Using advanced and beautiful graphic effects on the desktop is getting ever more popular. People want beautiful desktops, and Linux delivers. Not only is it easy on the eyes, but some features are very useful and not having them around is a pain once you get used to the idea.
I recently posted a notice called Artwork is a feature, which points to a recent post by Mark Shuttleworth where he discusses the importance of having beautiful artwork to appeal to a broad audience. He says:
We have to make it gorgeous. We have to make it easy on the eye. We have to make it take your friend’s breath away.
This is where Beryl comes in. Beryl is a composite manager which uses OpenGL to bring stunning effects to the common desktop. This is one of the things that will take your friend’s breath away. It will hopefully make him curious about Linux, which hopefully leads to the point where he decides to try it himself.
I made a small demo showing off some features of Beryl. You can either watch it directly here, or download the higher quality xvid file below. While the video quality is not the best, it will show you the concept of how Beryl actually works and looks.
- Ubuntu-Beryl.avi (XviD 17MB)
Beryl has other useful features such as allowing arbitrary zooming of the desktop. Eye-candy features such as drops of rain falling on the desktop and waves spreading through the desktop when a window wants attention are part of the package. The eye-candy features may not improve work efficiency, but they do however attract attention of potential new users.
To try this yourself, visit the Beryl wiki where instructions for the most popular distributions are posted. If you need to install a Linux distribution, head over to the Ubuntu website and get yourself hooked up.
Do remember that Beryl is beta software, so it will contain bugs and rough edges. It has been running stable on my laptop with an ATI X600 and the only issues I have had is when resuming from suspend. There are also some video overlay problems, but they will hopefully be resolved in a near future.