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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.  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 good  for the community making it easier for our developers to take Beryl to the next level!

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