Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Great Ubuntu Blog



Feels good to be back here. This blog of mine has been lying unused for quite a long time now. Main reason was i was waitin for certain things to fall in place for the next blog entry and they have......

It was about a month ago when i visited my friend Arun, i found him runnin ubuntu dapper in his pc(he was the last person in the world i xpected to install linux:D) that day the first thing i did after reaching home is boot up my pc from the ubuntu dapper live CD(i had it shipped the previous month...was too lazy to install)...Had some trouble with partitioning. I scooped off 5GB from my downloads drive allocated 4Gb for the linux root and 1Gb as linux swap(always swap=2xRAM). Ubuntu installation is pretty hassle free apart from the partitioning and is VERY fast compared to XP. The whole OS installs in a max of 10 mins compared to 20+ mins for XP. It had correctly detected the presence of XP in the HDD and had configured the GRUB bootloader accordingly. I spend that whole day getting the "feel" of ubuntu. There were lots of things i was new to. Thankfully the people at ubuntuforums.org are very helpful. Then a few days into it i lost intrest and was back on XP again. 3 weeks later kickassman discovers a video on youtube. The vid was showin off a 3d accelerated ubuntu desktop with lots of jaw dropping visual fx and amazin eye candy. Kickassman did the initial research got it runnin on his pc and tld me to try it out. I decided to give it a shot. Mainly coz XP dosent have a 3d accelerated desktop. That feature comes only with Vista , named as Aero. To run aero smoothly i need to buy atleast 10k worth of new hardware. First i had to install drivers for my ATI Xpress 200 onboard video. thnkfully kickassman found a wiki detailin the process and it was kinda easy. Another thing i learned after installin drivers for my ATI card, Never buy an ATI if ya ever plan to install linux on ur pc, coz ATI linux drivers suck. The first driver i installed wld crash during shutdown. Had to do download the source for a newer version, compile and install it. Hard work for a linux n00b like me.

The 3d accelerated desktop system is named XGL. more info about XGL can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XGL XGL uses a window manager named BERYL and a window decorator named EMERALD to draw around windows. THe 4 default workspaces in the linux environment are drawn around a cube rendered using OpenGL. Switchin workspaces involves rotating this cube which looks awwsumm.

Installing XGL and beryl was kinda easy thnks to ubuntu's package managing software. Upon firing up beryl i was greeted by a cool 3d splash screen and the effect was noticeable. I downloaded themes to make my desktop look just like vista:D

Salient features of beryl include motion blur assisted application switchin, pixel shader demo screen savers,Translucent title bars, Translucent incative windows and loots more. It aint describable with words, U hvta see for yourself to appreciate it.

A simple google search for "XGL vs Aero" will tell u that XGL blasts aero into oblivion, providing much better and customizable eye candy but requiring very less resources compared to aero.

Minimum requirments for vista-aero include 1Gb RAM and a Direct X 9 card with atleast 128MB of dedicated video memory

Xgl runs fine even on a 2 yr old Geforce 4 onboard and provides better visual fx than aero(Xcpt for the fact that some features like pixel shader demos will be absent due to absence of hardware) . The screenshot of my desktop posted below shows a gud view of the desktop "cube" of XGL, and various other features like the translucent title bars etc.



The screenshot doesnt even show 10% of the beauty of beryl. As i said earlier, u hvta c it for urself.


The screenshot posted below shows video playing in the alt+tab switchin screen with motion blur on(well screenshot of "motion" blur is meaningless....but still thought id keep it on)



For help with installing ubuntu browse thru http://ubuntuforums.org

For help with installing XGL check out
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/CompositeManager/Xgl


linux IS user friendly...just that it aint ignorant friendly and idiot friendly ;-)
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