Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Xubuntu, XGL and the road ahead

Xubuntu is a Ubuntu distribution with Xfce as the desktop environment. This should say enough on how good Xfce is going. Recently i had posted a review of Xfce 4.4 beta. It has evolved a lot. The newest Xfce can be configured to look like Gnome...and even behave like it. And you won't even know the difference ! Compare the install size of Xfce to 18-20MB to that of Gnome, 200-300MB. And Xubuntu excels in proving how productive and nice-looking a Xfce desktop can be.

Using Xfce has made the Xubuntu to be sized to some 380MB compared to a full cd required for the standard Ubuntu Dapper...all because of the bloated Gnome. Xubuntu has all the things required to make the distro a Ubuntu. And yes you can use utilities like EasyUbuntu and automatix to install all the non GPLed things, like graphics drivers, java, flash, dvd codecs and stuff.

The part where Xubuntu scores over other *Ubuntus is offcourse speed and the low memory foot print of Xfce. May be its the Dapper thats making all the difference, seems a lot has improved since Breezy Badger that i had last tried. For me things like out-of-the-box frequency scaling on my Turion 64 and suspend are charming. Hibernate still fails, probably because of the ATI graphics driver that still needs to be installed. But this is good progress.

All the recent distros that i have tried like Suse 10, FC 5 and now Xubuntu all seem to be making great strides in taking Linux to the next level. And as the rumour is Linux is already prepared for the onslaught (really ??) that Vista might bring, with things like XGL, Beagle and ever increasing number of drivers.

Novell is so bullish of their yet-to-be released Novell Linux Desktop (NLD), that they say this will replace Windows desktops in corporates and they are even planning to ship NLD as OEM software. If theres even some part truth in this that is very good for the Linux Desktop since components of NLD will eventually come to the open community, as did XGL.

For those who don't know what XGL is, check this out.


I installed XGL after a lot of fight to get ATI proprietary drivers operational... the problem was that Ubuntu Dapper is broken atleast when it comes to kernels and kernel sources. 64-bit kernel didnt work, kernel source had an error in some usb device file and something called DRM was turned on which is not good for ATI drivers. After going through these issues and reboots, and more reboots, finally ATI fglrx got up. Then it was a 5 min tinkering to get XGL and Compiz showing off, that too on Xfce !

XGL can provide a lot of eye-candy, but it can be tamed down to make everyday productive desktop a bit merrier, something like Mac OS X does. XGL will and does beat Vista's graphical fancies. It is important to note that XGL, Vista, Mac all use 3D hardware acceleration to achieve all the effects. Enlightenment doesn't !! Now you know why E is E !

Category [ _Linux_ ] [ _Review_ ]

1 comment:

Rohit Srivastwa said...

Have you tried nUbuntu...
have a look, nice one...