Kompmgr – The KDE Compositing Manager

KompmgrThe compositor is the thing that adds all the layers together to make the final image basically. So kompmgr, the KDE compositing manager manages exactly that, it allows fades, transparent windows, and shadows. It could probably do blur too, but that would be a little hard on my computer.

The reason I use kompmgr is that I don’t have a graphics card that is capable of the magic that XGL + Beryl/Compiz does but still want to have nice fading and transparency. It’s definitely not as smooth as all the videos on Youtube, but it certainly looks great and the transparency when I move the window is pretty nice.

It’s probably no longer under active development, I mean who uses a computer without a cutting-edge graphics card these days, huh? But still, I’ll say what I think is wrong with it. It’s a bit slow with both shadows and fading because apparently it draws the shadow for each faded bit. I understand OSX only draws the shadow after it’s done fading. That’s pretty neat. Transparency with shadows has the same problem. Maybe some day I’ll know enough to change that bit, after all, Free Software.

To use it, you must first enable Compositing in Xorg. Add these lines to xorg.conf: (replacing [tab] with a tab)

Section “Extensions”
[tab]Option “Composite” “Enable”

Things I’m still figuring out:

  • How to adjust the transparency of a window on-the-fly. Currently it makes windows which are out of focus transparent (which is really useful, your eyes just stick to the in-focus window) , and moving windows transparent. (Fixed)
  • How to make it draw shadows only at the end. (Fixed)
  • Why it outputs a continuous stream of error information that makes no sense.

Window behaviour under Desktop in the Control Center has all the settings necessary. No work needed. I remember looking here a long time ago and wondering why the translucency didn’t work. I installed the packages manually to have a small KDE install, so I must’ve left out kompmgr. In any case, there you have it. I changed my shortcut key for transparency to Alt + Mousescroll just like default Beryl.

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