I've been running Compiz in its various forms (compiz-quinnstorm, beryl, now compiz-fusion) on Gentoo since around March of 2006, and while I can see where you're coming from I have found some of its features actually useful. The ones I particularly like are: the expose clone (google 'expose mac to see what I'm referring to), the live alt-tabs (you see what's running in the alt-tab windows), it allows for extensive key bindings (I know you can use other programs like xbindkeys, but it at least beats Metacity's binding capability), and transparency (compiz isn't required to do this, but it makes it a lot easier than other WM's -- basically it's designed with that in mind).

    Most of the eye candy doesn't eat too much CPU, and it all easily be enabled and disabled from it's control panel (compiz-fusion uses ccsm which works great, beryl-settings-manager was also pretty good). I was also impressed by beryl-manager (now fusion-icon) which made switching windows and decoration managers easier than ever.
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nutty_Irishman (729030) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @03:21PM (#20592907)
    I originally thought the same thing with Beryl (the breakoff from Compiz, which is now remerging into compiz-fusion), and thought, "hey it looks nice, but that's about it". I left it installed on my machine as it was pretty stable and didn't see a need to remove it. After a while I started rearranging and managing my desktop-- all development work in one window, terminal windows in another, email/web browser in another, and the last for visualization apps (imageJ, matlab, etc.). It wasn't until I had all four desktops being active used that I realized how much easier it was to multitask with a more sophisticated windows manager. I could actively switch between desktops fast, drag and drop items from one desktop to the other, separate global and local task switchers-- all much faster and with less downtime than before. Now I find it rather limiting to use a linux box that doesn't have it installed.

    The only thing really holding it back is the stability issues (my desktop has no problems, but my laptop crashes at least once a day with it enabled). It doesn't hurt to install it and give it a try-- if you don't find it useful at first but it runs stable, then leave it installed-- you might come back and find it useful someday.
  • by kote-men-do (881870) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @03:25PM (#20593007)
    Anyone else experience window redraw problems with the latest compiz?

    Windows won't redraw (no text as you are typing, no scrolling, no menu's) until I drag them or toggle their level of transparency.

    Using an nVidia 7600GS here.
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Trifthen (40989) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @03:29PM (#20593109) Homepage
    Did you run top while using Compiz? I'd think letting the video-card handle all the effects (vid cards these days handle games with requirements far more brutal than a wussy little desktop) would be way more efficient than rectally violating the CPU. I've seen X bolt to the top of my CPU lists frequently, and I just roll my eyes every time.

    I've actually been waiting for it to stabilize and for Compiz and Beryl to quit arguing amongst themselves for just this reason. The eye candy is nice, but I just want a system that doesn't throw a tantrum because I'm desktop-switching. From the Google videos I've seen of Compiz in action, that doesn't look like a problem.
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @03:50PM (#20593543) Homepage Journal
    They have released the docs for their GPU. I have been told time and time again on Slashdot that all that has to happen is to document your hardware and a legion of FOSS programmers will write a better driver than you could.
    So why does Intel need to address anything?

  • by Vspirit (200600) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @04:26PM (#20594269) Homepage
    Since the 3D engine and direct rendering features accelerate rendering windows, toolbar, systray etc.. it ought to be of value to all, even the X users that only use X to open terminal windows and|or use multiple monitors. (most of you guys use web browser also anyways).

    I have not yet used compiz-fusion, although I have made sure the graphics card and the freebsd+xorg installation are prepared, when I do I sure hope that it is fairly simple to install a configuration that can be stripped down, so only the the cpu+mem eating code that are needed to render window, toolbar, systray and alike are active, making it efficient. Then I hope it is also easy to enable/disable simple features that suits my liking, with and option to save and switch between different profiles.

    But I still wonder if what I dream of is simply a fairytale, or whether this can be expected?
  • Yikes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by massysett (910130) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @04:43PM (#20594573) Homepage
    If there has to be "vigorous debate" about something like this, then it is not ready to be turned on by default, plain and simple. The article says the developers don't know how stable Compiz-Fusion is, because they don't have data, etc. But they have doubts, which is all that matters. It would be fine to go forward with turning it on by default if all the devs ran it and none experienced any problems. Instead, there are known problems (such as this Intel problem) and some of the devs acknowledge that the thing can crash once a DAY, which is consistent with other experiences I have read as well.

    New users (Ubuntu's target, I believe) will try Ubuntu, see this thing crashing all the time, and think "why did my geek friend tell me this Linux is more stable than Windows? My XP doesn't crash once a day."

    One dev said "if we don't get it out there at some point it'll never get good enough." I don't see how foisting it on new users will help get it into shape. Are the Compiz-Fusion devs not busy enough already? There are apparently already KNOWN ISSUES that aren't being fixed, so how is turning it on by default going to improve anything? It surely will not generate better bug reports--new users will not know Compiz-Fusion is the problem; how are they going to bugreport it?

    I hope Compiz-Fusion shapes up soon or that Ubuntu reverses itself; if not, this release will be a slide backward for many users--it will resemble Vista: a release with lots of paint, but with no improvements under the surface.
  • by shaitand (626655) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @05:08PM (#20594997) Journal
    'Nah, they'll use "Hungry Hungry Hippo", once it becomes bloated with other stuff like this that new users won't likely use.'

    You don't think users will use a 3D accelerated desktop? Forget the breathtaking effects this brings, the performance makes 2D X look slow and crappy.

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @05:12PM (#20595061) Homepage Journal
    So without the company that created the hardware dedicating resources to a driver project the driver may or not be done in a timely manner.
    So if a company wants their driver in the Kernel they will have to not just release the documentation but dedicate programming staff to the project. So they pretty much have to make the same effort as they would with a closed source driver but also prepare the documentation, manage the open source contributions if they get any, and make sure that their software is legally clean to publish as open source.
    So what I am hearing is that I shouldn't hold my breath for those new good FOSS drivers for ATI.

  • by xenocide2 (231786) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @05:17PM (#20595129) Homepage
    Actually, I'd say the technology is being tried by nearly every desktop user. And subsequently disabled. My roommate turned it off because it was too distracting. I keep it off because it tends to freeze X on me on feisty.

    It's neat, but I suspect that it's not very well engineered. [ohloh.net]
  • Re:I don't get it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kaizokuace (1082079) on Thursday September 13, 2007 @07:19PM (#20596711)
    the major thing i see that this eye candy helps with is smooth fast transitions between tasks and whatnot. Switching desktops or dragging and dropping from one desktop to another is nice when you can see the motion of the desktop 'cube' spinning as you switch. If it just switches with no animation its kind of an abrupt break in your vision and subsequently in your thought process. The animation just makes it easier on your brain which increases productivity. Thats my 2 cents. I'm also an animator and understand how animation interacts with the mind i guess.
  • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Friday September 14, 2007 @03:22AM (#20600249) Journal
    It's unstable and it hangs X.org. I disabled it within half an hour of trying it.

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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