Screenshot showing the Cube plugin for Compiz on Fedora.
|Developer(s)||David Reveman, Sam Spilsbury, Danny Baumann, Dennis Kasprzyk, Daniel van Vugt|
|Stable release||0.9.9.0 / January 24, 2013|
|Written in||C, C++|
|License||GPL, core: MIT license|
Compiz (pronunciation: //) is a compositing window manager for the X Window System, using 3D graphics hardware to create fast compositing desktop effects for window management. Effects, such as a minimization animation or a cube workspace, are implemented as loadable plugins. Because it conforms to the ICCCM standard, Compiz can be used as a substitute for the default Mutter or Metacity, when using GNOME Panel, or KWin in KDE Plasma Workspaces. Internally Compiz uses the OpenGL library as the interface to the graphics hardware.
Initially, Compiz only worked with 3D hardware supported by Xgl. Most NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards are known to work with Compiz on Xgl. Since May 22, 2006 Compiz works on the standard X.Org Server, by using AIGLX. Besides Intel GMA graphics cards, AIGLX also supports using AMD graphics cards (including R300 and newer cards) using the open-source radeon driver which supports GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap since fall 2006.
Beryl was the project name for the quinnstorm branch of Compiz, announced on 19 September 2006 after Compiz developer Quinn Storm and the development team decided that the fork had come too far from the original Compiz started by Novell (compiz-vanilla). After the Novell XGL/Compiz team (mostly David Reveman) refused the proposition to merge the Quinnstorm changes with compiz-vanilla, the decision was made to make a real differentiation.
Among the differences to Compiz, Beryl had a new window decorator named Emerald based on cgwd along with a theme manager called emerald-theme-manager, used a flat file backend instead of gconf, and had no GNOME dependencies.
On March 30, 2007, discussions between the Beryl and Compiz communities led to a merger of the two communities which results in two new software packages:
Outcomes include plans to fund a code review panel consisting of the best developers from each community who will see that any code included in a release package meets the highest standards and is suitable for distribution in an officially supported package.
In the fourth quarter of 2008, two separate branches of Compiz were created: compiz++ and NOMAD; compiz++ was geared toward the separation of compositing and OpenGL layers for the rendering of the window manager without compositing effects, and the port from C to C++ programming language. NOMAD was geared towards the improvement of remote desktop performance for Compiz installations.
On February 2, 2009 a conference call was held between developers of Compiz, Compiz++, NOMAD and Compiz Fusion where it was decided to merge the projects together into a unified project, simply named Compiz, with a unified roadmap.
On July 4, 2010, Sam Spilsbury, lead Compiz developer, announced the release of Compiz 0.9.0 with a new API, rewritten in C++.
Canonical Ltd. hired Spilsbury to further develop Compiz for Ubuntu in October 2010. Since then Compiz development mostly coincides with Ubuntu development. Main development moved to Canonical’s Launchpad service. The 0.9.x versions up to 0.9.5 were seen as unstable/beta software. With version 0.9.6 in progress, Canonical hired developer Daniel van Vugt to work on Compiz full-time. While 0.9.6 never officially released, Compiz 0.9.7.0 was released a month ahead of enterprise-targeted Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Long Term Support) and declared stable. A few days before the official release of Ubuntu 12.04 a new development branch, 0.9.8, was created in preparation for Ubuntu 12.10. For Compiz version 0.9.8 development has moved to a new Launchpad page.
In November 2012 Spilsbury announced that he left Canonical. A month later he wrote that he has no plans porting Compiz to Wayland, although he is “still as committed as ever to maintaining compiz in its current form.”
Almost all available Compiz features – except translucency, dimming, and desaturation – are put into plugins.
Compiz plugins include the famous cube effect, Alt-Tab application-switching with live previews or icons, and a feature similar to Mac OS X's Mission Control. The Composite extension to X is used, as is the OpenGL extension GLX_EXT_texture_from_pixmap.
Compiz uses small programs called decorators which draw the window borders with the usual minimize, maximize and close buttons. Compiz provides three window decorators.
Compiz or Beryl have usually been deployed on Linux and other X11-based Unix-like platforms together with GNOME 2.x and KDE’s K Desktop Environment 3. Since version 4.2, however, KDE’s own KWin ships with capabilities similar to Compiz. As such, KWin is usually deployed by default.
Since version 3.0 GNOME defaults to GNOME Shell which is built as a plugin to the Mutter compositing window manager. This means Compiz cannot be used in conjunction with GNOME Shell. As a result distributors usually no longer configure GNOME to use Compiz by default: openSUSE ships GNOME Shell as default GNOME environment since version 12.1, Fedora since version 15. Fedora even completely deprecated Compiz from Fedora 17 onward.
Ubuntu 6.06 LTS and later included Compiz in the universe apt repository. A limited version was included by default as “Desktop Effects” in Ubuntu 7.04. Since Ubuntu 7.10, Compiz Fusion is enabled by default. Unlike other GNOME-centric distributors, Canonical has not adopted GNOME Shell and has instead developed Unity as a new user interface, which is written as a plugin for Compiz.
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