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Fedora's OpenGL Composite Desktop 392

An anonymous reader writes "First we had Novell's XGL and Compiz technology, which allows for OpenGL-based composite rendering on the Linux desktop. Now Fedora has created the Advanced Indirect GL X project, which aims for similar desktop effects but with a simpler implementation. Sure, at the end of the day it's just eye candy, but make no mistake - the Linux desktop is due for a massive shake-up!"
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Fedora's OpenGL Composite Desktop

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  • "Just eyecandy" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @01:32PM (#14777693)
    I spend upwards of 10 hours a day staring at a computer screen; what I'm looking at had better be aesthetically pleasing.

    It *does* serve a purpose - it makes my day that little bit more enjoyable. Decorating your house serves no real purpose (unless you're trying to sell it), but most people want something a little nicer than bare walls. People decorate their cubicles and offices - a photo here, a plant there.

    I don't see why a desktop should be any different.
  • OpenGL a big win (Score:5, Insightful)

    by andrewzx1 ( 832134 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @01:35PM (#14777709) Homepage Journal
    Having increased OpenGL support for Linux and gathering development support for advanced graphics toolkits will be a big win for Linux desktop. Having a sexy and slick interface has helped make OSX very popular. Sexy graphics for Linux will open new possibilities for interfaces, data display, games, and more.

    Let us pay homage to Silicon Graphics, the originators of OpenGL. They may not live out the year.
  • by tuffy ( 10202 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @01:39PM (#14777743) Homepage Journal
    Making incompatible forks, each one trying to be different from another insetead of collaboring to rush development of unified tools.

    What part of "This is code that was done entirely upstream in concert with the rest of the X community." do you not understand?

  • by chrismcdirty ( 677039 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @01:40PM (#14777748) Homepage
    allowing any user to load and install any application or hardware accessory

    Isn't that part of the reason Windows is so insecure? Any user can install an application (when using default setup, as most people use), so the exploits can do more than screw with the user's home directory.
  • by Tweekster ( 949766 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @01:44PM (#14777782)
    Um, how about you stop telling other people what "we" (who is this we you speak of anyways) should be doing. Why dont you go get started on that and stop setting priorities for OTHER people
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @01:46PM (#14777800)
    Why would I want to work on Active Directory compatibility? Why should I care about the "casual office user"? For that matter, why should I care about Linux being a mainstream option for the corporate desktop?

    These things are boring to work on and don't benefit me at all. If you think they're important, perhaps you could work on them or hire somone to work on them. In the meantime, I'll be working on things that are relevent to me, e.g. eye-candy and development tools.

    The concept of a unified Linux community is an illusion largely created by the GPL. It's really just a bunch of different organizations and people with diverging aims that all happen to be working with the same OS.
  • by 192939495969798999 ( 58312 ) <info&devinmoore,com> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @01:49PM (#14777824) Homepage Journal
    If Linux allowed anyone to install anything without having to think first, then you'd get what windows has: tons of viruses and malware. If it is easy to dupe people, then people will be duped. Unfortunately, this is the catch-22 for linux: how to achieve an install base like Windows while maintaining a Macintosh-like affinity with hackers, so that the user base won't get attacked.
  • by chrismcdirty ( 677039 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:01PM (#14777919) Homepage
    Chances are, you care because it's pretty and pleasing to the eyes. If not, move along.

    I don't see why your post refers to the question about how it affects application developers if you haven't written a line of code since GWBASIC. That tells me than anything to do with application development doesn't matter to you at all, anyway.
  • by skryche ( 26871 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:07PM (#14777957) Homepage
    Having watched the movies, I am greatly unimpressed. The reason the Mac UI works so well is that its eyecandy is a method of subtly including information that might otherwise be lost. For instance, when you minimize a window in MacOS (if I remember correctly), it slides down to a nice little parking place on the dock. In the first movie, the minimized document shrinks down in a nifty animation but shows no relationship between it and the button at the top of the screen. The second movie solves this problem (so why even have the first) but is slow (can you imagine minimizing eight windows? What a mess!).

    Similarly, in the third example -- what information is being given to the user by fading the menus? I'm not sure what it is; instead, it just looks messier, and therefore less useful.

    A side note: I knew this whole "No! Vorbis is the format! OGG is just the container" idea would bite me on the ass some day, and it looks like today's the day. I clicked on the movie links only to have my Winamp playlist destroyed. Even worse, Winamp didn't even know how to play the file. Is there a solution to this absurd problem?
  • by diegocgteleline.es ( 653730 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:11PM (#14777987)
    Maybe you didn't read the question well: Q. How does this affect application developers?
  • by paulpach ( 798828 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:15PM (#14778019)
    You are right, we should forbid X developers from working on X until your issues are solved.

    What we should do is grab the X developers ( which some are volunteers, which are giving this away for free ) and force them to work on a Microsoft Active Directory clone. Given the extensive experience X developers have in directory service, forcing them to work on it is a no brainer.

    What should happen is that all development on linux should stall until we get your issues solved. People with no interest whatsoever in Active Directory should be forced to work on it. This of course should include Gnome, KDE, and all of GNU products.

    Also, Microsoft Active Directory is TOP priority, nobody in their house can do anything usefull without it. And it is well known that 87% of the desktop computers are using Active Directory.

  • by ardor ( 673957 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:17PM (#14778029)
    "A full OpenGl desktop will be problematic when you want to run a 'windowed' version of Quake in for example, as the applicaiton will be expecting to have full control of the OpenGL/GPU and not expecting the first priority to be going to the Desktop Environment."

    This is wrong. OpenGL is actually better suited for this than Direct3D, since OpenGL has a client/server architecture. OSX proves this - it is easily possible to play in windowed mode with no slowdowns. So, no 3D apps get broken. D3D needs to be redesigned for this, in short it needs a similar client/server-architecture. I wouldnt be surprised to see Direct3D 10 heading in this direction.
  • by penrodyn ( 927177 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:17PM (#14778032)
    It's amazing that when Vista has new eye candy its bad but when Linux has it it's good!?
  • by WhiteWolf666 ( 145211 ) <sherwinNO@SPAMamiran.us> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:39PM (#14778227) Homepage Journal
    Vista's eye candy has tremendous system requirements. On X, if you can offload window operations to an OpenGL compositor, you save a significant number of CPU cycles.

    Yes, there is a difference. Take a look at your system. Turn off NVIDIA's custom render accel, and watch X's CPU usage while moving windows around, or resizing, or scrolling.

    Install XGL, or this new Fedora thing.

    Play a video on X, run a background compilation process, and then resize your video window. It'll stutter like mad. Try the same thing on XGL; its fluid. Watch all the fluid animations, and watch what happens to your CPU usage. With any accelerated video card (even ancient POS like Intel's i810, or Radeon 7500+, or older low-end Geforce) you'll see negligble CPU impact.

    Contrast that with Vista's requirements for the full "Aeroglass" experience. You can do the same thing on XGL at a far, far lower cost of system resources.

    One approach makes your computer faster. The other requires a faster computer. Understand?
  • by WhiteWolf666 ( 145211 ) <sherwinNO@SPAMamiran.us> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:42PM (#14778257) Homepage Journal
    WMV, AVI and DiVX are all technically patented encumbered on Linux. DiVX (and hence XviD) is probably the safest bet, but OGG is free (as in beer and speech).

    Does it really make sense to distribute Linux videos in a format that violates the law if you want to view it on Linux? No, I think not.

    Just install OGG already. Don't tell me you didn't have to upgrade your "Winders" box Windows Media Player half a dozen times since you installed XP.

    Go here [illiminable.com]. It just takes a little bit of time.
  • Re:Terrific. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by binford2k ( 142561 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:51PM (#14778333) Homepage Journal
    Now that I'm at work on a Windows machine, they've chosen a format that I can't use. Why not just use f'ing mpeg?

    So I was browsing microsoft.com and they had this video I wanted to see. But I'm on my Linux machine and they've chosen to use WMV, a format that I can't use*. Why can't those cockbags just use f'ing mpeg?

    * Artistic license. MPlayer plays wmv files just fine. Of course, it does this in a semi-legal way by using windows codecs themselves.
  • Re:"Just eyecandy" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Expert Determination ( 950523 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @02:58PM (#14778403)
    If aesthetic were important than a better place to start might be by having standards for the look and feel of X applications and then making Linux distributions adhere to it. Right now my X desktop looks like every application was designed and written by a completely different group of people (which of course they were, but it shouldn't be visible). This doesn't just apply to looks. It'd be nice if there were some commonality between the user interfaces too. This is far more imporant, to me, than a bunch of new features that will allow applications to look and behave even more differently from each other than before.
  • by Scyber ( 539694 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:01PM (#14778432)
    I am guessing that they don't have screenshots b/c they are demoing animations in those movies. Animations are a little difficult to demo in a static image.
  • by WhiteWolf666 ( 145211 ) <sherwinNO@SPAMamiran.us> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:06PM (#14778482) Homepage Journal
    NO NO NO

    Did you know: X1x00 series of ATI cards don't have drivers yet (3 months after release!) and won't for the next 3 months?

    Did you know: ATI driver's performance on Linux is ~ 1/5th driver performance on Windows?

    Did you know: ATI's DRI driver is based upon outdated docs ATI released along time ago with all the performance stuff torn out (no pixel shaders, for example).

    At least Nvidia's closed source driver tends to work. Have you tried the latest nvidia drivers? They do list support for your NX6200 [tweakers.net]. Perhaps try sending them a bug report, or posting on NVNews.net's forums (official Nvidia Linux support forums).

    Nvidias drivers are closed source, but they are 98% feature complete with Windows. ATI's drivers suck, both the open and closed source ones.
  • by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:07PM (#14778488)
    The reason the Mac UI works so well is that its eyecandy is a method of subtly including information that might otherwise be lost.

    Your point is well-taken, but I'd suggest you sit down with a copy of OS X 10.0 sometime. The eye-candy was pretty unsubtle back then. The refinement present in Tiger took Apple several years to get right. XGL is not yet a year old. Give it some time to mature.
  • There are already ass-loads of games that are Direct3D only. But most good developers keep a couple code-paths, so things like Doom3 and so on can all be ported to Linux/OSX/whatever with minimal fuss. Besides, Apple moving to faster hardware and their increasing adoption rates will do nothing but make the OpenGL market more attractive to game developers who want to target users across platforms.
  • Not impressed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grendelkhan ( 168481 ) <scottricketts&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:46PM (#14778833) Journal
    I've been running Xgl and Compiz on Ubuntu and I have to say, the Novell guys are way out in front of Fedora for this, Xgl is ready for primetime and runs nearly flawlessly for me. This looks more like sour grapes over Novell holding onto Xgl until nearly the last minute before opening it up to the community. While I don't agree with how Novell developed this, it's hard to argue with the product.
  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @05:02PM (#14779452)
    If a piece of hardware is supported in Linux, it's easier to install than in Windows.

    Bullcrap. Only somebody who's never tried to install the IVTV driver for Hauppauge video capture cards can say that.

    Or the driver to a Netgear USB wireless ethernet adaptor.

    Or the driver to an ATI video card.

    Bullplop. I hope nobody's buying this statement, because it's about the dumbest thing I've ever read. You must really be drinking the kool-aid if you actually believe this enough to type it as if it were fact.
  • Don't forget... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CarpetShark ( 865376 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @05:47PM (#14779844)
    Resolution independence!! It's really time we got past this idea that 1024x768 is an optimal resolution due to web site design or the lowest common denominator or because some people can't see too well. If my new monitor can draw the curve of an "A" at 300dpi, then that's what what I want to see it at, dammit. Sticking with 96dpi or similar is just dumb.
  • One up Novell? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ensign Nemo ( 19284 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @05:48PM (#14779853)
    My take on this is Redhat doesn't like that Novell got all the press and kudos for Xgl and is trying to get mindshare back.

    Reasons for my viewpoint:

    1) I prefer Redhat over Suse. (This isn't an ego post about me, so hear me out.) I use both, but of the two I like Redhat better. I've had bad luck with Suse and Novell seems to be having trouble turning into an opensource/Linux company. We use Groupwise at work and evolution and Suse and have problems. So given a choice I'll take Redhat since I've had good luck with them. However, after reading about Novell's Xgl contributions and checking them out, my impressions of Novell have greatly improved. I'm definitely much more open minded now about them than before. Redhat has always had the reputation for commercial distros that give back to the community. Now with Novell's contributions, Redhat has contribution competition (if that makes any sense.) They are no longer THE company when it comes to good charma in the community. Another company has given back a HUGE contribution and a VERY visible one at that. Now if a person who has stated his biad towards Redhat has now given second thoughts to Novell, what is a person who has no bias or preference either way likely to think.

    2. They're not contributing to Xgl, but rather they came up with their own way and specifically stated is is different than Xgl.

    3. Make specific points about doing it 'upstream', which resurrects the flame wars on the xorg mailing list about in-house vs inet cvs development.

    4. Specifically mention how their approach is better than Novell's and how Novell's 'doesn't sit well with a lot of people.'

    My humble opinion. Don't get me wrong, I still like Redhat but in this case I think this is more for PR good than community good.
  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @06:17PM (#14780153)
    Ok, that covers *one* of the products I mentioned on *some* distributions. Now how about an equally easy solution for all of the products that works on all distributions?

"How many teamsters does it take to screw in a light bulb?" "FIFTEEN!! YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT?"