2007-11-14: a quieter day than usual

The VintrySome helpful Ubunteros came and fixed Thomas’s laptop, which meant that Benjamin’s patch got reviewed (good work there), and also that the question was raised about what api.[ch] are good for.

Most of the checkin activity today was from Iain Holmes with his new compositor rewrite (or, as he has called the branch, the Bling-Tastic Bucket o’Bling). I am hugely excited about this; I hope Iain will write about his experiences here later.

On Launchpad, a discussion has been going on about whether it should be possible to set the width of window borders in general rather than its being down to the theme. Having too-narrow window borders makes resizing windows difficult, but some people don’t like the way it looks. This briefly spilled over into GNOME Bugzilla. It would seem to be a good plan to ask people to make default themes have large borders.

Alex Turner identified a place where the code could be made clearer and more easily optimised by the compiler, which seems promising.

A few months back, Matt Harley wrote a post about why he’s running Metacity rather than Compiz, which should be interesting reading for the future if we want to know why people choose Metacity rather than any other way of managing their desktop. Gentle reader, if you do, why do you use Metacity?

Photo: The Vintry, St Albans. Photo by Gary Houston, public domain.

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Thomas Thurman

Mostly themes, triaging, and patch review.

8 thoughts on “2007-11-14: a quieter day than usual”

  1. Reason 1: video handling with composite is broken and will be for some time.
    Reason 2: less flicker at startup is slicker than Expose

    And, generally, Metacity is more polished.

  2. I’m also back to using Metacity. Mainly for compatability and focus reasons, but there are things I really miss from Compiz.

    Dropshadows
    Window previews
    Transparency
    The ‘create’ and ‘close’ effect that comes with Ubuntu’s ‘minimal’ default. (I believe this is the same as vista’s effect)

  3. Metacity just handles the more subtle aspects of window management better. Focus stealing prevention, maximized windows following fitts law, and a number of other, minor things that are hard to quantify, but just work better in metacity than compiz. Also, compiz tends to hard freeze my machine after the screensaver kicks in (nvidia binary driver). Now if only the metacity compositor worked (last I tried it got the blue screen bug), it’d be the perfectest!

  4. I use metacity because Compiz is the ghost of evil Sawfish past, and is here solely for the purpose of harvesting on our brains.

  5. I use metacity because Compiss lives up to its name: It takes the “com” from “compositor” and the “piss” from “Piss poor window manager”

    I too would like Dropshadows and transparency, or wait, I have them :)
    I suspect window previews won’t be too hard to do either actually, although I don’t think the compositor does them…Maybe I’ll explain once I work out how to post to the metacity blog…

  6. I tried compiz for a while when Fedora 6 came out, the things that drove me back to Metacity included:

    * Metacity lets me switch between Qwerty and Dvorak keyboard layouts globally, not just per-window.
    * With Metacity, windows at the left-edge of the left-most workspace don’t get hidden from the pager when you move to the right-most workspace (assuming a horizontal linear workspace layout)
    * A wider selection of themes available (well, at the time, anyway)
    * Being a Mac user, I prefer to have things like window-move bound to Super-drag rather than Alt-drag – compiz seemed to reset those settings every time I logged in.

    In general, Metacity seems to be better at actually managing windows and behaving in a sensible, orderly fashion. Currently I’m running Metacity and a trunk build of xcompiz for transparent gnome-terminals, and it’s pretty sweet.

  7. I used pre-Fusion Compiz briefly, but switched back because of some problems with VMWare Workstation on it.

    But the reason I’m *staying* with Metacity is its polish:
    * nice window edge resistance – window-window, but also window-screen edge (when those behaviors were added a few releases ago, I was won over for good)
    * proper window centering (I have a panel on the right of my screen besides one at the top)
    * use of “real” workspaces rather than a single large one divided into some number (this makes a difference for e.g. centering with Devil’s Pie)
    * the hope of eventually getting “real” transparency, without massive configuration boxes ;-)

    Lots of people talk about the merits of true alpha transparency, but everyone seems to forget about the panels: Transparent windows may or may not be useful (Gaussian blur is a nice helper, as mentioned by Iaian in a comment to a future post). But true transparency for panels is a killer: they’re fixed and always-on-top, so it’s be *great* to see partially hidden windows when they’re slid underneath.

    Sure, I’ll take (and probably like) some other features, e.g. previews in tabs (though the version of Compiz I used wasn’t very useful when I had a mix of GEdit and Thunderbird compose windows open). But I prefer the window-handling features of Metacity over bling, from my experience…

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