Animate the Desktop with Xgl and Compiz

by Chris Brown PhD
Section 12: Animate the Desktop with Xgl and Compiz

Given the rapid pace of software development in the Linux world, it is inevitable that some topics that are bleeding-edge as this book goes into production will be mainstream technology by the time you get to read it. One such is the Xgl X server and the compositing window manager compiz. Together with a modern graphics card, these components (which are shipped with SUSE Linux 10.1) offer some stunning visual desktop effects comparable (dare I say this?) to the best that the Mac has to offer. These effects include transparent windows, fade-in/fade-out of windows and menus, animated window minimization, and the ability to put four desktops onto four faces of a cube and spin the cube (in 3-D) to switch desktops. The overall result is to give the desktop a more fluid, organic feel.

Tip: Of course, the command-line die-hards will consider 3-D on the desktop about as much use as a carpet in the garage. I am personally not a great fan of so-called eye-candy. But then, I don't buy decorations for my mobile phone, download polyphonic ring-tones, or wear jewelry in my navel. I think it's an age thing.

At the time of writing, this technology is running on only a limited number of platforms and you may have a rough ride working through this lab. Novell is planning to release this technology as a core part of SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktopâ

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