Open Source XGL trumps Windows Vista glass UI

I am just your average geek that likes to test what is up and coming for operating systems and such. A friend told me about XGL and so I thought I would check it out. I hopped on to google and found a video of XGL in action. I was absolutely blown away at what I saw. A 3-dimensional desktop in the form of a cube which could spin, rotate, and create some really bizarre effects with running programs. The video did no justice and so I began an attempt to install XGL and Compiz on my Gentoo box. After multiple failed attempts I turned back to google to see if I could find the right code to set this alice-in-wonderland UI up on another box. What I found was an awesoeme LiveCD from Christopher Smart with XGL and compiz completely prebuilt. You can find it at and I highly recommend checking it out. You won’t be disappointed.

If this is where Open Source is headed, watch out Microsoft. It’s no surprise to me that Novell is still quietly in the mix as they are the primary contributor to the project with this code. Both XGL and compiz are being hosted at You can read the snippet from Novell on their contribution here . 

What gets me is if you look at the upcoming Vista release from Microsoft they tout the “flip 3-d” effect of active windows. What this actually equates to is a glorified alt-tab feature that looks like it’s on steroids. It basically takes the active windows and lines them up in a perspective manner related to the desktop, meaning they are taking the active window and making it a trapezoid instead of a square. There is nothing in Vista that gives the desktop a 3 dimensional outlay like XGL does. But then again, Linux has always been better at running multiple desktops if you run X.  Microsoft still hasn’t figured out how to run multiple desktops. Anyone who has tried Microsoft’s Virtual Desktop Manager from the XP Powertoys knows this.

I am excited to see this new UI for open source and will be watching closely for BSD coding…

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