[clug] Remember this?

Daniel Pittman daniel at rimspace.net
Sat Nov 8 10:20:13 GMT 2008

"Michael Cohen" <scudette at gmail.com> writes:

> I too thought the whole compiz thing was eye candy. I was using window
> maker for about 5-6 years. I gave metacity a go in the days when gnome
> used it by default, but metacity really doesnt compare to window maker
> lacking in even basic functionality.
> In the past year I started using compiz and I initially thought i was
> a bit of eye candy.
> But im surprised to find that some of these effects are very very
> useful.

Actually, compositing window managers (and X servers) have a number of
strong technical benefits absent any of the effects: they provide a real
backing store, more efficient drawing, and the ability to vastly better
integrate with the capabilities of the display hardware.

Logical rotation, sync to blank, and general hardware acceleration are
the specific features that spring to mind there.  The ability to
mutilate window content on the way to the display is a nice bonus, but
much less arguably a single step advance.

Pleasantly, recent changes in the kernel mean than in the next few years
the real performance benefits will show up in 64-bit kernels as well as
32-bit, which will be nice.


> Granted some of the effects are fairly pointless but they are very
> fast to run due to dedicated hardware support (im surprised how well
> it works on bottom of the line intel chipset laptops). So its not a
> big performance hit.

The key parts, absent any of the flash, are fairly well supported on any
graphics hardware released in the last few years.

> It does have a memory hit though - you better be running at least 2gb
> ram (Amazing to think of emacs these days as one of the smaller apps
> at 23mb rss its about 15th on my machine right now, with firefox and
> xorg 160mb each and compiz 36mb - where are the days of emacs being
> huge and bloated?).

I can't comment on overall use, but be wary of citing memory use figures
from X or related low level applications as they can be significantly

In your case, citing RSS, you have a more accurate measure of memory
use, where many people miss that X maps the video framebuffer twice, and
anything using OpenGL will potentially have at least /some/ framebuffer
mapped into their virtual space.

> Its certainly a good thing that metacity is no longer the default
> gnome window manager.

I have no strong opinion on that, specifically, but I can certainly say
that having a compositing window manager brings significant technical
benefits to the table, and is worth having.


I am still waiting for KDE4 to settle enough to be usable so I can have
a less annoying compositing window manager, actually, and I miss having
one on a semi-regular basis.  Oh, well.

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