Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New year, KWin and other stuff

First let me wish you all happy new year :-)
2008 is certainly going to be an interesting year for KDE with the next major version finally being released and the focus shifting from refactoring to polishing and using the new APIs. I can't wait to see what people will come up with by the time KDE 4.1 or even 4.2 gets out.

KWin's compositing has seen many improvements in the last months, but we're still not completely sure if we want to enable it by default (even only for the selected cards and drivers). If we enable compositing and it unexpectedly fails for someone then there's the chance of him/her not getting a usable desktop at all and we're not sure if we want to risk with that...
Should we disable it for everyone by default (it's not difficult to enable anyway) and wait until we implement some safeguards for 4.1? Or should we enable it because it works for most people for whom it's enabled by default and end-users are less likely to adopt 4.0 anyway? What do you think?

I've also got a few more interesting things coming up, but I'll keep those for the next time ;-)

28 comments:

Bernhard said...

yeah.. 2008 is going to be great for KDE... I'm writing this message from a KDE4 session.. it's awesome!

But: imho kwin is not yet ready to enable the desktop effects by default because it's just too slow (at least on my ati (fglrx, 8.44.3, Mobility Radeon X700). It works but even moving windows feels really slow. The only thing I don't like is that with disabled compositing the "End Session" menu is really slow

brendan said...

How about prompting the users who have supported cards. And if the user chooses to enable the effects, use one of those dialogues that times out of the user doesn't click OK after a certain ammount of time.

That way users who can take advantage of the effects can do so withought worrying about giving them an unusable desktop. I'm not sure you can do that because of the strings freeze though

Trigger said...

I have a Ati r300 card and using the radeon driver I see nice artefacts around the windows (there should be shadows ;)). So I'd day no.

Albert Ng said...

I think that because end users are not as likely to use KDE 4.0.0 it shouldn't make a difference if it's disabled by default. That way, if someone DOES stumble onto it, their first impression won't be a negative one due to kwin compositing.

Dave Taylor said...

I'd certainly go with 'off by default' for the solid reason in my opinion the slowdown it causes detracts more than the positive effects it has. I'd say that Compiz in its relatively mature state just isn't as smooth as with-out so kwin composite is a definite no-no.

Anonymous said...

why not test fps like qtdemo does?

Elv13 said...

+1 for off by default. On my laptop (nv8600GT) it make the painting so slow that it make kde4 unusable. On my old desktop (radeon9200 oss driver) it work sometime, but not everyday (not today) with daily svn update. When it work, the painting is so slow that it is impossible to move a widget in plasma and every widget have the grey border (with X and resize) the they wont disapear.

Baronek said...

+1 on by default. On Nvidia 6200 it is unusable, it is very slow.

Baronek said...

i meant off ;//

Thomas said...

I recently fixed the kcm to correctly revert to the last known working one if they don't press the 'ok-it-looks-good' button within the timeout.

So I think off-by-default makes sense, and users that want it can find the way to enable them and not get stuck.

On my laptop the whole screen goes black until I kill kwin. So, yeah, it would be a disaster if it were on by default.

Anonymous said...

I think activating compositing is part of the system integration, which is the distribution's task.

Fri13 said...

I suggest leaving it disabled by default. Those who dont have a) hardware b) working drivers, dont need to start fighting how to get it disabled if something goes wrong.

It is easy to get enabled and then there aint those whiners "eyecandy, just eyecandy" by default ;-)

Martin said...

I really like the effects and they work smooth with my system. But I saw what happend when I tried them on my laptop (ATI with new driver)...

It's really easy to enable them. And the users who will use KDE4.0 will know that there are the effects and will find the config.

So +1 for off.

Anonymous said...

Note that due to libindirect usage, compositing has become a lot faster and smooth for nVidia post-RC2, so nVidia users shouldn't base their decision on RC2.

[Knuckles] said...

+1 for off, I try compiz and kwin with compositing from time to time and always get back to no compositing (some things just too slow for me, at least on this setup).

Anonymous said...

I saw many comments on Digg/Slashdot/Dot.kde.org that kwin-compositing is very slow in comparison to compiz fusion.

*If* this is really true, and it is not fault of --debug in KDE4-svn that it should be off by default. If this slowness is becouse of --debug than turn on this wander full thing please :)

PS. One question: Does kwin4 support atm compositing on dual view? (nvidia twinview).
Do I have any chance to use KDE4.0.0 with compositing turn on AND dual view. Or there is only possibility of dual view without compositing?

chithanh said...

I think it should be enabled by default. KDE 4.0 is not going to be used by end users who expect a fully polished desktop. The feedback which hardware/drivers cause problems will be invaluable, at least for creating a whitelist/blacklist for future releases. This chance will not come again soon.

Anonymous said...

for reasons others already mentioned, I'm for enabling it by default. BUT... only provided that it's possible to disable it easily and safely.

Feng Shaun said...

I would vote for disabled compositing at first. Enabling it is easy and people can do that if they want to!

Chani said...

safeguards, safeguards, safeguards.
as much as feedback about composite not working would be useful, I don't think users will appreciate being used that way. ;)

Anonymous said...

For me, with a GeForce 6200 and an Athlon 2400+, it works perfect!! On by default for me.

Salut!

ziabice said...

IMHO you can simply add two X sessions named "KDE 4" and "KDE 4 with effects" to KDM, then the user will choose.
For a general usage it is best to turn it off by default.

For me compositing works well (NVIDIA 7600GS with latest drivers) but it's slow, at the point that you loose the "feel" with the desktop (I remember Compiz was the same, ages ago), when you move windows or resize.
Those things don't stop me to keep it on all the time ;)

Anonymous said...

Off by default, it keeps crashing X (as does compiz, but that one is even less stable) on my Intel 965 Laptop.

koral said...

+1 for ON by default. KDE needs to push boundaries. X/graphics drivers/toolkits will catch up! If we don't make the move today, we will be left behind.
Go For It!

Augu said...

+1 for off by default.

Is there already a list of supported cards and drivers somewhere on techbase?
Could be a good idea to have it from the beginning, to let the users give a feedback on their hardware setup.

augu said...

Sorry, I forgot to mention that also a simple way to evaluate frame per seconds obtained with a certain setup could be useful to correctly quantify the performances and compare cards/drivers.

Vlad said...

off by default

kwin-composite needs to be much less error prone (aka bug free) and tested before releasing it by default. Also, usability research for what plugins should be enabled by default needs to be addressed. Ubuntu has done a good job with enabling usefull compositing by default, we should work to have something similarly stable and useable.

k said...

On by default, but create a blacklist of graphic cards for which it will be more reasonable to disable composite by default

+1 to show fps or something

# I have no idea what criteria(s) the graphics card should meet to be blacklisted ... so maybe disabling composite by default is better choice ...

-------------------------------------
Where can kde4 user get help regards the inferior performance compared to compiz?
Is it reasonable to assume that kwin shouldn't perform slower than compiz?
Are performance related issues worth "bug reports"?