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A Look at the Compiz and Beryl Merger

ScuttleMonkey posted about 7 years ago | from the mind-melds dept.

Graphics 250

invisibastard writes to mention that Linux Tech Daily has an editorial on the merger between Compiz and Beryl. "This state of affairs was a shame. Something that was finally getting the general public excited about Linux, the 3D desktop, was wasting time with duplication of effort and fighting. There were concerns about the long term viability of Beryl. The perception in the community overall was, Compiz = old and stale, Beryl = fresh and exciting. This despite the feeling in the Compiz community that the "real work" was being done by David Reveman and Compiz, and there were exciting things with Compiz core (like input redirection, etc...) on the horizon."

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250 comments

Frosty piss! (0, Troll)

PurifyYourMind (776223) | about 7 years ago | (#18578015)

Chilly urine is all I have to contribute to this story.

Re:Frosty piss! (5, Insightful)

jhfry (829244) | about 7 years ago | (#18578319)

Congrats on the first comment... it's a shame you couldn't make it worth the magnetic material it's stored on.

I think that in the Linux world, mergers are a good thing and need to be made across the entire Linux community. Imagine if the Gnome and KDE camps could work together... or how about Mozilla and Opera... or most importantly the package management camps.

Want to bring linux to the mainstream, pick a standard and develop it. Set aside your disagreements and work for the greater good. The world doesn't need another linux distro, it needs everyone working to create a single comprehensive distro.

I hate it when I find a piece of software I want, only to discover there is no binary for my chosen distro. I don't hate it because I don't know how to compile it myself, but because I shouldn't have to.

I hate that I can only seem to get hardware drivers for Suse and Redhat because the vendor couldn't cater to everyone.

And I hate hearing about projects forking because two intelligent people can't come to a compromise.

Choice is good... but only when there is at least one option that meets the need. Too often there is so much competition that none of the products can really fulfill the needs they set out to fulfill because there are not enough developers to go around.

Re:Frosty piss! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18578595)

I hate it when the ONLY option I have sucks, which usually happens 99% of the time. Which is why I love Free Software -- I can fork it.

Re:Frosty piss! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18578725)

I don't think that Gnome and KDE could merge. They have very different philosophies and styles. That said, do they need to duplicate everything? Even if they shared more back-end libraries and wrote custom UIs, things would improve. There are too many incompatible tools in general, and part of this starts with every window manager developing their own set from scratch.

Re:Frosty piss! (4, Interesting)

mickwd (196449) | about 7 years ago | (#18578897)

I don't agree that "[the world] needs everyone working to create a single comprehensive distro". Personally, I think choice is good, and that alternatives can compete against each other, each try out different ideas, and stimulate and improve each other.

What does a "distribution" or "operating system" mean to a large number of computer users ? Nothing. They just see it as part of "the way the computer works". So why do we need more than one operating system ? So let's extend your argument to cover operating systems:

I think that in the [computing] world, mergers are a good thing and need to be made across the entire [computing] community. Imagine if the [Windows] and [Linux] camps could work together... or how about [Windows] and [Linux]... or most importantly the [software installation] camps.

Want to bring [computing] to the mainstream, pick a standard and develop it. Set aside your disagreements and work for the greater good. The world doesn't need another [operating system], it needs everyone working to create a single comprehensive [operating system].

I hate it when I find a piece of software I want, only to discover there is no binary for my chosen [operating system]. I don't hate it because I don't know how to compile it myself, but because I shouldn't have to.

I hate that I can only seem to get hardware drivers for [windows] because the vendor couldn't cater to everyone.

And I hate hearing about projects forking because two intelligent people can't come to a compromise.

Choice is good... but only when there is at least one option that meets the need. Too often there is so much competition that none of the products can really fulfill the needs they set out to fulfill because there are not enough developers to go around.


So......pursuing your argument a little further, should we all just use windows ????

Re:Frosty piss! (2, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | about 7 years ago | (#18579075)

'So......pursuing your argument a little further, should we all just use windows ????'

If you are looking for a one size fits all operating system, it'd be Linux, not windows.

Re:Frosty piss! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18579011)

it needs everyone working

You keep using this word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Attention Windows Clickarounds (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18579107)

Yeah i'm talking to you. The wannabe computer programmer who thinks they are good at computers because they can click around the computer enough times and find the reboot button and 'fix' an inherently flawed windows system. You think you're cool because you can pirate photoshop but not know anything about it, get Microsoft Office for free but have the literacy of a 1st grader when writing a paper, and get a copy of Norton Anti-virus because your inherently flawed system is useless without Administrative privileges. Get a clue, you are not smart, you are just a corporate sheep for a company that will bury you if you ever tried to write any software that did anything remotely useful. You are a clickaround and all you know if your ugly gray existence that is Windows.

Want the sourcecode to windows vista?

head -n 1000000 /dev/random > Windows.com

Nope. (4, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 7 years ago | (#18579041)

it needs everyone working to create a single comprehensive distro.
Single point of failure.

You see it a lot in government and other large organisations, in the space programme for example. A single direction dictated from above which turns out to be completely inappropriate after billions or trillions have been spent. ESR called it the cathedral, it's just a form of totalitarianism and it's the antithesis of freedom.

Choice is good... but only when there is at least one option that meets the need
No. Choice is always good. It means that if there's a gap, someone, somewhere will fill it. Without that choice it will take a lot longer to fill. You're essentially serialising the process.

The world doesn't need another linux distro, it needs everyone working to create a single comprehensive distro.
You should read the mythical man month. More people on a project doesn't necessarily make it faster or better.

 

Re:Frosty piss! (1)

PurifyYourMind (776223) | about 7 years ago | (#18579171)

Sir, please note that I still succeeded in getting my comment's subjectline reproduced by virtue of people replying to it, hence I am more biologically fertile than you.

Mozilla and Opera? (1, Informative)

Kuciwalker (891651) | about 7 years ago | (#18579197)

Excuse me, Opera is closed-source and sells their browser (on other platforms) for a price. How exactly would you go about merging that with Firefox?

Re:Frosty piss! (2, Insightful)

Locklin (1074657) | about 7 years ago | (#18579351)

You want a "single comprehensive distribution" of an operating system, might I suggest Ms. Windows. You want choice, pick something from distrowatch.

Obviously the optimal solution is somewhere in between the extremes being argued. But it becomes rather tiring hearing how "Linux will be mainstream when everything merges." Gnome and KDE are both great because they have pushed each other (and copied each other) over the years. The same goes with Debian and RH.

Competition and Choice are good! (sometimes we have too much, but its better than having none)

Site is down.. (1)

Rich Acosta (1010447) | about 7 years ago | (#18578019)

Is this a sign of how the merger will turn out?

Re:Site is down.. (2, Informative)

thegux (892222) | about 7 years ago | (#18578059)

Site's back up.

Re:Site is down.. (1)

beckerist (985855) | about 7 years ago | (#18578153)

I read it here [tectonic.co.za] almost a week ago. I suppose this is probably just the "official word."

Re:Site is down.. (1)

thegux (892222) | about 7 years ago | (#18578805)

TFA isn't so much about the actual merger, it's about the guy's comments on the merger.

Re:Site is down.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18579377)

Yeah, I know that now but the site was down at the time and I was thinking "hey, I already read this!" so I figured I'd try to help the general public out.

--Beckerist

Re:Site is down.. (2, Informative)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | about 7 years ago | (#18578455)

If the merger fails we still have Englightenment [get-e.org]

Re:Site is down.. (2, Informative)

Movi (1005625) | about 7 years ago | (#18579067)

Which is pretty nice, the bling is there, however it uses nil of you OpenGL-compositing goodness, which beryl&compiz are all about. Rasterman specifically said no Xgl/AIGLX for E17.

Re:Site is down.. (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | about 7 years ago | (#18579419)

That doesn't mean we can't compile the libraries separately and make them available to apps which make use of them. I have historically preferred window managers which remain as thin as possible. I'm not going to try and assert that E17 still qualifies as thin but it certainly doesn't try to integrate itself wholeheartedly into the overall system the way that KDE and Gnome do. When Enlightenment tries to pull a KDE/Gnome I'll still fall back to UDE [sf.net].

Re:Site is down.. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18578565)

Is this a sign of how the merger will turn out?


Yes. Merger will be hugely successful and attract a lot of users.

Leopard (-1, Flamebait)

Toe, The (545098) | about 7 years ago | (#18578045)

It all may be a bit irrelevant when Mac OS X 10.5 comes out...

--
http://www.metagovernment.org/ [metagovernment.org]
Government by, of, and for the people. Serious this time.

Re:Leopard (0, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 7 years ago | (#18578089)

It all may be a bit irrelevant when Mac OS X 10.5 comes out...
Not as long as Macs are still overpriced compared to PCs.

Yeah, how true (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 7 years ago | (#18578933)

Those high priced Mercedes, Jaguar, Toyota's and Honda lost out to the much lower priced Ford, GM, Jeep, Buick, and Traubaunts.

Re:Leopard (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18579167)

Have you ever heard the phrase "You get what you pay for"?

If you're a cheapass and want random parts that were quickly cobbled together with barely functional software on top of it, sure, that's cheaper than buying a Mac. But to call one "overpriced" is just a case of sour grapes.

Re:Leopard (0, Flamebait)

Toe, The (545098) | about 7 years ago | (#18578095)

Forgot a URL for that. (And no, it is NOT flamebait.)

http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=3495556 &postcount=432 [macrumors.com]

Re:Leopard (1)

cyphercell (843398) | about 7 years ago | (#18578521)

Yes it is still flamebait, 3d desktops for Mac and Linux will not instantly make Windows irrelevant, furthermore Linux's relevance is usually found when running it without a desktop at all. Personally, though I would enjoy it immensely if Vista was the only OS on the market that wasn't 3d.

Re:Leopard (1)

0racle (667029) | about 7 years ago | (#18578119)

Just like how everyone stopped making stuff for XP once Vista was released. Also, all developer snapshots for Leopard use the same Finder from Tiger, you might be reading a little much into Jobs saying there are awesome unseen features in Leopard.

Re:Leopard (5, Insightful)

Baricom (763970) | about 7 years ago | (#18578211)

It all may be a bit irrelevant when Mac OS X 10.5 comes out...
This was just modded Flamebait, but I'm going to respond anyway. I have my doubts that we're going to see Compiz-style effects in Leopard. I'm a Mac fanboy, but I think I'm a rational one. Quartz Extreme is already technically capable of doing everything that Compiz does. However, just because one can do something doesn't mean one should do something.

Take Compiz's springy windows. It's cute when you play with it, and I thought it'd go great with the whole concept of water that Apple loves. However, when I showed it to a few friends that are not as technically inclined, they said the effect was "distracting." Mind you, these are college students, not grandmothers.

I think eye candy adds to the overall appeal of an operating system, but only if it's tasteful. Take virtual desktop switching—it's great to have a cube rotate, because it establishes what you're doing in spatial terms; however, I don't think anybody who actually wants to use their computer wants to waste time manipulating a cube themselves. I feel that many of the effects in Compiz are too much eye candy with too little usability.

Re:Leopard (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 years ago | (#18578259)

however, I don't think anybody who actually wants to use their computer wants to waste time manipulating a cube themselves.

I use the desktop cube in Beryl and I find that it is faster to see what I'm doing and more logical to use it than to go down to the lower right of my screen and click the desired virtual desktop.

Of course, I have the option to use it either way, and the cube still rotates to let me know that something like that has happened.

Re:Leopard (5, Informative)

njh (24312) | about 7 years ago | (#18578809)

Did you know that the default gnome keys are cntl-alt-arrow to move to new workspaces and cntl-shift-alt-arrow to bring the focused window with you? I jump around so fast that any animation just annoys me.

Re:Leopard (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 years ago | (#18578929)

I normally have my left hand on the keyboard and my right hand on the pointing device. Doing desktop publishing must look on video a lot like someone playing a first person shooter, although you might have to speed up the video before they'd look the same. Regardless the point is that hitting control-alt-arrow with the left hand is very difficult and moving one's hand back and forth between input devices causes RSI. I quite simply want to use the mouse. There are times when I want to use the keyboard. This is not one of them. If I cared what the key combination was I'd have looked it up.

Re:Leopard (2, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | about 7 years ago | (#18578949)

I use the desktop cube in Beryl

I haven't used Beryl, but I'm curious. Don't you end up with a desktop that's upside-down once in a while?

Re:Leopard (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 years ago | (#18579103)

I've had a variety of problems, but never that one. Is this some kind of joke?

Re:Leopard (2, Informative)

freakmn (712872) | about 7 years ago | (#18579399)

I'm not the original poster, but I'd assume he's talking about the fact that rotating a cube that has sides with a fixed orientation will occasionally rotate it to a point where one face is upside-down. For instance, if you are looking directly at a side of a cube, then rotated the cube to see the face on the top, it would be in a different orientation than if you were to see the face on the left or right before going to the one on the top.

I've also never used beryl, but I'd assume it rotates the screen to the proper orientation, or doesn't rotate the cube on more than one axis. It would be rather humorous to see the desktop rotate to find an upside-down screen. It would be great if it were set to do that on a certain day, as a joke. April 1st seems like a good day for that...

Re:Leopard (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 years ago | (#18579483)

Ahhhh, I see. I've never tried the cube with more than four desktops so I've never tried to rotate the cube in any direction other than around the Y axis (left-handed view.)

Re:Leopard (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 7 years ago | (#18579153)

I haven't used Beryl, but I'm curious. Don't you end up with a desktop that's upside-down once in a while?


No. It always shows the desktops right-side up. It's a 'cube' but only 4 sides, not all 6, are used. Although I wonder what it'd do if you had 6 desktops?

Re:Leopard (1)

kosanovich (678657) | about 7 years ago | (#18579339)

"No. It always shows the desktops right-side up. It's a 'cube' but only 4 sides, not all 6, are used. Although I wonder what it'd do if you had 6 desktops?"

Then it gives you a hexagon to spin around (still with no top or bottom)

Re:Leopard (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 7 years ago | (#18579357)

No. It always shows the desktops right-side up. It's a 'cube' but only 4 sides, not all 6, are used.

Oh well that makes sense.

Although I wonder what it'd do if you had 6 desktops?

Well seeing how you're not using the top and bottom faces, they don't really have to be square. So some sort of hexagonal prism is in order.

Re:Leopard (4, Informative)

spun (1352) | about 7 years ago | (#18578505)

Springy windows are a neat effect, and tunable so they aren't distracting. You can tune the friction and spring strength so they barely wiggle at all. But they are also incompatible with the window-snap module, which I prefer. A separate but similar effect is the focus-shiver effect, which I find very useful, as it makes the window that receives focus shiver a little, calling attention to it. The really useful window-movement plug-in is transparency, to make windows semi-transparent while dragging.

For a really fun time, try turning on springy windows, turning the spring strength all the way down and the friction all the way up. Then try to drag the window. You can stretch it practically all the way around your desktop cube.

All in all, this reminds me of way back in the day when Enlightenment (the window manager, kdawson, not the metaphysical oneness-with-all thing) first came out. Everyone started making these obscenely complex themes showing off how cool E was. Then it seems like everyone uttered a collective "Meh," and went back to FVWM. I did, anyway.

Beryl/Compiz does have other modules that enhance functionality such as tiling/cascading, and some that are mostly for show but have some use, like trailfocus. Perhaps the most interesting thing is that all the effects are scriptable, so that different effects or placement schemes can be applied to different classes of window

Re:Leopard (3, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | about 7 years ago | (#18579035)

All in all, this reminds me of way back in the day when Enlightenment (the window manager, kdawson, not the metaphysical oneness-with-all thing) first came out. Everyone started making these obscenely complex themes showing off how cool E was. Then it seems like everyone uttered a collective "Meh," and went back to FVWM. I did, anyway.
The comparison is quite apt. Hopefully we'll get a similar end result -- back in the day, after the initial flurry of eyecandy for eyecandy's sake, Enlightenment themes settled down and some good functionality started to come out of that eyecandy (pagers that had window previews, likewise window previews in iconboxes). More importantly, as the core visual improvements that Enlightenment offered started to catch on, newer window-managers offered similar features. I suspect the same thing will happen here -- while compiz and beryl are the new shiny thing that takes some effort to get running they will have all manner of eyecandy effects that do little more than show off (as well as a basic core of good functionality that makes use of the 3D desktop). As the technology slowly shifts into the mainstream people will stop worrying so much and we'll start to see more focus on the useful features.

Re:Leopard (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 7 years ago | (#18578993)

Regarding the springy windows: Mine snap to where they're supposed to go, which works. As for "distracting", I've gotten used to it, and really don't see what the big deal is. It seems like, to a certain extent, we're all luddites -- take drop shadows. A waste of resources? Maybe, but it's also very useful for showing, visually, where the border of a window is, and which window is on top of which.

Regarding the cube: No one understood virtual desktops until I got a similar effect on OS X, and now I can actually rotate the cube slowly enough to show them what's going on. I can still do a quick ctrl+alt+left/right, though, and it's ultimately no slower than when I did the same thing in Fluxbox -- even half a second is just not going to make any dent on the system's usability.

For that matter, here's the real difference: With Quartz Extreme, you get the features they give you, and that's it. With Beryl/Compiz, you get all kinds of plugins, which you can enable or disable at will. If you don't like the wobbly windows, disable them -- it doesn't mean the rest of the desktop is suddenly unusable. A favorite plugin of mine is "put" -- you can use the number pad to place windows, for instance, startkey+1 places the current window in the lower left corner. Here, the eye candy is really useful -- I see the window actually move to there, without any lag or tearing, and I imagine it would just be disorienting without any animation at all.

I like Quartz Extreme, but the fact is, Linux can now do any of the visual effects that OS X can do, so your argument here basically boils down to how you don't need more than OS X -- which is simply not a problem. You can tweak it, easily, and I'm sure someone will create one button or plugin or something which duplicates the OS X experience here, probably everything short of the unified menu bar.

Re:Leopard (1)

nostriluu (138310) | about 7 years ago | (#18579095)

I think Beryl and effects like http://beryl-project.org/images/cube_full.jpg [beryl-project.org] look fantastic, but I currently use a Mac with Virtue Desktops, which provides virtual desktops, and one of the options is to show an effect when switching desktops, including a spinning cube effect. I have had it enabled for maybe 2 minutes, it's fun but annoying when you want to do real work.

Beryl might be a little better, because you can drag and drop between desktops, and with the transparent "backs" of windows, you can orient yourself better. But otherwise these are all really gimmicks until the way individual apps work changes, for example, Sun's innovative lg3d has had a "turn the window around" feature for a while, and you can do things like write notes about apps, but that's not useful until there is a real app - operating environment integration. Which requires very integrated cooperation and support.. the wm has to know what document or page an app is displaying. This is something like what MS OneNote offers, since you can make notes and relate documents.

Re:Leopard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18578367)

Maybe Apple users will finally be able to resize a window from any edge or corner after spending $100 upgrading to Leopard?

Yes, that's right Linux / BSD and Windows users, OS X will only allow you to resize via the bottom right of the window!

Re:Leopard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18578893)

How about a functional maximize/restore button? The green button in OSX is completely useless. Actually, it's less than completely useless. If it were just useless, it would have no function at all. But the green button seems to perform some kind of anti-intuitive function where it grows/shrinks the window based on data gathered from /dev/random.

And please replace the ultra gay and totally useless dock with a real dock.

And window shading would be nice.

And being able to double click the title bar to do [assigned function] would be nice. (Hide window.)

And being able to right click the title bar to do [assigned function] would be nice. (Move window back 1 layer.)

And... ah, forget it. I'll stick with OpenBox.

Not at all (4, Insightful)

jeevesbond (1066726) | about 7 years ago | (#18578387)

It all may be a bit irrelevant when Mac OS X 10.5 comes out...

If you believe that all GNU/Linux users will leap on Leopard when it comes out then you are sadly mistaken. Some of us demand FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software), this is the reason we choose our software. Spangly, OMGPONIES!!!!1 GUI effects are far down on the list of requirements, that something like this is being developed is a sign that GNU/Linux is maturing.

But just because we insist on running open, Free software does not mean we don't want nice effects. It just means we'll do it our way: Freely (and with flame wars, separations, bad blood, complaining, forks etc).

If you love your Mac, that's great, but don't think that because you love it the rest of the world has to. They have different requirements.

Re:Not at all (1)

manno (848709) | about 7 years ago | (#18579177)

we'll do it our way: Freely (and with flame wars, separations, bad blood, complaining, forks etc).
I have contributed nothing (save a few $ in donations here and there) to the open source movement what-so-ever. Yet I've reaped all the benefits of it. OpenVPN, Open Office, inkscape, Ubuntu, and god help me even The GIMP in all its gimpy-ness. The above quote is why I say "I love nerds" to myself daily.

For all the flustered hubbub, and sticking to their(as in each ones own unique) perception of the moral high-ground. At the end of the day them doing their own thing for the sake of doing it, has benefited me and from what I understand, many others tremendously. And they do it in such a cute nerd way, with the yelling and the "flame wars, separations, bad blood, complaining, forks etc". It's hard not to get the warm fuzzies thinking about it.

So for the few Open Source nerds that come across this post, I'd just like to say thanks, and a platonic co-ed I love you.

peace
-manno

Re:Not at all (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 7 years ago | (#18579179)

If you believe that all GNU/Linux users will leap on Leopard when it comes out then you are sadly mistaken.

There are two sides to this. As a Linux and OS X user, each has its place for me. I'm not going to be running OS X for a file server anytime soon. I'm not going to be building devices on top of OS X anytime soon. I doubt I'm going to be using Linux as my primary desktop workstation anytime soon either.

In the last few years I've seen a huge number of GNU/Linux people move to OS X. Partly I attribute this to OS X becoming an accepted and mature platform for geeks and partly I attribute this to more and more people I know needing more time for work and recreation and less for hacking on problems long solved by Apple. I agree that people are not going to abandon Linux, but I also can see that four years ago I knew a couple of professionals who ran OS X on the desktop and today, I know easily a hundred including a lot of professional Linux and BSD developers. I do fear that Linux on the desktop will develop more slowly since so many people who care about a usable desktop, no longer need to create solution on Linux, as they can just buy a mac.

Error 500 - Internal server error (5, Funny)

evilviper (135110) | about 7 years ago | (#18578093)

Error 500 - Internal server error

Server committed seppuku rather than face a slashdotting.

Re:Error 500 - Internal server error (5, Funny)

jimicus (737525) | about 7 years ago | (#18579379)

OK, raise your hand if you actually tried to RTFA to see if the server returned that?

<raises hand>

Good for them (4, Interesting)

reldruH (956292) | about 7 years ago | (#18578131)

It's really great to see this. One of linux's greatest weaknesses is the amount of duplication that happens. Sometimes it's necessary but a lot of the time the community would be better served by everybody working together instead of against each other. This is one of those times and I applaud the beryl and compiz devs for realizing that and having the good sense to swallow a little bit of their pride on both sides. I'm looking forward to the great things that will come out of this.

Re:Good for them (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18578297)

[...]a lot of the time the community would be better served by everybody working together instead of against each other.[...]

I disagree.

People are not working AGAINST each other; that is what Microsoft does - form teams that actually try to take down competitors by hook or by crook.

With open source, it's more like many different interpretations of what needs be done competing and the end user profits by choosing what lives. There is no active sabotage as in the case of MS, so don't try casting it (even unintentionally) in such a light. Even competing open-source projects can use each other's ideas without fearing repriesals.
They are not working "against" each other, they are evolving in parallel.

Re:Good for them (1)

allthingscode (642676) | about 7 years ago | (#18578891)

Sounds like evolution to me. I wonder if there are biological instances of a "merger" after branching for a while?

Re:Good for them (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 7 years ago | (#18579277)

'Sounds like evolution to me. I wonder if there are biological instances of a "merger" after branching for a while?'

Remember when that non-slashdoter you knew got a girl who wasn't his sister knocked up? That was a biological merger.

Re:Good for them (4, Insightful)

Epeeist (2682) | about 7 years ago | (#18578351)

> One of linux's greatest weaknesses is the amount of duplication that happens.

It is also one of its great strengths. This one, along with things like the free desktop project are starting to address the next step along. How, once a good decision has been made, to converge multiple projects into the best solution.

Think of it as evolution in action.

Re:Good for them (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 7 years ago | (#18578359)

I don't really know that it's a weakness. Having pretty candy might attract some new people to linux, but I for one have never been found thinking "gee, if only I had some shiny translucent three-dimensional, shadowed, foldable, fancy interface".

Re:Good for them (4, Informative)

grammar fascist (239789) | about 7 years ago | (#18578711)

I don't really know that it's a weakness. Having pretty candy might attract some new people to linux, but I for one have never been found thinking "gee, if only I had some shiny translucent three-dimensional, shadowed, foldable, fancy interface".

I like my bling, I run Beryl, and I've got windows that go up in blue flames when I close them. (Nifty.) There are some really great usability improvements, though, that are only marginally related to special effects:
  • Shadows behind windows make it easy to see where one window ends and another one begins. It's yet another visual cue, adapted to our already-stellar ability to interpret depth under varying lighting conditions. A cluttered desktop seems less so automatically. Big UI win, here.
  • Transparency of moving windows. It's easy to see exactly where to place them to maximize on-screen information.
  • Windows zoom in when created. Because I can see the animation, I never lose track of whether a web site opened a new window when I clicked on a link. (I run Firefox maximized on one of my monitors.)
  • Scaling windows. I hit F8, and see every window in full. Nice.
  • Switcher previews. When Alt-Tabbing, I see what's on every window.
  • Desktop cube. This gives multiple desktops a kind of continuity and relative placement that a desktop pager could only dream of having. I actually use multiple desktops when I have this.
  • Zoom. I have a friend whose eyesight is degrading rapidly, and he uses this a lot. It's ten times better than any kind of desktop magnifier. Also, my eyesight is great, and I like small fonts. When I want to show him something, I can hold down Super and scroll the mouse wheel up so he can read it.

I also do image processing research, so that last one is great when I need to see fine detail. None of these by themselves are any great reason to have an OpenGL desktop (except Zoom if you've got bad eyesight), but they make a very compelling case in the aggregate.

Re:Good for them (1)

denver38 (1050472) | about 7 years ago | (#18578371)

on the other hand, diversification and having lot's of options is one of Linux biggest advantage, although in this case the merge is good news

Re:Good for them (3, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | about 7 years ago | (#18578459)

Sometimes it's necessary but a lot of the time the community would be better served by everybody working together instead of against each other.

Having a kitchen-sink approach in order to please everyone usually makes for crappy software. And putting all your eggs in one basket is very bad.

Re:Good for them (1)

The_Quinn (748261) | about 7 years ago | (#18578611)

And putting all your eggs in one basket is very bad.
No it isn't. Anyone can fork the development at any time.

Re:Good for them (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 7 years ago | (#18578753)

Anyone can fork the development at any time.

Good. Then fork from the start, and everyone's happy...

Having one project, among other things, means everyone is working on the same thing, in the same direction, etc. With different projects, you get to see two different paths taken, different ideas, different problems solved, and one may run-up against underlying limitations that the other does not have.

Ability to fork a project can't prevent these problems.

Re:Good for them (1)

644bd346996 (1012333) | about 7 years ago | (#18579237)

It seems to me that projects fork far too often when they should just create an experimental branch. egcs is one of the few examples with a happy ending. Forks can produce a lot of animosity, and they almost always result in code bases diverging to the point that un-forking is not worth the effort. Yes, there have been some justified forks over technical matters, but those usually result from developers having nearly opposite goals (eg. targeting embedded vs. desktop machines).

Re:Good for them (4, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 7 years ago | (#18578649)

The problem is that it horribly splits up development work. It isn't as if there are enough OSS developers as it is, and they seem to fork their way out of existence. These developers have to compete against multi billion dollar software companies that provide reasonably unified APIs, UIs and frankly, better backward compatibility. I'm still using a piece of expensive CAD software made in 1994, designed for Win32S on Win 3.1, and it still works fine on XP, for all I know, it might even work under Vista, I won't know because I don't plan to get it. Sure, statically built linux binaries from that time probably will work, but should it need a library, you are more likely than not stopped right there.

Also, I've never heard of Compiz until this story.

Re:Good for them (3, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | about 7 years ago | (#18578811)

I'm still using a piece of expensive CAD software made in 1994, designed for Win32S on Win 3.1, and it still works fine on XP

Those are the lucky exceptions, not the rules. I know from bitter experience. Microsoft breaks some backwards compatibility with every minor revision.

Also, I've never heard of Compiz until this story.

And? You've heard of X11, which is where all this stuff is going when it's mature.

Re:Good for them (1)

xappax (876447) | about 7 years ago | (#18578477)

One of linux's greatest weaknesses is the amount of duplication that happens.

I dunno if I'd go so far as to say that it's a weakness. That's like saying Microsoft's greatest strength is how their entire development process is centrally planned - there's two sides to that coin.

There are definitely times when it's good to have multiple tools to do the same thing - if one app or codebase is incompatible or inappropriate for whatever reason, it's nice to have another option. Additionally (though open source mitigates this somewhat), if everyone who develops on say, 3D desktops, is part of the same project, there's the potential for that project to make development choices that people are unhappy with. When there are multiple projects available, there are alternatives to turn to, but with just one project, one's only alternative is to learn X language and pull together a team of developers yourself (not much of an alternative).

That said, it's great when projects pool their resources and cooperate to build something better than they could have separately, and it should be encouraged - somehow I don't think the threat of a centralized Open Source Linux Cabal is big enough to worry about :)

Re:Good for them (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 7 years ago | (#18579143)

I'm just wondering when they're going to get the 3d accelerated stuff out of the window managers and into the x-server. compiz/beryl are great and all, but I'm a fluxbox user. Try as I might I can't use anything else. But what am I to do for transparency?

It's looking to me like the future of the linux desktop 3d accelerated monoculture. And if you want any of the flexibility that has made X so great you have to give all that up. And what happens when applications start depending on the 3d accelerated functionality that they can only get through compiz/beryl?

Humble Programmers Are Bad (2, Funny)

bcharr2 (1046322) | about 7 years ago | (#18578189)

There are complaints about the egos of the developers in the forums.


I believe it is a pretty generally accepted theory of Computer Science that humble programmers aren't much good on a project. So why would they discuss the inflated egos of programmers on these projects as though it was a bad thing?

For future reference, the formula is:

(BIG EGO == GREAT CODER)
(HUMBLE == BAD BAD BAD CODER)

Are we all clear on this now?

Re:Humble Programmers Are Bad (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18578243)

(BIG EGO == GREAT CODER)
(HUMBLE == BAD BAD BAD CODER)


Hey, wait a minute - not only am I a great coder (possibly the best), but I'm also the most humble person you will ever meet!

Alright... (2, Funny)

Gazzonyx (982402) | about 7 years ago | (#18578997)

OK - we'll settle and give you the title of 'Great Java Programmer'.
Hey, at least I didn't say J#.
*DUCKS*

Re:Humble Programmers Are Bad (2, Funny)

Ryan Amos (16972) | about 7 years ago | (#18578315)

This seems to be true of all things.

The more you boast of how good you are at something, the better you must be!

Re:Humble Programmers Are Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18578599)

Yea, but what does my coding say about my penis size?

Re:Humble Programmers Are Bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18578617)

That explains John Romero's career.
No offense to John Romero, just his career. /me hides

You've got it all wrong! (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 7 years ago | (#18578677)

It's not ego! A good programmer is simply right about everything and has brilliant design ideas. If other people (Managers, other programmers, etc) would simply realize his inherent superiority and let him do what he wants, much more work would get done. Good programmers HATE to have other people fight with them about their designs, which are quite clearly Good and Correct!

Re:Humble Programmers Are Bad (1)

saider (177166) | about 7 years ago | (#18578687)

Management around here feels the same way, so I make sure that I breate them on a regular basis lest they feel that my coding skills are waning. Not only does it ensure my continued employment, but it is also a stress reduction tool as well. Already I have gotten compliments on my health from our benefits manager, whom I met with to berate and then inquire about upcoming changes to our dental plan.

Re:Humble Programmers Are Bad (3, Insightful)

martin_b1sh0p (673005) | about 7 years ago | (#18578755)

I'm not sure if you were trying to be funny or insightful. But just in case, I must disagree. I happen to work with a guy who is a great developer. Incredibly bright (probably a genius but I've never asked). Has a PhD in Chem E. yet chooses to be a software developer because he enjoys that right now in his life. And I'm not talking just some hacker, he actually knows a crap load about comp sci (theory and all). He's the type of guy (this actually happened) that re-wrote one of our display drivers over a weekend because the third party one had bugs.

Meanwhile, he is the nicest, most humble guy I've ever worked with. And I don't know a single person at work that doesn't get along with him.

Re:Humble Programmers Are Bad (1)

bcharr2 (1046322) | about 7 years ago | (#18579267)

I'm not sure if you were trying to be funny or insightful.

A little of both. If you considered my use of humble to imply the antonym as being 'arrogant', then it could be humorous. If you considered the antonym to be 'confident' then I suppose you could consider it insightful. I'll leave it to the programmers in your life to help shape which assumption you choose to follow.

I will say this, however. While overconfidence and arrogance have hindered many a programmer, confidence and ego are also the fuel that has launched many a programmer on an ambitious journey of accomplishment. Without them, you never get off the ground. Too much of them, and you never arrive at your destination.

Re:Humble Programmers Are Bad (2, Interesting)

CannonballHead (842625) | about 7 years ago | (#18579291)

I disagree.

Have you ever worked with someone with a huge ego? If the person with the ego is wrong, and unwilling to admit it, there's a huge problem.

Good coders need more than an ego. I'm in music, and there's a big problem with musicians that have an ego. Try telling them they are out of tune. Try telling them that they learned their music wrong. Try correcting anything... it doesn't work.

I'd imagine it's the same in computers. If you're dead-set that you're right because you're better than anyone else, you're going to be hard to work with. And, frankly, one-man-show software doesn't always work that well, especially when there are five one-man-shows all trying to do the same thing.

Interesting read... but short. (2, Interesting)

lavid (1020121) | about 7 years ago | (#18578195)

I started reading the article and I felt like this could be really insightful, and then it ended.

I'm glad these projects are merging since eye candy (done properly) is definitely something that can stand to make Linux a player in the desktop market. We'll be able to say to people who catch a glimpse "oh, you can't install that, you don't run Linux".

A Merger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18578275)

I personally see a merger of the two communities as being a great thing to attain. After all, they came from the same source, have the same general ideas as to where the projects should go, and it would allow for a more focused attack on the problems stemming from both projects. There would be less man hours wasted on overcoming the problems of each implementation.

Here's TFA (4, Informative)

rrohbeck (944847) | about 7 years ago | (#18578295)

I got through after a number of retries...

Editorial: Compiz and Beryl Merger

It isn't official yet, but Compiz and Beryl are merging. For the last few weeks I have been following the mailing list discussions on this topic. A lot of the work has been started. It is sort of unofficially announced, so I feel now is as good a time as any to comment. First some back story:

The war between Compiz and Beryl has been entertaining if counterproductive. Originally I planned to interview Quinn (Beryl's unofficial leader) about the Beryl project. That turned into an interview with the team that never really got anywhere. I dropped the ball. My feelings at the time were typical of those in the community. Beryl seemed to be this fantastic project that saved Compiz from being boring and a slave to Novell. They launched a beautiful website. It was exciting to see the frequency of their releases. At the time, I decided to check out Compiz to see what it was up to. It was surprising. Their forums were very helpful and positive. The more I read, the more I realized that I had made a mistake. There was more to the story than I was aware.

The communities were getting along a lot worse than I had realized. People in the Beryl camp dismissed David Reveman (creator of Compiz and XGL among other things) as a bad coder. Compiz dismissed Beryl as hacky code. Personal attacks flew around. Through decisions made with (hopefully) good intentions, like the insistence that Beryl code be GPL (thus unable to move upstream to the MIT licensed Compiz core) or the desire on some Beryl developers part to rip apart the Compiz core and " improve" it, it looked as if the teams were hopelessly split.

Meanwhile, Beryl continued to grow. Resentment grew in the Compiz community. One estimate was that Beryl used 95% Compiz code while taking all the credit. YouTube filled up with tons of spinning transparent cubes and burning windows. Any Digg story mentioning Beryl received a lot of Diggs. Flamewars in comment sections broke out regularly. Things reached a low point when a frustrated Compiz community member hacked the Beryl site.

This state of affairs was a shame. Something that was finally getting the general public excited about Linux, the 3D desktop, was wasting time with duplication of effort and fighting. There were concerns about the long term viability of Beryl. The perception in the community overall was, Compiz = old and stale, Beryl = fresh and exciting. This despite the feeling in the Compiz community that the "real work" was being done by David Reveman and Compiz, and there were exciting things with Compiz core (like input redirection, etc...) on the horizon.

It was a pleasant surprise to see talks of a merge start to show up on the mailing lists. This article by Kristian Hogsberg seemed to kick it off. The talks so far have been bumpy. There are fights about whether to rename the communities. There are heated discussions about what the merger means and where things should go from here. Old wounds have been reopened. There are complaints about the egos of the developers in the forums. At one point, reading a twenty-four page forum discussion, I wondered if the merge was a good idea after all. Little by little things seem to be working out, though. Quinn mentioned in one forum post that the fork was a mistake and regrettable. It takes a big person to make an admission like that.

I have to hand it to both communities. This is a brave and bold step. Not many of us can check our egos, put hurt feelings aside and move forward. The road ahead won't be easy, but the benefit to the Linux community will be immense. Energy won't be wasted on fights and duplication of effort. Confusion over what to use will be eliminated. Hopefully more effort can be spent by the distributions on getting the combined product packaged properly (How many times can I install a distro and the 3d desktop only to have no window borders in KDE?). The discussions I read are passionate. It looks like the project will be a meritocracy, which works the best in Free Software. My take is that at this point, it is best for both teams to focus on the code and technical details, trust each other and then make decisions on what to name it down the road. It seems early to deal with emotional things like what to name it. As everyone gets used to working together, tough decisions like that should come easily. Trust and respect will be established and the name calling will cease.

I don't want to be over dramatic, but this could not have come at a better time. The 3d desktop is the first thing to grab the general public's imagination and push people into trying out Linux. Compiz and Beryl provide an experience you really can't get on Windows or Mac. There is an exciting Wild West feel to the projects. As things mature, this will be what brings Linux to the mainstream. The passion everyone involved feels may look like a negative. It is the project's greatest strength.

The war between Compiz and Beryl was productive (5, Interesting)

g2devi (898503) | about 7 years ago | (#18579175)

Contrary to what is claimed, the war between Compiz and Beryl was productive. It did three things:
1) Forced David and friends to restructure his development process to be more like Beryl's
2) Forced Quinn and friends to realize that maybe David was right on some issues
3) Allowed Beryl to experiment with alternative ways of developing Compiz without destroying Compiz's approach.

Okay, maybe the conflict was a bit less civilized that than it could have been, but sometimes you need a good fight to raise the issues and so you can look for ways to solve them. You can't fix what you won't even acknowledge. The approach taken before the split up was disfunctional and didn't give people what they wanted. It's likely the new approach will be a lot better since it'll allow David to focus on what he's best at and Quinn to focus on what he's best at without stepping on each other's feet.

Re:Here's TFA (4, Insightful)

at_slashdot (674436) | about 7 years ago | (#18579341)

"One estimate was that Beryl used 95% Compiz code while taking all the credit."

Maybe they should use a license that ask for credit. I have sometime the impression that people don't get what "free" code means... it's even sadder when those people are the one that develop it (or even worse: try to promote the freedom idea without understanding what it means)

Healthy competition is always good (1)

krkhan (1071096) | about 7 years ago | (#18578329)

Specially when competitor projects are based on different developments models. Merger of Beryl and Compiz will take quite some time and effort, both of which can instead be efficiently used while developing separately. Not to mention the obvious embarrassment that would arise from another disagreement between developers ...

Big deal (3, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | about 7 years ago | (#18578353)

There is always place for multiple projects. Different focus, different personalities even different geographical location. Multiple projects encourage innovations that wouldn't be thought about otherwise.

Re:Big deal (1)

misleb (129952) | about 7 years ago | (#18578691)

There is always place for multiple projects. Different focus, different personalities even different geographical location. Multiple projects encourage innovations that wouldn't be thought about otherwise.


Agreed. There a misconception of "wasted" time and effort in open source. Like if you have 20 total programmers working on 3 similar projects, it is necessarily better that all 20 combine efforts on one project. The problem is is more programmers doesn't necessarily make for a better product or even faster development. Too many cooks spoiling the stew and all that. Sometimes all you need is a small core of really dedicated developers with a clear vision. If that means you have 3 groups working on competing projects... then so be it. May the best project
"win." Though I don't really know if this is the case with Compiz and Beryl. Maybe they are better off combining efforts. It really depends.

-matthew

Future (4, Insightful)

Narishma (822073) | about 7 years ago | (#18578563)

Personnally I believe the future is not Beryl or Compiz but already existing window managers like Metacity and KWin, seeing how both of them should provide 3d effects in their next version. Once everyone can get their wobbly windows and other useful effects with the standard window manager, no one will care about Beryl or Compiz anymore.

Slashdotted, read the text (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18578665)

Editorial: Compiz and Beryl Merger

It isn't official yet, but Compiz and Beryl are merging. For the last few weeks I have been following the mailing list discussions on this topic. A lot of the work has been started. It is sort of unofficially announced, so I feel now is as good a time as any to comment. First some back story:

The war between Compiz and Beryl has been entertaining if counterproductive. Originally I planned to interview Quinn (Beryl's unofficial leader) about the Beryl project. That turned into an interview with the team that never really got anywhere. I dropped the ball. My feelings at the time were typical of those in the community. Beryl seemed to be this fantastic project that saved Compiz from being boring and a slave to Novell. They launched a beautiful website. It was exciting to see the frequency of their releases. At the time, I decided to check out Compiz to see what it was up to. It was surprising. Their forums were very helpful and positive. The more I read, the more I realized that I had made a mistake. There was more to the story than I was aware.

The communities were getting along a lot worse than I had realized. People in the Beryl camp dismissed David Reveman (creator of Compiz and XGL among other things) as a bad coder. Compiz dismissed Beryl as hacky code. Personal attacks flew around. Through decisions made with (hopefully) good intentions, like the insistence that Beryl code be GPL (thus unable to move upstream to the MIT licensed Compiz core) or the desire on some Beryl developers part to rip apart the Compiz core and " improve" it, it looked as if the teams were hopelessly split.

Meanwhile, Beryl continued to grow. Resentment grew in the Compiz community. One estimate was that Beryl used 95% Compiz code while taking all the credit. YouTube filled up with tons of spinning transparent cubes and burning windows. Any Digg story mentioning Beryl received a lot of Diggs. Flamewars in comment sections broke out regularly. Things reached a low point when a frustrated Compiz community member hacked the Beryl site.

This state of affairs was a shame. Something that was finally getting the general public excited about Linux, the 3D desktop, was wasting time with duplication of effort and fighting. There were concerns about the long term viability of Beryl. The perception in the community overall was, Compiz = old and stale, Beryl = fresh and exciting. This despite the feeling in the Compiz community that the "real work" was being done by David Reveman and Compiz, and there were exciting things with Compiz core (like input redirection, etc...) on the horizon.

It was a pleasant surprise to see talks of a merge start to show up on the mailing lists. This article by Kristian Hogsberg seemed to kick it off. The talks so far have been bumpy. There are fights about whether to rename the communities. There are heated discussions about what the merger means and where things should go from here. Old wounds have been reopened. There are complaints about the egos of the developers in the forums. At one point, reading a twenty-four page forum discussion, I wondered if the merge was a good idea after all. Little by little things seem to be working out, though. Quinn mentioned in one forum post that the fork was a mistake and regrettable. It takes a big person to make an admission like that.

I have to hand it to both communities. This is a brave and bold step. Not many of us can check our egos, put hurt feelings aside and move forward. The road ahead won't be easy, but the benefit to the Linux community will be immense. Energy won't be wasted on fights and duplication of effort. Confusion over what to use will be eliminated. Hopefully more effort can be spent by the distributions on getting the combined product packaged properly (How many times can I install a distro and the 3d desktop only to have no window borders in KDE?). The discussions I read are passionate. It looks like the project will be a meritocracy, which works the best in Free Software. My take is that at this point, it is best for both teams to focus on the code and technical details, trust each other and then make decisions on what to name it down the road. It seems early to deal with emotional things like what to name it. As everyone gets used to working together, tough decisions like that should come easily. Trust and respect will be established and the name calling will cease.

I don't want to be over dramatic, but this could not have come at a better time. The 3d desktop is the first thing to grab the general public's imagination and push people into trying out Linux. Compiz and Beryl provide an experience you really can't get on Windows or Mac. There is an exciting Wild West feel to the projects. As things mature, this will be what brings Linux to the mainstream. The passion everyone involved feels may look like a negative. It is the project's greatest strength.

Linux programming may be a "boy's" world... (5, Funny)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 7 years ago | (#18578715)

Linux programming may be a "boy's" world...

...the perception in the community overall was, Compiz = old and stale, Beryl = fresh and exciting. This despite the feeling in the Compiz community that the "real work" was being done by David Reveman and Compiz...
...but they sure can gossip like seventh-grade girls.

BSD Merger. (0, Offtopic)

nbritton (823086) | about 7 years ago | (#18578861)

I'd love to see common driver abstraction layer implemented so the BSD projects can share drivers without reimplementation, this would free up a lot of developers to do real kernel work.

Re:BSD Merger. (0, Troll)

T-Ranger (10520) | about 7 years ago | (#18579285)

Well, I'd like to see peace on earth, good will towards man, and get a blow job tonight. But none of those things have to do with this article. Well, burning windows may get me a blow job. But only when they work without crashing.

What're the odds? (1)

SpiritGod21 (884402) | about 7 years ago | (#18578965)

This comment will probably get lost in the general hubub of Slashdot, but I find it somewhat amusing that I've spent my day trying to get Beryl to work in a VM of OpenSUSE (my first time working with Beryl at all) and then come to Slashdot on a mini-break and find myself faced with it again. Is Slashdot reading my mind like Google, or is Beryl taking over the universe?

This is not a 3D desktop (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18578977)

Compiz and Beryl are mostly eye candy. I don't see much useful in either. Metisse [mandriva.com] looks much more interesting. I'm anxiously awaiting the release of Mandriva 2007.1.

boring... (0, Troll)

fattmatt (1042156) | about 7 years ago | (#18579359)

Sounds like the Linux community is in turmoil ... wasn't it just a few months back Eric Raymond announced he is switching distros??? could at least one of the three serious "Linux as a dekstop" users chime in here? What is going on ...?
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