Metacity Journal, 2008-10-23

Recent activity

  • GNOME bug 557536: Ka-Hing Cheung noted on this blog that wmctrl wasn’t able to make Metacity windows stick.  Thomas investigated and found that this is because that part of the EWMH had never been implemented.  It now has been.
  • Several bugs cropped up in 2.25.2 almost immediately, which have all been fixed, and we are now on 2.25.5.
  • Creating Metacity Themes, which began as a post on this blog, gets its first version on library.gnome.org thanks to Murray Cumming.
  • The double-click-to-close issue is still attracting comments.  Gentle reader, if you want this feature, please persuade your distro maintainers to consider it and not us, since we have done it to death here.  When they approve it, we’ll consider it.
  • We still haven’t come to much of a consensus over the present() issue, so it may need an overview of the overview.  Your chronicler suspects that the ultimate solution is going to be twofold: we probably need to change the default, and we also need to extend the EWMH to allow apps to hint which behaviour they prefer.

Around the blogs

Something to consider

  • Do you think it’s about time we flipped the default of the compositor switch to “enabled”?

Till next time…

11 Comments

  1. Rob
    Posted October 24, 2008 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately I didn’t have so much success with mcity’s compositor, it felt really sluggish on a macbook with Intel 945GM controller.

    Can anything be done about it, maybe I’m missing some tweak?

  2. Posted October 25, 2008 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    I’m still with 2.22, but it works well enough for me (intel 965), so I guess on by default is ok.

    I only wish it would incorporate more of the useful features of compiz, like that window picker (scale, in compiz) that tiles all your open windows on the full screen, and you can click on the one you’re interested in. It beats the hell out of alt+tab switching.

  3. Posted October 25, 2008 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Someone was actually working on a branch of Metacity to do that even before compositor days (it was called Expocity, iirc). I think it’s something I’d like to see too, really.

  4. David
    Posted October 25, 2008 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    It’s been working well enough on an Eee PC 1000H, so I vote for ‘enabled’ as well.

    I think the single most useful feature that Compiz offers is Zoom. It would be great to be able to zoom while being able to stick with Metacity. Regarding Exposé/Scale, although the effect is extremely useful, adding such a function in addition to Alt+Tab has some usability drawbacks. First, there’s a Hick’s Law penalty, as there are now two discrete ways to locate a window, and the user must choose between the two every single time. On top of that, whereas Alt+Tab is quasimodal, Exposé is modal. Instead of copying Mac OS X and piling up more and more ways to overcome the problem of overlapping windows, I think it would be more useful and usable to alter the Alt+Tab visualization to look more like Exposé, thus inheriting its usability without the drawbacks I mentioned.

  5. Posted October 26, 2008 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Two comments :
    – relying on users asking their distro to change settings and then merging them back upstream seems wrong to me. Yes, we (distro) might have more feedback from users, but it would be better to do the change you want to test in development version of Metacity, which will be included in various devel version of distributions and then, you will get feedback (either directly from users or from distro) and do changes accordingly.

    – regarding compositor in Metacity, we tried to enable it one year ago but after more than one month, we had to disable it because it was causing a lot of slowdown (because it is still Render based) mostly on systems not using EXA (ie almost all systems, including intel until recently) and on Nvidia with proprietary drivers.

  6. PDuncan
    Posted October 28, 2008 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Is there a switch/command to make Metacity do a side-by-side with another window? (not tiled as that can effect more than one window :( )

    I ask as I recently was reviewing too lots of code and found myself using two desktops, not the best way to do it! I thought – Hey, my window manager should let me do this right? And maybe even allow me to sync up the mouse to scroll both at the same time :D

    Any thoughts?

  7. Posted October 31, 2008 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    I think adding a bit of Expose to metacity would be great. It would really lift the “base experience” of GNOME.

    -Anders

  8. Posted November 1, 2008 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    PDuncan: you either need to use a dual-screen setup, or get familiar with emacs :)

  9. Snazz
    Posted November 5, 2008 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    re: Compositor defaulting to enabled
    Please no, currently on my system it will be a “make your windows really slow and jerky” setting.
    For some reason even with a recent xorg + nvidia driver + glx enabled resizing windows is unbelievably slow and jerky.

    Of course it all looks very nice… as long as I don’t try to do anything.

  10. Posted November 5, 2008 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    @Snazz:
    But you can turn it off just as much as the rest of us now have to turn it on!

  11. Snazz
    Posted November 6, 2008 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Well, that’s obvious enough for me… but how are we/you going to communicate that to people that have just installed Linux + gnome and are thinking “hey, this is crap, I’m going back to Vista,” when they try to resize a window and… have… it… slowly… resize… to… the… desired… size.

    Now, I know that “normal” metacity rendering is silky smooth and responsive, new gnome/metacity users won’t.

    And, since Gnome devs are pretty much against allowing users to fiddle too much with customisation, the compositing setting is going to remain buried in gconf for the foreseeable future, and thus be non-obvious even for new users informed enough to start looking for a way to turn off the lag-inducing eye-candy.

    My Mum, borderline luddite that she is, still knows enough to disable Windows eye-candy by digging through desktop settings. I suspect gconf would be a few steps too far for her.

    Making it easier to enable compositing for those with the desire to use it is better than enabling it by default and making new users with bad performance:
    a) know that they’re experiencing abnormally slow performance (ie an edge-case where rendering is slow)
    b) know that it’s due to compositing being enabled
    c) know that they can disable it and return to a faster non-composited rendering system
    d) know that the setting is buried in gconf

    Please bear in mind that I absolutely love metacity and can’t envision ever using anything else, so please don’t write me off as some unwashed KDE user :)

    I’ve tried Compiz which works well enough… but is too glitzy for me, composited metacity would be perfect except for the slooow resizing. Does anyone know why it’s so slow to resize windows? Is it just me or does everyone else just put up with it?

    Moving windows around: no problem, menus: no problem, resize a window: crap-city
    I’ve tried various versions of the NVidia driver (currently 177.80) and I’m now running metacity 2.25.5 (experience problems with all versions upto bleeding edge versions, not just the current state)