An OpenGL-accelerated desktop with Xgl and Compiz

BEYOND EYE CANDY

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A member of Suse’s X11 team delivers an insider’s look at Xgl.

Mac fans were ecstatic when Apple introduced the Quartz Extreme [1] graphics interface, which accelerated desktop effects using 3D hardware. Microsoft’s Windows Vista with its Aero technology looks to close this gap with the Mac. In the world of Linux, Xgl [2] now provides a comparable and even more advanced technology that supports similar effects. Xgl is an X Server by David Revemann that uses OpenGL to implement graphics output. When a program tells Xgl to draw a line, Xgl passes the vertices to the OpenGL subsystem, which then sends the matching commands to the graphics hardware. Despite this emphasis on OpenGL, Xgl also retains the protocol that existing applications use to talk to the X Server, removing the need to rewrite application programs.

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