Ikke's Blog

Post details: Metacity and Xcomposite

Dec 28
Metacity and Xcomposite

I've been playing around a little more with Metacity and XComposite/XRender. I applied the patches from bugs #309152 and #310080 to current Metacity CVS-HEAD, fixed some things which broke the build, and replaced the running instance with the newly compiled one.

Here's the result:

(Image is link to full-size screenshot)

Some things to notice:

  • The terminal in the upper left corner is the one I used to replace the running metacity. It looks like there are some problems taking control of existing windows: I was unable to use the old terminal any longer... It became usable again once I killed the new metacity and the system one took control
  • The terminal in the center of the screen is made transparent using transset. Transset'ing a window removes the drop shadows :-(
  • My sticky notes transparency is working fine! Notes can be moved and resized fine.
  • The "Metacity compositing example" dialog box is generated using zenity. It's broken as I was dragging around the window whilst the screenshot was made, to give an example of how windows become transparent when moving them around.
  • I made my desktop background light to make the window drop shadows more apparent.

Overall all this eye candy is still fairly slow. I'm on an NVidia Geforce2 MX440 GPU, using the open-source drivers. I *think* the binary ones support XComposite, but I won't try it as the binary drivers don't allow me to run 1400x1050. If someone got a spare Ati 92xx GPU around, let me know, I'm looking for one (paid if necessary B-)).

There's still a lot of work to do, but I hope one day we'll get there :-)

If you want to play around with this stuff yourself, get today's metacity cvs head from cvs.gnome.org, and apply this patch. ./configure using "--enable-compositor --enable-render" with --prefix to some directory, make && make install, and run "${prefix}/bin/metacity --replace"

Thanks to some xorg.conf tuning (ModeLine) I got the nvidia binary drivers working on the resolution I want them to, so I'm running a GPU accelerated desktop now. Composite is working great... I backported my patch to metacity 2.12.2 and am running the patched version on my whole system now. See Gnome bug #309152 if you want the patch.

Next tasks:

  • allow the user to set window transparency in the window menu, or by using the scrollwheel on the title bar
  • Make drop shadows configurable (both on/off, size, intensity)
  • Make the (ugly!) minimize effect optional
  • Try to enhance the (ugly!) alt-tab behaviour


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