Friday, March 23, 2007

Brainshare Video Demo of New Compiz Features

If you just want to see the video then use this link and skip to the 25 minute mark. If that doesn't work then try here instead.

It has JUST been announced that the Beryl team want to merge with Compiz (details to be confirmed), which should mean these features reach Beryl users too! See details here

While it may have seemed short on high profile, glitzy new plugins recently, the Compiz core has been evolving quietly, speedily and robustly in the background. What is possible in the latest development versions looks capable of bringing an even bigger revolutionary change in the way we use our computers than we saw when XGL/Copmiz was introduced about a year ago.

The video doesn't just show new plug-ins that use the original features of the Compiz core (from which the Beryl core was forked) - we are seeing new tools for developers of plug-ins that haven't been available anywhere until now... For example adding the ability to interact with scaled windows, not just to scale them!

This continues the trend in Compiz development of implementing exciting new technology in the core, and then adding plug-ins to use those features - if necessary, waiting for changes (or making the changes) in the other programs Compiz/XGL depends on (like the xserver!) to be made so that the new solutions are done elegantly and in 'the right way'. The lead developer, of XGL and Compiz, David Reveman, has always been focussed on making the most powerful tools available in the core so that all plug-ins can access efficient code to do useful tasks.

In the Friday seminar at this year's Novell Brainshare conference David Reveman talked Nat Friedman through these new additions

David comes on around the 25 minute mark...

Among other things, you can see:
  • Multiple display support (cloning of displays)
  • Interacting with transformed windows
  • Applications that use the Compiz core to scale and render images or videos, so that when you use Compiz's zoom function, the resolution of the video or image changes too!
  • Setting any particular application to render on the top of the cube
This is all very cool!

David used scale in a really interesting way: rather than clicking on any window to interact with it after scaling, he left all the windows scaled and zoomed in on the one he wanted to use - as if they were all laid out on a desk! This shows the potential of this technology to really change how we interact with our applications, media and data.

I was helped to this story by David's post to the Compiz mailing list: