Cool Solutions

Compiz Update for Scale Plugin (Xgl-related)


August 22, 2006 7:06 am





Novell recently released an updated version of Compiz for SLED10*. While I have not identified many changes that end users would notice, there is one that Nat Friedman first showed me at LinuxWorld Expo last week. The Scale plugin (which scales down all open windows on a desktop, allowing you to pick which you want to come make the active window) has gotten a cool improvement.

The scaled-down windows used to lay out on the page like this:

The Old Scale Plugin

Now they share the screen space much more evenly, like this:

The New Scale Plugin

It’s a subtle but noticeable change. My example shots aren’t the best for showing the improvement, but I only had one screenshot of the old scale plugin, and I had worked on it a lot to get it so it did not waste any screen real estate. So, regretfully, this new one I just made shows a lot more screen waste than is typical of the plugin’s updated behavior. Nevertheless, I like that it no longer crams the scaled windows onto the screen (always favoring the upper-left). It has a more natural visual appeal.

Taking another example using three open windows, it evenly distributes them like so.

The New Scale Plugin evenly distributes.

My favorite part of the story about when Nat showed me this is that he had pulled it from internal Novell repositories. I was helping him organize his demo for the LinuxWorld Expo pre-conference keynote he was to deliver that afternoon. When he installed it, I remember thinking to myself, “Well that’s not a very real demo if you’re going to show unreleased code for Desktop Effects.” The following day, Novell released the patch to all subscribers of SUSE Linux Enterprise, and thereby vindicating Nat’s use of it on stage. I love how quickly open source updates happen.


*It’s possible that the code has been also released on openSUSE as well, but I don’t have that installed at the moment.)

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