Linux Screenshot of the day for 08/03/08 – Video Edition. Copmiz and some crazy desktop effects!

When I installed Windows Vista, I really did like all of the translucent effects and the sub-pixel rendering. While the primary purpose of a computer is to let me work more efficiently, I am a sucker for eye candy. I feel for the Windows users because effects as provided by compiz are simply not available to them. The core plugins are pretty cool. I particularly like the way Wobbly Windows adds an almost tactile dimension to moving windows around on the desktop. The desktop cube is a great way to navigate multiple virtual desktops too.

The core plugins include:

  • Cube Plugin
  • Scale Plugin
  • Switcher Plugin
  • Wobbly Plugin
  • Water Plugin
  • 3D Plugin
  • Animation Plugin
  • Negative Plugin
  • Snow Plugin

It’s not just for looks either. Compiz provides many accessibility enhancements as well. The zoom tool is awesome; the combination of “old eyes” and high res monitors really make welcome an unpixelated zoom tool easily controled by hot-keys. I can zoom in on a period so it fills both monitors without any jaggy-edged loss at all – I’m not sure why I would do that, but it’s nice to know I can.

Installation of compiz is dependent on your distro – check your favorite package manager. Gnome has a more robust integration than does KDE. XCFE does pretty good too. There are issues with dual-head systems with ATI graphics cards to be aware of too. If your using xinerama, gl, and most compiz effects will only work in one monitor. nVidia drivers seem to handle this setup just fine, however.

The screenshot is of the Switch plugin – it replaces alt-tab with an easy to navigate preview of the programs that you are switching through. You can also set up a nice ring switcher with this effect.