Monday, September 18, 2006

Compiz gets forked real good: Beryl

It was time. QuinnStorm (who maintained her own tree of compiz and provides awesome Ubuntu packages) has forked off Compiz into a new project, Beryl.

It's been clear for a while that QuinnStorm's version of Compiz has diverged from the simplicity present in the first release of Compiz. Quinn's tree has included all sorts of community developed plugins, most of which add shameless bling with little contribution to enhancing usability.

That's the difference as I see it: Novell's Compiz will continue to be a stable compromise between bling and usability, and Quinn's Beryl will become the community-driven bling-machine. And that's not to say that Beryl won't be stable, it's just that Novell puts more effort (and justifiably at that) into creating a top-notch user experience - Something that comes across as being an afterthought in Quinn's tree of Compiz.

At the very least, the next six months are going to bring us the answers to two important questions this fork has posed:
1. Will Beryl plugins remain compatible with Compiz? (mikedee from the Compiz forums asked this one)
2. When other distributions like Ubuntu add some sort of standard AIGLX/XGL support, will they offer Compiz or Beryl as the window manager of choice?

I honestly don't know the answers to either of these questions, but as development progresses, it'll certainly be interesting to find out. (In the meantime, follow this thread.)