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Thread: KWin Now Supports Suspended Compositing

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoronix View Post
    Phoronix: KWin Now Supports Suspended Compositing
    Suspended compositing? What kind of weird term is that? Is it like inaudible sound and non-moving movement?

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Sixpack View Post
    Does it serve a practical purpose? No. But you can't deny that it greatly enhances your chances of achieving...

    wait for it...

    Awesomeness!!!
    On the contrary, basic desktop usability is greatly increased through the use of compositing. Shadows, overlays, window thumbnails, all help you navigate faster.

    Even netbooks can run a compositor with little performance penalty nowadays (and indeed AMD drivers tend to be equal or faster with a compositor enabled than without).

  3. #23
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    If this works so great that it turns on in the microsecond that I hit the widget overlay button to check the time then great!... But it sucks so don't even think about it.

    BTW powerdevil is working just fine. The blur is also just working fine with the open source drivers, as well all PulseAudio.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackStar View Post
    On the contrary, basic desktop usability is greatly increased through the use of compositing. Shadows, overlays, window thumbnails, all help you navigate faster.

    Even netbooks can run a compositor with little performance penalty nowadays (and indeed AMD drivers tend to be equal or faster with a compositor enabled than without).
    I suppose the advantages of running a compositor in terms of usability are both subjective and very dependent on how well thought of the interface is. Some visual clues achieved by compositing tricks are likely to help the user know what's going on, but the opposite may also be true for purely cosmetic, over-the-top effects. There is no universal, one size fits all rule.

    My old laptop with its dedicated graphics card still has better 3D than many netbooks from today, and there is a very noticeable performance penalty when running Kwin's compositing (not so in the case of Compiz). Note that I'm not talking about the sort of stuff that's usually benchmarked in Phoronix, such as OpenArena or Nexuiz frame rates when running under a compositor--which I think it's pretty much sorted already by playing tricks when running a full screen application and so on. What I have in mind is a small but noticeable lag in the most mundane desktop tasks, such as moving windows around, scrolling documents or little glitches here and there. Apart from the scrolling issue, which is very annoying, the rest are probably more a psycological thing than anything else (after all, I don't move windows around). The problem is that it makes the whole desktop feel like struggling when it should be as snappy as always...

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by allquixotic View Post
    On the other hand, it should be possible to prevent applications from disabling compositing, if you have a graphics driver that is either (a) buggy in non-composited mode, or (b) runs as fast or faster in composited than without.

    For example, previous Catalyst releases, at least for me, had terrible, unusable rendering artifacts in the old 2d mode, but as soon as I turned on compositing, everything went beautifully. This persisted for a number of months. Nowadays, the performance of apps while composited or not is still more or less equal, and the 2D bugs are gone, but enabling/disabling compositing takes up time that I don't want the system to spend.

    Plus, the transition between compositing and not, in and of itself, has been a major source of potential bugs in the past: anywhere from incorrect rendering, to disappearing window borders, to incorrect window size, to kernel panics. I've witnessed the latter with both open and closed source drivers of 2010 vintage. And it's only 4 months into 2011, so what are the chances that all of those bugs are gone? I'd much rather have the system boot into one mode or the other and just freaking stick with it -- especially if I'm using a driver where the performance isn't killed by compositing, such as Catalyst.

    I also notice that r600g is doing quite well in terms of being minimally affected by compositing. The intel drivers, nvidia binary driver and nouveau seem to be getting hit the worst by performance impact of compositing -- everybody else notices a minor or negligible impact.

    Conclusion? Don't try to be "smart" and force any particular behavior on the user. Or if you do try to be smart by default, provide a user-visible GUI element for overriding your (quite possibly incorrect) "smart" behavior. It makes sense to be smart when you are completely certain that your automated decision is the correct one, but with something as driver-dependent as "the performance impact of compositing", and something as personal as "the degree to which this user cares about having compositing enabled", you simply cannot consider all the requisite factors in software in order to make a decision that is always the right one. So the best choice is to not make a decision at all, and leave it up to the user.
    +1
    I have another example of buggy driver and WM which works better with basic compositing. The combination Openchrome-Metacity worked OK with compositing, and had random crashes in metacity without compositing. Anyway, with an UniChrome, Openbox rocks a lot more :P

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackStar View Post
    On the contrary, basic desktop usability is greatly increased through the use of compositing. Shadows, overlays, window thumbnails, all help you navigate faster.

    Even netbooks can run a compositor with little performance penalty nowadays (and indeed AMD drivers tend to be equal or faster with a compositor enabled than without).
    The only thing you named that I really see that can help navigate faster are thumbnails. Can you explain how a shadow or overlaying can make you navigate faster?

    About the compositing and the performance, with any card with more than 64MB should work without a great loss of performance, the problem there is when drivers or the compositing manager itself are crappy coded. For example, OpenChrome, or Compiz a few years ago. And, as you say, even netbooks tend to have better IGP's than that.

  7. #27
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    An example of better navigation is the exposť effect and the zoom out to see all desktops. This greatly enhances navigation speed. What also helps are the shadows to indicate edges of the windows and the blue light to easily spot the active windows. There is also a quick mouse indicator to easily spot the mouse. The lamp effect is a great indicator of where the windows go. The transparant effect while draging shows where to best position a window. The write on screen effect is great for tutorials when recording the desktop. The darken all windows effect shows that a password needs some input. The darken window upon unresponsive indicates the app has maybe crashed or is a parent window; you can't use it. The zooming vlass greatly improves interaction for the visualy disabled. Blur indicates Plasma widgets so there is an easy distinction between Kwin and Plasma components. Shadow underneath bars adds a little depth for the human brain to analyse screen edges faster.

    In other words desktop effects rock.

  8. #28

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    Keep in mind nobody forces you to have compositions enabled.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrugiero View Post
    The only thing you named that I really see that can help navigate faster are thumbnails. Can you explain how a shadow or overlaying can make you navigate faster?
    Shadows expose window relationships (active window, child windows). I find this singularly important - the non-composited gnome 2 desktop looks flat out confusing to my eyes.

    Overlays are important for things such as pop-up notifications. Do you recall how e.g. volume notifications used to look when running fullscreen apps or videos on non-composited desktops? (Extreme flickering and slowdowns everywhere). They also improve things such as window resizing (have you seen the new touch-aware resize overlay in Ubuntu/Unity?)

    Unfortunately, composition has acquired a bad reputation due to buggy drivers and an initial focus on bling rather than usability. This is unfortunate, since a modern desktop isn't conceivable without a compositor.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackStar View Post
    This is unfortunate, since a modern desktop isn't conceivable without a compositor.
    For you maybe, but that is not the case for all.

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