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The Future of Compiz In Question

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  • #16
    compiz was doomed from the beginning with its gconf crap. Then came beryl and made compiz bearable. But at one point I realized that wobbling windows and spinning cubes do not make the desktop better. And even transparency gets in my way way too often. Today I am using kde 4.2-svn. Effects are off most of the time - and when I use them the only usefull feature is scaling and video preview in the thumbnails

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    • #17
      Compiz has changed window management on *nix forever so even if the project can't reinvent itself, it's not as if the death of compiz is necessarily going to be the death of the functionality or effects it's given users.

      My personal preference - while perhaps unrealistic - would be for compiz to become a generic architecture with an API that other window managers could utilise.

      Basic window management and desirable behaviour has never been compiz's strength so this would give users the more refined and flexible approach of using their window manager of choice, which could utilise compiz in much the same way xfwm4 and metacity utilise xcompmgr. Meanwhile, the focus of the compiz project could be on stability*, compatibility** and in developing a more user-friendly way for users to selectively choose effects/functions plugins (to use a strained analogy - like in, "the fire fox").

      Another advantage of compiz becoming essentially invisible is more than just other window managers could take advantage of the API: gnome-panel, xfce4-panel and plasma could provide access to functionality in the humble form of buttons, liberating me at least from either having to use cryptic keyboard shortcuts or a 'hot corner', just to access the functionality I've enabled.

      * **granted, much of compiz's stability relies on everything from x.org, the video drivers and the graphic libraries.


      Frankly, I'd be happy if xfwm4 could just do the shift-switch, scale, expo and wall plugins. They're about the only plugins I use, anyway.

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      • #18
        Seems to me that Compiz's biggest "problem" right now is that it works fine for most people today and there are no obvious "next steps" other than the big scary ones (see below). Many of the major obstacles holding back wider use of Compiz (eg. flickering 3D) need to be fixed in other areas of the stack, ie there isn't anything for the Compiz devs to do about them. Same for improving integration -- that is arguably something to be done in other projects, not in Compiz itself.

        Developers are just as likely to be drifting off because there is nothing obvious to work on rather than because of a fundamental problem with the project.

        One of the big questions that needs to be worked out is exactly how video playback should be handled in a compositing environment. There seems to be general consensus that sync-to-refresh should be implemented in Compiz rather than further up the stack, and that some kind of flow control should be used so that video player apps (or any animated app, I guess, including games) can match their rate of frame creation to the refresh rate, but that's as far as it goes.

        Nasty scenarios like displaying 24p video on a 72 Hz display (or a 60 Hz display) need to be considered here, and there are relatively few developers who are sufficiently familiar with all the areas to make the next round of design decisions on their own.

        In other words, things will probably drift until the next X developers summit
        Last edited by bridgman; 01-01-2009, 08:32 AM.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by bridgman View Post
          Seems to me that Compiz's biggest "problem" right now is that it works fine for most people today and there are no obvious "next steps" other than the big scary ones (see below).
          Really? I thought the biggest problem was that the eyecandy was just that, eyecandy and useless for day to day work (with the exception of certain accessibility plug-ins).

          If Compiz wants to attract more developers they should consider providing eyecandy that serves a function beyond that of "bling."

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          • #20
            Compiz "bling"

            Compiz does have a few innovative usability improvements, but I agree that it is mostly "bling."

            There is a really simple reason for that. As long as the keyboard and mouse are the dominant input devices, user interfaces won't be able to become much more functional.

            The virtual reality and gaming industries have produced some nice new interfaces, and perhaps they will one day become standard.

            http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/miller20081229/

            Beyond that, it is human biology which is the limiting feature, and more radical alternatives for computer interfacing will need to be considered.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by yogi_berra View Post
              Really? I thought the biggest problem was that the eyecandy was just that, eyecandy and useless for day to day work (with the exception of certain accessibility plug-ins).

              If Compiz wants to attract more developers they should consider providing eyecandy that serves a function beyond that of "bling."
              I really don't agree here, in my opinion the 'bling' does a lot for the OS, it is the first thing people see and is also the thing 95% of the regular home and office users look at for a great part of the day. Personally I like the things I spend lots of time looking at to be pretty!

              A small example: I've my TV hooked up to a HTPC (actually a bunch of parts with really big and silent coolers thrown in the TV furniture) and use it to play movies, play music, browse a bit, that kind of stuff. Now I set this up with the Ubuntu Netbook Remix GUI and it looks absolutely gorgeous and friends (actual non tech ones) who play with it generally really like how it looks and works. The reactions are mostly: "hey, that Linux stuff looks nice, I'd like to have something like that". Much in contrast to the reactions to a basic, dull Gnome desktop. More functionality but no pretty looks. Nobody would have it.
              Last edited by StefanHamminga; 01-01-2009, 06:49 PM.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by yogi_berra View Post
                Really? I thought the biggest problem was that the eyecandy was just that, eyecandy and useless for day to day work (with the exception of certain accessibility plug-ins).

                If Compiz wants to attract more developers they should consider providing eyecandy that serves a function beyond that of "bling."
                There is a lot of really useless stuff in compiz (does anyone use, "Paint fire on screen"?) but even some of the eye-candy is useful in it's own way: plugins like expo and cube make using workspaces more accessible by visualising them well; there's various improvements upon alt-tab functionality and then there's the obvious stuff like full-screen zoom and the scale plugin.

                Compiz also offers some tweaks which do enhance usability in their own right: resize overlays offer a way around the usually sluggish task of resizing a window and waiting for it's widgets to constantly be redrawn; maxumize speaks for itself. Edit: I'd also argue that window animations are good in the sense that windows don't just pop on and off screen: you can see where they're being minimized to, etc.

                Compiz has a lot of fluff/crud but beyond the self-indulgence, compiz makes the *nix desktop more complete.
                Last edited by etnlWings; 01-01-2009, 06:48 PM.

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                • #23
                  This article doesn't say where those developers are going to. If People are leaving Compiz to work on KWIN or a new compositing manager for GNOME, it's fair to say that project isn't in bad shape, but merely evolving. It's not a failure if the tech used in Compiz finds it's way into more integrated solutions (like KWIN), it's a success. If, however, those developers are leaving Compiz because they are sick of the tech, then that is a problem

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                  • #24
                    I found this to be interesting and insightful. Why not Compiz?

                    http://techbase.kde.org/Projects/KWi...ease-notes#FAQ

                    It's a good read all the way down to the last line,

                    KWin aims to provide compositing support, focusing on providing useful compositing features and basic visual effects, while keeping its other strengths.
                    which pings on usefulness bing a key feature. As pointed out by other posts here many experienced Linux desktop users go for useful before bling. Not that bling doesn't have it's place as a marketing tool .

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                    • #25
                      Nearly every software project claims that their priorities are "useful features not bling", and "stability not haste", unlike *competing* projects
                      Last edited by bridgman; 01-03-2009, 07:56 PM.

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                      • #26
                        I fail to understand how people can live without wobbling windows.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                          I fail to understand how people can live without wobbling windows.
                          I live with it mostly because it wobbles the performance right out of the applications I use the most.

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                          • #28
                            I find it amazing so few use the useful Compiz features

                            I use Compiz(when I can, the latest Nvidia drivers have destroyed compositing-reinstalling older driver helped naught since they won't instal correctly). I RELY on Compiz to get things done in an efficient way.
                            It allows me to view all open windows on a desktop with a gesture;all desktops with a gesture. Fast, high quality zooming has been really useful when recording tutuorials. Its tiling feature(found in a few other WM, but none that I know of that don't have problems I don't wish to deal with-GNOME user, BTW)is fantastic. The ability to group windows is(while possible by other means)is easier with Compiz, I find.
                            There is a good bit of fluff, but so what? Some users like it, and as other have said, it draws attention(and I know my gf loves the wobbly windows-and she is most definitely a power user, so such stuff clearly isn't just for noobs).
                            I believe I read that compiz++ plans on separating the composition from the wm? I believe this would enable one to run the same WM even if the GL requirements weren't met. Besides that, requiring people to code in C for desktop stuff is insanity. More than likely, IMHO, it will bring more problems than it helps, and performance will be hurt since I just don't think the app coders are being careful enough.
                            The future is, IMO, Clutter, but NOTHING I have either seen, or heard about, comes close to the configurability of compiz.
                            Regardless, I think IF compiz really does go away, this would be an extremely bad thing for linux. It gave linux something that, at the time, only Mac had, and, most importantly, showed that a linux desktop(or at least a nice looking one) wasn't an oxymoron.
                            BTW, there is at least one thing I've noticed that can be worked on in Compiz:vectorize things! KDE was ahead of Gnome when it decided to require svg icons. It seems as though icons could be part of what compiz handles.
                            Best,
                            Liam

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                            • #29
                              I'm not sure why you say that coding with C on the Desktop is insanity. I don't want to get into a language war, but C++ allows you to shoot yourself in the foot just as much as C does.

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                              • #30
                                Well, very nearly. The biggest thing in C++ favor, IMO, is the most obvious: having a basically modern object oriented design. I would kill myself if I had to deal with only C for gui stuff.
                                Don't get me wrong, I've nothing against C. There's nothing better if you don't need the overhead of a more modern language, but I find it takes me longer to produce sane code in c. However, I admit that that may not be the case if I focused more on C, regardless, most cs students/coders are more familiar with vm backed/non memory obsessed lanuages like java or python, ime.

                                Best,
                                Liam

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