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X GUI Operating Systems Software Unix

Xorg and Desktop Eyecandy 416

BonoLeBonobo writes "Xorg is going to include a new acceleration architecture which will help desktops to have better eye-candy effects thanks to a better XRender, thus composite, acceleration. Developped by Zack Rusin, a KDE and Qt developper, this new feature should be present in Xorg in September. Porting the existing drivers to this new acceleration architecture should be easy."
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Xorg and Desktop Eyecandy

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  • by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:44AM (#12931330) Homepage Journal
    Double dandy.
    Even so,
    No girls handy.
    Fix your face,
    Reveal you're randy.
    Burma Shave.
    • Re:Desktop Eyecandy? (Score:5, Informative)

      by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:50AM (#12931405) Homepage Journal
      My reaction to this was "Huh?" so I went and looked it up. Apparently, Burma Shave [] was the company that developed the idea of stretching a message across several signs along the road. The idea was that people would tune in to the advertisement because they wanted to know what the punch line of the slogan would be. Apparently the scheme worked quite well, and we now see the concept in popular media such as Road Runner cartoons and the movie Rat Race. (You, Should, Have, Bought, A, Squirrel!) ;-)
      • by Skater ( 41976 )
        Maybe it worked, maybe it didn't. When was the last time you saw a can of Burma Shave on the store shelf? :)
        • When was the last time you saw a can of Burma Shave on the store shelf?

          Every product has its day, especially consumer products. Very few consumer products last 50 years or longer. The key to the seeming longevity of many modern consumer products is that corporations have learned to reuse existing brands in new products. That's why you have such large lines such as the "Reese's" product lines, or the complete reinvention of Head and Shoulders. :-)
        • Re:Desktop Eyecandy? (Score:3, Informative)

          by jfengel ( 409917 )
          Actually I see it every day in my shower, and every few months when I go to buy more. It's cheap and it works.

          It's there, but it's basic shaving cream. It's not a gel, and it doesn't require a "system" to use. There's no brush, so you can't even call it retro. But I don't think the can has changed since the fifties.

          Oh, its marketing has definitely been far surpassed since then. But boy, how often will you see not just a catchy jingle but a whole style last a half-century?
        • Re:Desktop Eyecandy? (Score:5, Informative)

          by pthisis ( 27352 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:15PM (#12933101) Homepage Journal
          Maybe it worked, maybe it didn't. When was the last time you saw a can of Burma Shave on the store shelf? :)

          They've been bought by American Safety Razor, but the brand is still around (almost entirely because of these ads). They even ran some of the old-style road signs in North Carolina about 5-6 years ago.

          You can buy their current products at (for instance):
 e/ []

          Amusing that the brand is now attached to brush shave-cream, since Burma Shave was one of the original brushless creams and often made fun of the brush ("Shaving Brushes/You'll soon see 'em/on a shelf/in some museum/Burma Shave")

          Most of the ads would have 4-5 signs, then the "Burma Shave" tag sign at the end; e.g. "Dinah doesn't/Treat him right/but if he shaved/Dinah might/Burma Shave".

          But there was one series that omitted the Tag, showing how ubiquitous these signs once were:
          If you don't know
          who we are
          you haven't travelled
          very far.

          The original signs ran from the 1920s-1960s.

          And in the mid-80s someone put up a bunch of sets that said:
          Farewell O verse
          Along the road
          How sad to see
          You're out of mode.

          but as I said, the late 1990s saw the return of some Burma-Shave signs.
      • In other news, you can get your barn painted free by the Mail Pouch company.
    • screw the candy give me consistent and functional cut & paste across all apps. If bloody MS can do it why can't X...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:44AM (#12931337)
    You will be accelerated. Resistance is futile.
  • When will we have... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GreyWolf3000 ( 468618 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:48AM (#12931378) Journal
    When will we have a non-monolithic distribution of X? I read it will be included in 7.0.0, but in some places I've heard it'll come after 6.9.0 and other places I've heard it will come at the same time.

    This will mean more than simply being able to easily take out possibly unwanted cruft out of X packages (stuff like xcalc, xterm, etc). It will be pretty easy to put just the X server libraries and binaries on one computer and the X protocol libraries and applications that use them on another.

    I'm sure you could do that now, but it would require a lot of work.

    • by stevef ( 5539 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @11:09AM (#12931639)

      If you bothered to read the links [], you'd know that 6.9 (the (last?) monolithic release) and 7.0 (the modular release) will occur at the same time.

    • I am not sure I follow...

      My SUN boxes all work this way -- no local X server at all (no video card, mouse, or keyboard, either).

      And most of my Intel boxes are configured like that too. Its not particularly hard...

      Used to be that the X Server itself was monolithic -- one of the reasons was to allow it to be easily removed: just erase that multi-meg thing named "X". You still wanted most of the libraries. Now its a bit trickier, but most of the X server can be easily scraped.

      Is the other stuff "cruft"? Xl
    • take out possibly unwanted cruft out of X packages (stuff like xcalc, xterm, etc).

      Xterm is great! It just pops right up, unlike kterm or gterm or eterm which require eternal disk grinding before they appear on your screen.

      And w3m can display images in xterm! Why would you need any other window of any kind?
    • X is a protocol, not a piece of software, so there is no such thing as a "distribution of X". XFree86 and are both servers that implement the X protocol (version 11), but they are far from the only ones. There have been dozens of different implementations of the X protocol since it was created 20 years ago. Some of them run in a few hundred kbytes. Furthermore, the X server and the X client libraries are already pretty much independent. Traditionally, with the MIT X distribution, all you needed to
  • Sweet (Score:5, Funny)

    by CleverNickedName ( 644160 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:48AM (#12931385) Journal
    I've been looking to change the font on my command line.
  • Eye Candy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bombadillo ( 706765 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:49AM (#12931396)
    An article about Desktop Eye Candy which has no screen shots to show off said, "Eye Candy"....

    Some one find some screen shots or we will have nothing to talk about.
  • Porting the existing drivers to this new acceleration architecture should be easy.


    Except for NVidia!

    • "Porting the existing drivers to this new acceleration architecture should be easy.

      Except for NVidia!


      Nvidia should be the easiest of all because they will do the port for us.

    • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <> on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:56AM (#12931488) Homepage
      .. with hardware acceleration, the NVidia drivers will probably be the first available with the support. Meanwhile the ATI and other FLOSS drivers will implement it about 8 months later.

      There are some situations in which sponsored closed software wins every time, and one of those is hardware drivers. When a new API is released, a team of paid developers that know your hardware inside and out (because they work for the company that design it) will do a better job of porting their code quickly, and will be able t o do it much faster.

      I don't really care how much slashdot fanboys rant about NVidia, the people who actually use high-end video cards in Linux know the truth - NVidia is and has always been oders of magnitude above the rest.

      They can keep the drivers closed till hell freezes over for all I care - they work, they work great, they have more frequent stable updates with bugfixes and new features than any FLOSS drivers I know of.

      • NVidia is and has always been oders of magnitude above the rest.

        you misspelled odors.
      • by DrSkwid ( 118965 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @11:25AM (#12931799) Homepage Journal
        I don't really care how much slashdot fanboys rant about NVidia, the people who actually use high-end video cards in Linux know the truth - NVidia is and has always been oders of magnitude above the rest.

        X != Linux

        and not everyone uses X or Windows []

        Graphics Drivers
        Linux IA32
        Linux IA64
        Linux AMD64/EMT64T
        FreeBSD x86
        Solaris x64/x86

        nForce Drivers
        Linux IA32 Drivers
        Linux AMD64 Drivers

        I am happy for you that *your* setup wins every time, mine's not listed.

      • "[i]NVidia is and has always been oders of magnitude above the rest.[/i]"

        Of course, that's utter bullshit.
        In the TNT2 days the NVidia drivers were quite bad, absolutely under the level of the open source driver for Matrox G400.

        Since that was the last occassion that some major video card vendor made the specs public, there is little basis for comparsions between the closed and open video card drivers.
      • Nonsense.

        NVidia is one of the biggest usability hurdles on the open source desktop. When you tell someone that after doing their security updates (kernel), they will have to reconfigure their graphics driver, they simply don't understand it. Of course, kernel updates don't happen that often and the nvidia installer is quite good, but it is a royal pain in the ass.

        Meanwhile, most ATI cards now have open source drivers with 3D acceleration and that presents a much better overall usability picture for the av
    • The acceleration architecture is a port of the one in Keith Packard's KDrive X server, which is already in use, and already has a number of open source drivers.

      The acceleration architecture affects mostly the RENDER extension, which is pretty straightforward stuff. I wouldn't be surprised if nVidia were to have a driver supporting it the day after Xorg official releases it.

      I also wouldn't be surprised if nVidia had betas of it beforehand.
    • Did you intentionally write sarchasm [] instead of sarcasm []?
    • <sarcasm>

      How sarchastic of you.

  • by TheRealJFM ( 671978 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:52AM (#12931429) Homepage Journal
    I already have a lot of these features via Enlightenment DR17 []. It's not finished yet but in terms of eyecandy and dynamic rendering its very impressive indeed.

    I think its great that X is getting a universal architecture for this sort of stuff, but I'll be disapointed if Rastermann and others dont have some sort of input in this, mainly because DR17 is showing me how *fast* this sort of thing can be (faster than KDE in the case of DR17 and a 2 second boot-time on my AMD 2600+).

    As for applications made using the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries.... wow...! Entice [] is absolutely amazing, totally dynamic and animated, as well as mainly transparent, perfect for an image viewer.

    The point is that you don't realise how USEFUL these sort of features are. Why shouldn't menus in an image viewer fade in and out and be semi-transparent? When you use it, it makes perfect sense.

    I know there will be people who consider this sort of tech a waste of resources, and it can certainly be abused. However, if it's done properly this type of environment can add a LOT to your user experience.

    I suggest you try DR17 to see exactly how impressive this sort of tech can be!

    • by ratta ( 760424 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @11:03AM (#12931558)
      While i love enlightement, evas just provides i a layer on the top of X (or some thing else). A new x driver architecture is requite to let evas, qt, gtk (and your other favourite toolkits) to really take advantage of you graphic hardware with accelerated alpha blending and window backing store. This is not to compete with evas, just to allow it to do better things.
    • I wish I had mod points to make your speculation come true.....just because you speculated so.

      Seriously If you wish to post something insightful/informative, don't start it with..."I'll probably get moded down". Don't uderestimate others' ability to mod correctly or atleast meta mod correctly.

      And no I am not new here.

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @11:06AM (#12931609) Homepage Journal
      actually this is not as much of a waste of resources as you might think. Almost every desktop has some kind of hardware acceleration. It really is about time that X started to use it. Apple of course is using it in OS/X Microsoft will use it in Longhorn. Why not use it in X?
      • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @11:15AM (#12931709)
        Eye Candy is not always bad. For example shadows under the windows and semitransperance helps the eye understand where the data is in a more realistic environment. Animations help the eye follow where the data is going.

        For example on Max OS when you minimize a Window it does a fancy dgeni efect which allows your eyes know that the window just didn't go away but it shrunk into a spot on the dock. While the boxes on linux and windows does a simular thing the Mac method makes it more percises that you know the application is still running it is just smaller, while the linux and windows way makes a person feel the application has stopped when it was minimized.

        Semi-Transparencies are good to. It help the person realize there is something under your window. There are a lot of times when an App is open and an other windows is on top of it and you don't know it is there.

        Eyecandy when used correctly is not a waist of processing for trivial things but actually an important key in having people understand the environment.
  • by joestar ( 225875 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:53AM (#12931446) Homepage
    ... a firefox which would take less than 160 MB of RAM, an which would take less than 150 MB, an which would take less than 100 MB.

    And so on.
  • New antislashdotting strategy: flirt with disaster with a Slashdot front-page "desktop eyecandy" story at 10:30AM EST (global coffeebreak). Dodge the bullet with an all-text target page.

    Really, do we trust people to have delicious eyecandy, when all they show us in their rendering announcement is text? They probably like to chew ballpoint pens, too.
  • by hilaryduff ( 894727 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @10:57AM (#12931495)
    guess people have weird priorities in the linux world. adding bloat and gimmicks isnt fixing the user friendliness problems.
  • by xlr8ed ( 726203 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @11:01AM (#12931532)
    To hell with the eye candy, why don't they worry about making dual monitor support as easy as it currently is in M$ OS's.

    I would much perfer that over more "eyecandy"
  • Please note... (Score:4, Informative)

    by ratta ( 760424 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @11:08AM (#12931627)
    that, as X developers said, this is only a temporary solution, so that while Xgl matures we will have hardware alpha compositing in hardware. The final solution will be pushing the entire hardware abstaction layer (OpenGL) under the Xserver, in order to take advantage of the 3D hardware on the desktop too.
    • I don't know what idiot modded you as flamebait, but you should get "Insightful" or "Informative".
    • Mod parent underrated, so he can have +5 flamebait like his sig says!

      Seriously, I RTFA and the developer said that. This is a temporary solution until XGL matures. He said the point of this little project is to get eyecandy like transparent windows working "today." So we don't have to wait on XGL for everything.
  • The desktop eyecandy story links to a bunch of text email pages. And the Slashdot X topic icon [] is broken. Is it Monday again already?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You know why Linux is destined to fall to a distant third place against Apple and MS? Crappy marketing. I clicked through every link in the post, and searched around for about 10 minutes, and couldn't find a single screenshot of the so-called "eye candy".

    You want to sell users on the eye candy? HOW ABOUT A PICTURE???

    Meanwhile, I know exactly what a MacOSx desktop looks like, even though I've never used a mac, and I've seen the eye-candy in Longhorn screenshots, and that OS isn't coming out for another
  • by GrumpyOldMan ( 140072 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @11:35AM (#12931905)
    I'd much rather see fonts that don't suck on LCD monitors than eye candy. I can do without shadows and showy effects, but not without clean, clear fonts.

    I'm writing this from a machine with a 1600x1200 Dell 2001FP monitor, and an ATI Radeon 9200SE, connected with DVI running X.Org version 6.8.2. I have never, ever been able to get decent fonts with XFree86 or The fonts are either too jagged without antialiasing, or too blurry with it.

    I have wasted hour after hour following various FAQs, playing with antialiasing, autohinting, and subpixel rendering in my ~/.fonts.conf. I have installed the Bitstream Vera fonts. I have sacrificed a goat and done a rain dance. And still, all those fonts look so blurry that I feel like I'm going blind.

    Thinking that it was something about the Radeon, I tried an NVidia 5200 with the commercial NVidia drivers. No joy. I've also tried the ATI fglrx drivers for the Radeon. No joy.

    Yet when I plug in my Apple Powerbook, OSX makes the fonts clear and legible, so it must be possible to drive the LCD monitor correctly.
  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )
    When are they going to make it modular like they said they would, so that those of us that don't want the fancy accelerations can still have a relatively 'modern' desktop using modern software without the tremendous bloat? I want to use my memory for applications, not to draw graphics.

    It's getting to the point where 512Mb isn't even enough for a GNOME desktop. That's partially GNOME's fault, but for chrisake! Xorg is huge.

    They said they were going to prune the tree; why haven't they?
  • Accelerated drawing? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Decimal Dave ( 411182 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:14PM (#12933085)
    Will this new architecture be extensible enough that the primitive drawing routines can be implemented as fragment programs (like Quartz 2D Extreme)? There was a huge speedup for those that enabled it on OS X and I'm sure X11 could reap the same benefits. It makes a lot of sense to offload drawing and compositing to the GPU, but I couldn't find any reference to it in the article.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 28, 2005 @01:35PM (#12933329)

    "porting", "drivers", "new architecture", "easy"...

    [blows pitchpipe, clears throat]
    One of these things is not like the others,
    One of these things just doesn't belong...

    Thank you, thank you - I love you all!
  • by Ogerman ( 136333 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @03:57AM (#12939662)
    I don't know about anyone else, but my biggest gripe with X performance these days is the rendering speed of RGB subpixel anti-aliasing. (at least on Radeon cards, which is all I have..) It's not unusably slow, but it's highly noticable and makes everything feel sluggish.. especially scrolling.

    Curious? Do a quick test:
    x11perf -aa10text
    x11perf -rgb10text

    On my system, running 6.8.1, regular AA text is about 8x faster than RGB-AA. RGB-AA produces no slow-down in Windows on machines I've checked, so it must be a driver or implementation issue.

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