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KDE GUI Graphics Technology

KDE SC 4.7 May Use OpenGL 3 For Compositing 187

An anonymous reader writes "KDE SC 4.5 is about to be released and KDE SC 4.6 is being discussed. However, Martin Graesslin has revealed some details about what they are planning for KDE 4.7. According to Martin's blog post, they are looking at OpenGL 3.0 to provide the compositing effects in KDE SC 4.7. OpenGL 3.0 provides support for frame buffer objects, hardware instancing, vertex array objects, and sRGB framebuffers."
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KDE SC 4.7 May Use OpenGL 3 For Compositing

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  • bloat ware (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WarJolt ( 990309 )

    I love eye candy, as long as there is an easy way to turn it off. I don't need my linux box booting as slow as my windows.

    • It seems to be off by default in the KDE distributions I've tried. If not, it's just a matter of unchecking 'enable desktop effects' from the system settings.
    • Re:bloat ware (Score:5, Informative)

      by Erikderzweite ( 1146485 ) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:34PM (#33077224)

      Eye candy in Linux DEs can make work a good deal smoother -- resources are better shared between CPU and GPU. Plus there are some very useful effects -- expo and scale plugins (both in Kwin and compiz). Transparency can come handy too. Granted, desktop cube is there just for show as there are wobbly windows, fire or water effects.

      And advanced effects don't really add that much to boot time -- I still manage to stay within 30 seconds on a rather old hardware, even with P4-class PC.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        my amd64 (p4 class) boots a gnome desktop in less than 10, KDE takes over 30 and studders like crazy (with a 512mb geforce 8800gt)

        not sticking that on my main machine! puff doesnt help when your draggin ass

        • by zwede ( 1478355 )

          Then I'd say there's something wrong with your system. I have a $30 video card (NVidia Geforce 210) and the desktop effects work fantastic.

      • I use the desktop cube quite a bit - I keep different function on different faces - one has email, two each have all the windows necessary for two different projects I'm working on, and one is mostly spare. I admit that I could just use the four desktops like I used to with the switcher in the Gnome Panel - but now I have transparency turned all the way up, and a 360 degree picture of a sandbar in the Bahamas to look at between my windows. :) And I can kinda keep an eye on activity in windows on the other

    • "I don't need my linux box booting as slow as my windows."

      Next generation User interfaces will need to be 3D eventually for some applications, check out taggalaxy or thebrain. Thebrain especially would benefit from decent hybridization of 2D and 3D user interfaces. [] []

  • by Lord Byron II ( 671689 ) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:00PM (#33076790)

    For the ignorant, please explain what KDE currently uses for composting? I know on my machine it's hardware accelerated and DirectX isn't available on Linux. Doesn't that mean, by default, that they used OpenGL?

  • All the people who really needed translucent bouncing icons already migrated to OSX. But I won't complain too much so long as distros still include fvwm.
    • You mean like how it already it is? I read the summary as "we're going to start using a newer version of OpenGL than we use now for compositing", not "you must have an expensive video card that can handle Crysis to run KDE".
  • Great (Score:4, Funny)

    by uncholowapo ( 1666661 ) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:06PM (#33076862)
    More things to brag to my friends about. My e-penis will be massive by the time it comes out.
  • by xynopsis ( 224788 ) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:08PM (#33076894)

    Just the need to upgrade how Kwin uses OpenGL currently to do rendering. Right now its still using the old OpenGL 1.1 - style rendering (fixed-function rendering pipeline) to a programmable one using vertex and fragment shaders. This way, it'll be easier to port it on embedded devices that uses OpenGL 2.0 by default

    • by tenco ( 773732 )
      Unfortunately my new netbook with an Intel NM10 chipset can only handle OpenGL 1.5.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:11PM (#33076940)

    Good luck with that.

    People will be blaming KDE for the following issues until they abandon the idea:

    1. Half the Intel users will blame KDE for the kernel panics you get when using a Hello World shader with some of the Intel drivers..
    2. The other half of the Intel users will blame KDE that they can't use any of the items listed (frame buffer objects, hardware instancing, vertex array objects, and sRGB framebuffers) because they still only support OpenGL 1.5 from 1865..
    3. Then there will be the Linux people complaining about it running very slowly because some software driver is used by X11 due to distribution issues with distros and proprietary drivers.
    4. The AMD users will probably be using some old buggy version of their driver that has buggy implementation of frame buffer objects or whatever.
    5. See #4 but replace AMD with Nvidia.
    6. Then there's the army of Linux users that do have a Nvidia or AMD card, but their card is from 1765 and therefore doesn't support OpenGL 3.0.

    But besides all that OpenGL 3+ is pretty neat and you can do some fun shaders for your compositing. I wish them the best of luck!

  • by lengau ( 817416 ) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:12PM (#33076948)
    This seems like it can only be a good thing. The major place where we're lacking (AFAIK) is in driver support, and having a major software suite such as KDE use OpenGL 3 will help the driver writers manage some of these bugs (the same way Compiz appearing on the scene majorly improved graphics drivers in Linux a few years ago). Perhaps this will also help to push Intel to OpenGL 3 (or 4 - I mean, COME ON!). At the same time, I have some Linux machines that don't have OpenGL 3 support (one has a GeForce 6600), so I really hope they keep functionality with OpenGL 2 for a while (that machine isn't getting upgraded - the next thing I do to it will be to replace it).
    • I second that... I have a Geforce 7950 GT; AFAIK, it's the "beefiest" Nvidia card available for my AGP system. It composits just fine (I'm using an RC of KDE 4.5), and I don't think a glitzy desktop is what I'd get a whole new 'puter for.
  • Wrong title (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The title is wrong. Is not appropiate to say that KDE SC may use OpenGL 3. Is KWin, the window manager (KDE apps don't call OpenGL directly). KWin can be used in other desktop environments [], and other window managers can be used in KDE [].

  • by slaxative ( 1867220 ) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:25PM (#33077128)
    I don't know that we need any more eye candy in KDE 4. It already has a ridiculous amount of aesthetically pleasing features. How about we squash some existing bugs and add more usability features.
    • I don't know that we need any more eye candy in KDE 4.

      What does compositing have to do with eye candy, other than making certain kinds very easy to implement? Running a remote app over SSH the old way: change virtual desktops or cover the window and watch it slowly, painfully redraw. Running a remote app over SSH the new way: do whatever you want. When you come back to the window, it will still be exactly as you left it. I suppose not having to wait 15 seconds for a window to redraw could technically be eye candy in that it doesn't directly add new functionali

  • Wait, wasn't there a story a few days ago about OpenGL 4.1? What's with the 3.0?
    • Well, first off, only fairly recent GPUs support OpenGL 4.x. Secondly — correct me if I'm wrong —, I'm not sure tessellation would be useful to draw a desktop GUI.
  • by Danious ( 202113 ) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @06:55PM (#33077430) Homepage

    Oh for god sakes people. Kwin provides pluggable back ends for rendering engines for compositing. Currently we support xrender and OpenGL 1.1, soon we will support the next version of OpenGL. Big deal. You can turn compositing on or off, or choose which engine is best for your platform. We will not remove the old engines or force everyone to use compositing. So stop your trolling.

    • I recall reading a blog post from one of the KDE architects a year or so ago bemoaning the situation that on linux/xorg KDE nearly always winds up with an non-ideal/inefficient render path. Do you happen to know if that's improved? I think xorg improvements were needed to make it great.

    • Had the article said "may add support for OpenGL 3.0" instead of "may use OpenGL 3.0" then it would have been more obvious that they weren't getting rid of the fallbacks.
    • What would be the big deal? Unless you immediately end all support for an old version when a new one comes out, who cares? Part of the march of technology is that sometimes, old hardware gets deprecated. New software requires features and power not found on it. So you have to use the older versions, or update the hardware. Nothing wrong with this unless it is done in an abrupt or forceful manner.

      I've no doubt some day KDE will jettison software rendering. It will be so rare to find a non-accelerated compute

  • Do not care (Score:4, Interesting)

    by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Thursday July 29, 2010 @08:07PM (#33078112) Homepage

    about OpenGL decorating my windows.

    DO care about things like "desktop works" and "can find a fast, professional theme that makes taskbar look like window title bars," neither of which is available with KDE since KDE 4 was released.

    Yes, I have recently tried KDE, up to and including KDE 4.4.5 on Fedora. It continues to suck eggs. KDE 3 was professional and powerful. KDE 4 seems to have all the options I don't want, none of the options I actually used, no way to get a unified KDE/GNOME/Plasma theme (hell, you can't even get a unified kwin/plasma theme), ugly artifacting with 3D compositing off, craptacular stability and a distinct inability to remember many settings, dog-slow previews compared to Nautilus, no "compact" mode in Dolphin, either, poor dual-display support that fails to automatically handle them elegantly, and a distinct lack of KDE4-specific, complete alternate icon themes at to do away with the bright colors (I don't want red icons and blue icons both on my desktop at the same time; my desktop PC is not an Icee machine, it's totally unprofessional).

    In short, I find KDE 4 totally considerably less usable than GNOME or KDE 3.5 and I'm fairly sure that pouring more development hours into 3D compositing is not going to make it moreso. How about just fixing the artifacting with 2D rendering? That I could actually give a damn about, though it would be one problem solved amongst many, many problems that didn't exist until KDE 4.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      +1, DEAD BANG ON THE MONEY. The KDE developers suffered a collective mental breakdown and completely dropped the ball professionally by not concentrating on simple real usability. Eye candy is INFANTILE and literally USELESS. Looks like the Gnome guys are in the earlyish stages of doing the same thing. Thank God for Xfce.

    • Re:Do not care (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DrJimbo ( 594231 ) on Friday July 30, 2010 @12:17AM (#33079542)

      KDE 3 was professional and powerful. KDE 4 seems to have all the options I don't want, none of the options I actually used, ...

      Yep. This was my feeling exactly. I had been using KDE since 1.1 or earlier. I've now switched to Enlightenment e-16 (very old but still being maintained). It took some work to customize but now I'm happier with e-16 than I was with KDE-3.5.10. YMMVG.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Asic Eng ( 193332 )
      Well there is now a KDE3 fork called Trinity: [] - they've maintained a KDE3 repository for Ubuntu for a while now, and want to start fixing bugs and making minor enhancements in the next stage.
  • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Thursday July 29, 2010 @09:43PM (#33078806) Homepage

    I've been "trying" KDE 4 for maybe a year or so. I like some things, but I hate most of them. At 4.5 it still feels like someone's abandoned alpha. Every new release brings new UI candy, yet breaks long-standing functionality or fails to address real usability problems (like that stupid desktop peanut - whose idea was that?).

    What particularly irritates me is that they seem to be reinventing non-desktop features. Not only is this very much against the "Unix way", but they're doing a terrible job of it and the whole mess is wholly unnecessary. I don't know if we as users are doing a poor job of informing the devs about desired functionality, but I would love to meet (and murder) the person who thought Akonadi would be a good idea.

    Perhaps I'm a minimalist, but I like KDE for mostly one thing: KIO slaves. I love the fact that I can open up a file browser and treat remote files almost as though they were local. That makes my life as a developer and sysadmin so much easier. Everything else is fluff to me, as long as I can fire up Kate and edit my remote server's configs I'm happy. On the flip side, everything that gets in the way of that location-shifting goodness is EVIL! Akonadi is evil. Half-assed transitions to libssh2 are evil. Godawful "toaster" notifications and ambiguous error messages are evil. The plasma interface engine randomly crashing every few hours is evil. All those unfinished K apps that nobody uses are evil. I could go on...

    It seems the KDE people have forgotten that, above all, we just want a GUI to make our lives easier. Streamline it, trim off the fat, we're Linux users for fuck's sake. People are flocking to minimalist interfaces like Fluxbox, just to get out of KDE hell.

    • by IrquiM ( 471313 )

      I don't see the issues you're listing in my "KDE4" install.

      Could it be the distro guys, and not the KDE guys' fault?

      I've been loving KDE4 more than 3.5.10 since 4.3.something

  • I want HOW the API being used updated. Our desktops should be a perfectly rendered 3d wheat field, gently rustling on a cool summer's eve. Think Far Cry, but no game, just the desktop eye candy. This field would have a button not unlike the start button in the bottom left. It would open many very useful free and open source applications. All of your email contacts with DreamOS would be automagically merged and synced with your iphone or android. If you were at home, your phone would know to route the

  • It'd be nice if they updated it sometime.
  • If only this would all work with Xinerama.
  • Let me know when they manage to fix all of their fuck-ups from the 3.5.x to 4.0 transition.


  • I used (yes past) Linux on my Work desktop for 10 years. I always used KDE. I know it from the first version until know.

    Until KDE 3, KDE really improved, but KDE 4 was a horrible start. I actually didn't start to use it until 4.2, and still it didn't have all the features for KDE 3.5. And it felt slow. Really slow. On the same machine I just suddenly had 15~20% cpu usage. And when I updated to 4.3 and so on it became even worse.

    At the end just focus move the mouse took about 3~4s. Well, I ditched,

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"