Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why are so many windows stiff?

It was said that windows are one's eyes to the world. And for so many years in my computing growth, I was convinced that there was only one way to look at the world. When I discovered Linux, I never thought that I would have a completely different perspective of The Road Ahead. But it was not until 2004 that I started to get serious about Linux. And when I first installed PCLinuxOS, I knew for certain what I wanted.

Looking around my peers and their Windows XPs and Vistas, I cannot help but wonder what sort of user experiences they were getting? If I didn't know better, I would have thought that they were trapped at a time when innovation had failed them. Sure, some of them take the extra steps to catch up with time but their ways and additions seemed superficial.

My first view of an average user's desktop experience was in|situ|'s Metisse and Sun/Java.Net's 3D Looking Glass. But these innovation didn't seem to materialize or at least reached the average desktop users, and I waited months, maybe even a year or two to experience something similar. Then came Beryl and it was exciting. But that too was short-lived. In its place grew Compiz, then Compiz-Fusion. And the latter made my desktop experience the envy of the neighborhood. In fact, everyone in my campus who'd seen my desktop wanted their notebooks to look like mine.

The wobbly windows, rotating cubes with a click of a mouse button; water and ripple effects across an open windows; moving the mouse cursor to the upper left-hand corner to expose an 8-desktop expo; and over at the right-hand corner to scale the windows making them all visible on the desktop; fire and snow, inverting window and desktop colors, desktop zoom, windows switcher (Vista, eat your heart out!), motion blur, grouping and tabbing windows, a wide range of effects for open, closing, minimizing and maximizing windows, just to name a few make for this user's desktop experience

All these are now. On February 4, 2009, Kristian Lyngstol announced on the Compiz mailing list the possibility of Compiz++ and Nomad merging after the release of 0.9.2. It also mentioned on the announcement that Compiz and Compiz-Fusion will be merge into a single entity and simply be named Compiz. In addition, Compiz is moving away from Freedesktop entirely. All these should be done with around August/September, 2009.

The technology may seem just another eye candy to some users, but I can assure you that aside from making your OS extremely ... let me highlight that word again - EXTREMELY ... beautiful and functional, and for one thing it makes organizing ones desktop much easier. Of course, like learning to use a new application, it takes getting used to before it could even be totally appreciated.

So back to the question, why are so many windows stiff? Are you content with it? Take a look at a few of my screenshots and maybe these will help you change your minds.

Cover windows switcher

Rotating cube with 3D Windows


Scale Plugin

Freely Transformable Windows

Whichever way it is for you, Linux ... it is your freedom of choice.

1 comment:

  1. I agree! As a PCLinuxOS user for more than two years, it is more than just eye candy (if that is important to you).
    Open Office, Gimp, and several other incredible apps make this linux distro MORE than adequate for my needs.
    Unfortunately,the majority of folks buy systems preloaded with Windows and feel that they must buy only Microsoft or 3rd party Microsoft compatible software.

    Trouble is that the same majority is too lazy or unwilling to LEARN something new, free, and just amazing.