I've become so used to wobbly windows now that whenever I use a regular
machine I end up feeling cheated if I drag one and it doesn't
display a certain sticky inertia. And if I feel positively deflated if
I hit Ctrl + Alt + [any
] and a glorious desktop cube doesn't flip me
over to the next display face.
What am I talking about? Beryl
It's a fork of the Compiz project -- which I first looked at here
and although it's only at version 0.2 I've found it remarkably solid
This is the sort of thing I'm talking about...
...and this. (Click the images for a detailed view.)
You don't the latest PC with a multi-gigahertz engine and truckloads of
RAM to run Beryl. In fact it runs surprisingly well on quite old
kit. Here's the specs of the machine I used to test the
configuration procedure outlined below...
- AMD Athlon 800MHz CPU
- 500MB RAM
- NVidia GeForce FX 5200 (128MB) video card
To start, I added a pristine copy of Kubuntu 7.04
machine's existing OS, partitioned as follows;
- 10GB /root partition
- 30GB /home partition
- 500MB /swap partition
(If you don't have that much room on your hard disk you might be
interested to note that after installation I'd used 22% of the
space I'd allotted to /root and just 2% of the /home space.)
Setting up the
The official NVidia video drivers require a license
agreement so aren't included in Kubuntu by default.They are however
available via Automatix - and I've found that's the easiest way to
To add Automatix, visit www.getautomatix.com/wiki/index.php?title=Installation
Ubuntu and Debian users can follow the Easy Direct Installation method.
Kubuntu users have to be a little more hands on, cutting an pasting six
whole lines into a terminal session.
After you've done that -- and had a little lie down to recover -- kick
off Automatix via K Menu
> System > Automatix
. Choose Drivers
To activate the new driver you need to restart the X (graphics) server.
You can do this the brutal way by hitting Ctrl + Alt + Backspace
or by sedately logging out of this session and doing an Alt + E
- Start Adept Manager (K-Menu
> System > Adept Manager).
- Enter beryl
in the Search windown and select the following packages;
(The necessary support
packages will be selected automatically.)
for the First Time
- Click Apply
Changes and close Adept Manager when installation's
- Open a console window (K-Menu
> System > Konsole).
- Type beryl-manager
and hit <Enter>.
This will start Beryl, put the application's red diamond icon into the
Taskbar and display any configuration problems in the console window.
In my case I got...
beryl: No GLXFBConfig for
This seems to be a common
problem and the fix is straightforward.Quit Beryl, either by
right-clicking the red diamond icon or, if things are really screwed
up, typing killall
beryl-manager in the console window.
In the console window type
sudo kate /etc/X11/xorg.conf and add the following two lines under the
Section "Screen" tag;
Option "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "True"
Option "DisableGLXRootClipping" "True"
You'll need to restart the
X server again (see above) and log back in. Restart beryl-manager and,
with a bit of luck, you have wobbly windows too!
The Fun Stuff
Beryl-Manager is the entry point for lots of goodies. Right-click and
choose the Emerald Theme Manager to select from dozens of window
surrounds, and Beryl Settings Manager to enable and configure more
fancy graphics features than you can shake a stick at. I'll let you do
the exploring, but here's just a handful of shortcut keys to get you
+ Tab + any arrow key
||Rotate the 3D cube.
+ Tab + drag the left mouse button
||Free-form control of the 3D
||Window switcher (between
windows on this cube face).
+ Ctrl + Tab
||Window switcher (between all
windows on the cube).
+ Mouse scroll wheel
||Preview all windows on this
+ Mouse scroll wheel
|| Change windows opacity.
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