Okay. If you can't tell by the title, this is going to be a lengthy post, but it should. I mean, the software that is hitting the desktop arena will have the same effect on computer users as the mouse did when it first debuted.
This is big!
XGL is the latest and greatest bleeding edge software to hit Linux, and it will make waves. What's best, is a commecial Linux vendor, namely Novell, is contributing to the source code to make it shine. And shine it will. Anyone and everyone interested into eye-candy will download it and install it.
What is XGL? To quote from the Novell site:
Novell is announcing its contribution of the Xgl graphics subsystem and the 'Compiz ' compositing manager to the X.org project. These enhancements open up a whole world of hardware acceleration, fancy animation, separating hardware resolution from software resolution, and more. As a result, Linux desktops will become more usable, end-user productivity will increase, and Linux is firmly positioned at the forefront of client computing technology.
Yeah. We're talking translucent windows and applications, fluid movement, snappy speed and crisp graphics. The whole paradigm of windows graphics as we know it will change. In fact, it will give the Aqua graphics subsystem on Mac OS X a run for its money.
Personally, I haven't tested XGL, but I plan to. And quickly, thanks to the Kororaa Project. Kororaa is a LiveCD that has the XGL graphics engine up and running without any configuration needed. Just pop the CD in, and reboot. Fortunately, there isn't an installation option to install Kororaa on your computer. But that won't slow me.
Ubuntu Dapper 6.04 will release with xorg 7.0 which is very XGL compatible. Unfortuantely, XGL won't be installed by default, due to the massive power it requires to run, but it is only a keyboard execution away. The user just has to run either apt-get or synaptic to get it. However, once downloaded and installed, there will be a number of configuration files to change and update, which will probably change in the near future.
Big deal, though. Right? I mean, Aaron- Windows Vista is supposed to have this built in by default, and it ships in November of this year. And it will be better. It will have 3D behavior with applications and the desktop. So who cares about XGL?
Well, Vista copied (surprised?) the idea and underlying algorithms of Project Looking Glass, and implemented it into Vista. No. I am not going to spend the time backing up my claims either. Google it.
Project Looking Glass is an open source project from Sun Microsystems when the entire desktop computing experience goes 3D. Well, at least as far as your monitor will let you. Built on Java technology, and running side by side with XGL and Compiz, we Linux users will have one kick but desktop! So I guess the question remains then, will Project Looking Glass be able to run under an XGL system, or will it implement an entire different graphics subsystem? I guess we will just have to wait and see.
But wait, there is more. Novell will most likely beat the Windows Vista operating system to the market with the recent announcement of the SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. SLED, as it has been commonly coined, is aimed as a workstation solution for businesses. IT IS DESIGNED TO REPLACE WINDOWS, and, IMO, it will do that just fine. It will be the FIRST Linux distrtibution to do it successfully. The best part? It's armed with XGL.
Being a former user, SuSE is a solution that just works. No configuring files, compiling your kernel, checking dependancies, or any of that headache. It's already taken care of for you. SuSE is easy. SuSE is user friendly. Windows users will have no problems switching. Novell knows this, and I guarantee they will be targeting corporations heavily, and will probably release SLED before Vista. They will have the upper hand.
In summary, XGL is the next logical step. It just makes sense. Again, I can't wait to run it. I plan on doing so when I upgrade my Ubuntu to Dapper next month. I know the hardware requirements, and they are met. 512MB DDRRAM, 1Ghz processor and 3D graphics card are the minimum. So, I guess it isn't for everyone, but then again, neither is Windows.