Blog Post

Beryl of Fun

OK, the title was corny, but hey I had to do it. Well, yesterday during a LUG event I noticed one of the guys running Beryl with an Intel graphics card and it was smooth. So that pushed me to go ahead and give it a try. So, last night I went ahead and installed Beryl and set it up so I can switch between it and KWin quite easily.

Specs you want to know? Compaq C304NR laptop, it contains an Intel chipset with the 945GM graphics controller, Celeron 1.6, 1.5GB of RAM, and so on. Running Kubuntu Feisty up-to-date. I used the Ubuntu Feisty AIGLX installation howto on the Beryl website to get it running. I am getting a constant 100 frames per second with my setup and that may be due to the amount of RAM involved as well taking some of the load. CPU is stable and not bogged down anymore than normal. I might have noticed a 5% spike at times but nothing causing anything noticeable.

So what do I think? Functionality wise it really doesn’t provide me anymore however I haven’t played with it long enough yet. I don’t see any loss of functionality either. Looks, pretty damn cool I might add.

Problems? Katapult looks funny since it isn’t composite oriented yet and has a clear shadow behind it. KMenu also has a little bit of a funny clear background in between the menu and the shadow itself. Water doesn’t work so no rain drops for me just yet. Blur works but it is a pig on this machine. Theme wise a majority that come with Beryl aren’t all that great. I downloaded a couple from KDE Look that were rated quite high and they seem to look nice.ย  I am sure that the themes will only continue to get better as Beryl ages.

Overall I am impressed with the work that Quinn and the group of Beryl developers have done. With the right theme and some tweaking, it definitely smashes what Vista gives you out of the box. Now getting something nice like that out of the box would be great, a simple medium of looks and functionality creating a great platform to tweak and build off of. I won’t give Beryl and A or an A+ just yet, but definitely get an above average mark of something like a B or B+. Now I don’t think that it is all that fair either to grade Beryl concerning some of the issues I have seen as it isn’t their fault. KDE 3.5.6 reported updates to fix issues with using Beryl as the window manager. I think a little more fixing on their part, and get Mez to compositize (ya I made that up) Katapult and we are on to something. My favorite feature so far is the scaling to the desktop like Mac OS X does, where it takes your open windows and tiles them in a smaller format to the background. I have always loved this feature, and as well I love the Alt+Tab functionality moving between applications. The cube isn’t my cup of tea yet it is still pretty cool.

So you Beryl people, keep rocking on what you have been doing. I think many people can give a testament to my old behavior of “composite is crap,” as I am seeing different now. If only NVidia and ATI would do something goodย  for the community making it easier for our developers to take Beryl to the next level!

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  • RJ

    I agree, it needs to be refined a lot more before it can be mainstream, hopefully kde4 works with it. (hopefully.)
    and for the issue of drivers, i think beryl is a good thing in this area, as it draws more attention to the lack of OSS graphics drivers, and hopefully the community will step up and solve this problem too.

  • kinto

    Maybe you have to know that what you see and use in beryl depends only in minimal part on the work of the beryl community.
    Compiz code is weekly reversed in beryl so, maybe is better to give credit to David Raveman too.
    I have to admit that the beryl community is doing really good in making the installation smooth and implementing plugins.

  • terog

    “KMenu also has a little bit of a funny clear background in between the menu and the shadow itself.”

    AFAIK this can be fixed by disabling the native KDE effects. Otherwise you have two shadows (kde&beryl) in there.

  • Kinto, you are correct about the Compiz code and David definitely deserves credit as well.

    Terog, you are correct as well by disabling the native KDE effects. Thanks!

  • I’ve been using Beryl for only a few weeks now. I like it although I do notice some performance degradation in a few areas. Overall it’s pretty fun. I really like the “screen edges” configuration. I have set it up to switch desktops and I find it very useful.

  • Ya, I just did the screen edges trick a little bit ago, it reminds me of a setup I used in the past, but I can’t remember what OS it was and exactly how it worked. But I like how it switches over.

  • John

    Impressed with the work of the Beryl devs?

    I am absolutely appauled by the way in which the Beryl devs forked Compiz without reason or justification and have relicensed the code so that contributions my not be ported upstream.

    I am not even going to bother talking about the substandard development practices and poor coding that gets into Beryl repo. That can easily be seen when compaing the compiz and beryl releases and the rate of code chages in the Beryl repo considering they are at RC level.

    If the beryl fork would not have occured and Quinn had focussed on maintaining a community tested branch with new plugins out of git then feisty would be shipping with a composited desktop.

    The beryl moto
    Beryl: all take and no give, disgracing the spirit of opensource since 2006

  • John, I am sorry but I have to disagree with the “w/o reason or justification.” There was plenty of reason, one David wasn’t going to merge the work from Quinn’s version. Now I don’t know if it was 100% David behind that or Novell, but I will leave it to those who know better. How come Compiz isn’t GPL? I just noticed the MIT licensing, how does this bode with the recent Microsoft/Novell deal with licensing and what have you?

    I don’t care what they did with Compiz or Beryl, neither would be shipping with Feisty due to the driver restrictions which was recently discussed in a current blog of Mark Shuttleworth. Compiz nor Beryl are ready for the primetime especially out of the box since not every graphics card works properly with either.

    Also, Beryl is not disgracing the spirit of open source and did exactly what they should and could have done with software freedom. I am glad they GPL’d Beryl and that it is FREE in every sense. I am seeing more .emerald themes on kde-look and such nowadays as well.

    As much as I am impressed with the work of the Beryl devs, I know where the beginning lies and I am impressed with what Compiz started. I have to side with Quinn seeing that his patches and his work wasn’t going to be accepted by Novell. Why supply patches and try to work with someone when they aren’t going to accept it? That is what is great about our community, Quinn easily overcame and adapted to the situation. I am in no way a Beryl, Compiz, or composite fanboi for that matter either, and I will not side with any of them as well.

  • sect2k

    Now, RIchard, you reasoning is flawed, and what you say I call ‘Bullshit’. Linus doesn’t accept patches for kernel from just anyone and for a right reason. An this situation is no different.

    As people have stated before, the patches that Quinn submitted were nowhere near good enough for inclusion, as David would like to move the project forward, code and other quality wise.

    I sincerely hope you don’t use X as it is, in your own words, not FREE enough, being MIT licensed (the reason compiz is MIT licensed).

    The Berly project was started for all the wrong reasons (Quinn acting like an immature spoiled brat). You don’t se Andrew Morton forking the kernel, do you.

  • maharbA

    nixternal, you said you got Beryl set up to switch between it and KWin “quite easily”
    May I ask how (it’s kind of a pain for me).

    BTW, I believe Quinn is a “she” (and, as much as I respect the Compiz team, I am glad that she and the other Beryl folks have set it up so someone as dumb as me can install it).

  • tinin

    maharbA: If your card accepts Aixglx, it’s too easy to switch between kwin and beryl. Just by starting the beryl-manager and choosing the window manager

  • maharbA: right click the beryl icon in the kicker/taskbar, and then under the window manager submenu just switch between Beryl and KWin. It works very well for me, with only 1 noticeable bug. The desktop pager goes from 4 workspaces to a lot, but clicking on the top left pager will straighten it back out. Quinn has a beard like Richard Stallman, so you decide ๐Ÿ™‚

    sect2k: this situation, Beryl and Novell/Compiz patches is way different than the Kernel for one. If Quinn’s patches were no where good enough and were not excepted for that reason, then Quinn has all the right in the world to fork over or do whatever the hell he wants and create his own variation. If the Beryl code is so bad and the Compiz code is so good, then I would think we would see more “Compiz” themes and more “Compiz” news, but all I read about that deals with composite is Beryl. Quinn did the right thing and the moral/legal thing by making his own variation and he doesn’t have some horrible company backing him either.

  • sect2k

    I wholeheartedly disagree, bit since I don’t feel like arguing with you, I just let it be.

    BTW: According to Quinn, berly is not a fork, but is “based” on compiz.

    And one last thing, this (compiz vs. berly) has nothing to do with Novell, and making remarks like that, just makes you look foolish, and I expect better from the likes of you.


  • sect2k: Well, read the trails of emails on the SUSE lists, read the Wikipedia entries, and you will see the thing about Novell in there as well.

    After the Novell XGL/Compiz team (mostly David Reveman) refused the proposition to merge the Quinnstorm changes with compiz-vanilla, the decision was made to make a real differentiation.

    I would appreciate you retracting the foolish remark now. I have talked to developers on both sides because I was actually anti-composite for a long time. This is the same story I get from both sides as well.

  • sect2k

    Well you just keep on dragging me in don’t you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Whether Novell is a horrible company has, in reality, nothing to do with the reasons why berly was “forked”. Yes, David, works for Novell, but his decision to not accept Quinn’s patches was his own and not Novells. The one and only reason, for this fork, is that Quinn is one troubled individual and has some serious issues.

    As I said I don’t wish to argue, but my “foolish” remark stands. Now, unless you can provide some quotes of David saying the decision to reject those patches came from above, I will consider this debate to be over (I would assume that you, like me, have more important things to do).

    It was fun, but it’s time to move on…


  • haha sect2k, here let me drag you in again ๐Ÿ™‚

    Novell isn’t that horrible of a company ๐Ÿ™‚ There are definitely worse, and maybe Novell will shock the world and do the unexpected with this Microsoft deal.
    David’s Response to patches
    Quinn Storm’s response

    David’s response to Beryl
    Colin’s response to David about Beryl

    I never realized that Novell did have somewhat of a stronghold on the development of Compiz in the beginning (I don’t know about now). So I learned something new there. It is also interesting to see that whenever David is questioned by Quinn or Colin he doesn’t respond, just as Quinn’s initial post stated. Compiz may be doing something different now, but when the fork happened, it was a good thing. Plus it puts competition between the two to hopefully create something great.

    Anywho, just wanted to share that. I of course will allow you to respond in a timely manner and we can move on. Thanks for keeping me on my toes though, as it was interesting reading between all of the mailing lists. The conference call between Quinn and David seems to be gone now. Interesting…

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