X.org Up and Running

Thanks to some howtos and just doing it I am now running X.org‘s XFree86 replacement X Window system. It was pretty simple, even though I did post a howto link on Ufies.org.

Basically just removed my old XFree install (“emerge -C xfree“) and installed the new X.org in it’s place (“emerge xorg-x11“), restarted and there I was. The current gentoo stable version doesn’t have all the nifty keen shadows and transparancy though, so I emerged the newer version and xcompmgr and transset, the tools for drop shadows and setting transparancy respectively. All was fine, again, restart and I’m gold. I did have to add the following to enable compositing, the technology needed to make the shadows work:

Section "Extensions"
Option "Composite" "true"
Option "RENDER" "true"

After that run "xcompmgr -c" and voila, all is well. The system seems stable enough, but if I left xcompmgr running I'd come back to my computer after being away for a bit and fine myself at the login screen. No fun. A few posts in the forums suggested that the CVS version has a lot of fixes from the .902 version, so I found fluidportage and downloaded that (actually did a subversion checkout if you want to be exact), emerged the xorg-x11-cvs, xcompmgr-cvs and transset-cvs, waited a bit for the compile to finish, and bango, all up. Seems way more stable, and while it's not perfect, it's pretty sexy and cool.

Here's a screenshot:

Click for 82kb 1024 version, or here for a 410kb 2560x960 version. Another sexy shot here (467kb). Wallpaper is from bungie.net if you're interested.

Like I said, it's pretty much unchanged from XFree86, could even be a bit smoother, but that could be just my imagination. Dragging transparent windows over other windows is silky smooth though, no lag at all.
Things I've found buggy so far with a day or so of use:

  • My gnome panel notification area is a bit messed up, icons don't get restored properly after the screensaver starts up.
  • Windows key doesn't work. Seems like a known problemm with no fix just yet.
  • Some graphics glitches, artifacts left on the screen when coming back from a VT or from screensaver.
  • Setting up window transparancy is kinda lame, you run 'transset 0.5' (where 0.5 is the amount of transparency you want, larger number is less transparent). This doesn't stick through restarts of course.
  • The transparency you do get is the entire window is transparent, title bar and all. Cool, but pointless. I want apps that currently provide "fake" transparency (ie: gnome-termainal, rxvt, konsole, and other terminal apps) to give me the sort of transparency that I get under OS/X. From what I've read there will be support for the RENDER and COMPOSITE extensions (which give you drop shadows and transparency) in the upcoming GNOME 2.8 to do just this. Or so I hear.

Other than that it's just a window manager, no config file changes, no great huge revelations other than that. The CVS version seems stable, so I'll keep it until I find something better 🙂