The Underlying KWin Improvements In KDE 4.7
Written by Michael Larabel in KDE on 28 May 2011 at 09:44 AM EDT. 12 Comments
Now that the first KDE SC 4.7 beta is available, Martin Gräßlin, the lead developer of the KWin, has blogged about some of the underlying improvements made to the compositing window manager for KDE during this development cycle. Of course, most Phoronix graphics junkies will already know what's changed based upon previous articles, but here's an overview for those not caught up to speed.

The key improvements that Martin talks about in this blog post include:

- OpenGL 2.0 / OpenGL ES 2.0 support. KWin's compositor is now written for GL2 / GLES2 with a programmable pipeline rather than relying upon OpenGL fixed functionality. This results in some performance improvements and the OpenGL ES support will allow the compositor to work on many embedded devices. The OpenGL ES 2.0 / EGL support is best off, but it's not yet supported by all graphics drivers. For anyone still (unfortunately) living in an OpenGL 1.x world, the OpenGL 2 / GLSL shaders can be disabled until you buy new hardware. (Contrary to earlier plans of Kwin using OpenGL 3.x, this wasn't done for KDE SC 4.7.)

- Various optimizations to the blur effect.

- Blocking / suspended compositing. This allows full-screen multi-media applications and OpenGL games/programs block the KWin compositing to avoid overhead and other problems. VLC and Wine are the projects initially interested in taking advantage of this KDE flag to suspend the compositing while full-screen applications are active. Users can also manually setup their applications to temporarily create the blocking for their desired software.

- A new shadow system.

- Code refactoring from one of the KDE Google Summer of Code (GSoC) developers.

- Support for the graphics system Raster. In particular, for those with the NVIDIA binary driver, the window resizing performance should be much better.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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