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октомври 28, 2006

Beryl and the eye-candy factory

It feels almost unnatural when you see on the screen live and for real the effect you have just read about a few days ago that someone dreams to make come true.
Well, today I decided to give beryl a try. I use Fedora Core 5 and as probably everybody knows it supports AIGLX and compiz trough a dedicated repository (link here).
First of all - compiz as packed in that repository does not have the scale plug-in. This issue has been addressed in earlier post on this blog. As of Fedora Core 6 the AIGLX and compiz packages are part of the core. This mean you can have them without any effort. The scale plug-in is back (as of the change log, I did not test this as I am still with core 5) What makes me anxious is that it comes with the default window decorator (gnome-window-decorator) and some minor patches to allow key bindings to act like in metacity.
  • -no way to theme this

  • -no way to move the buttons of the window decorator from the right to the left corner, and still this is possible in metacity! this means step back!

In previous post I have made an example how do get cgwd and install it on f
edora core 5. As it has some issues with the newer version (being not compatible with compiz vanilla thus no plug-in works except the legacy one) it was not the best out there but still allowed greater flexibility in themes.
This was all good until there were newer and greater plug-ins out there. In the previous post on my blog some links were pasted - all of theme pointing to different resources for the beautification of the desktop.
Today I used svn to download the beryl source tree and compile it: here are the steps

svn co svn://svn.beryl-project.org/beryl/trunk/ beryl

On Fedora Core 5 you will need newer intltool to compile the components. A source RPM package from FC6 can be used. Just download it and recompile it (rpmbuild -bb intltool.spec) and then update the rpm. If you want to keep the compiz around just in case you do not like the beryl offer use some prefix different from /usr

./autogen.sh --prefix=/opt/beryl && make

You will need to compile and install (as root) beryl-core, beryl-settings, beryl-plugins, beryl-manager, emerald and emerald-themes to get the basic functionality. Additionally beryl-dbus, emerald-themes-repo and others can be used (sorry, still not sure what they are used for)
You will need to ass the /opt/beryl prefix to your $PATH and to include the beryl lib path to ldconfig. For some reason the /opt/beryl/lib subfolders are not used by ld so you'll need to include /opt/beryl/lib/beryl also if beryl does not start.
The configuration panel of beryl is so big it took me over 1/2 hour to read all the options. Real round edges are now working correctly. lots of new and really interesting plug-ins are available. The most interesting for me was that now you can type in the windows while scale/zoom are activated! Also it is possible to assign different effects to different types of windows. The Blur plug-in is working slow on my 855GM card but I assume it is faster on Nvigia/Ati. The water plug-in is not working at all (again - the old hardware). Emerald (the window decorator) can use the cgwd themes without any changes so it is compatible. I will try to make a RPM for this but until then this can be used in order to try the latest and greatest from the desktop eye-candy.
Bdock can be used for docking some applications if beryl is used in a bare desktop environment - it is probably useless in Gnome/KDE.
The Mac lovers will greatly awe the magic lamp animation. The burn and the beam up animation effects are probably the most interesting but are too slow on my hardware.

So - it is a great piece of software. Give a try! Now the only thing we are waiting for is a really intriguing GTK engine to mimic the Aqua look and we are there where the Mac owners pretend they are for years now in the UI. What will be next? I do not know....but I'll keep pray for the best!

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