[compiz] [ANNOUNCE] Compiz feature branch compiz++
kristian at bohemians.org
Wed Dec 24 17:05:58 PST 2008
On Wed, Dec 24, 2008 at 01:48:17PM +0100, Dennis Kasprzyk wrote:
> - No direct access to member variables: Everything is now done with
> getter and setter functions. This helps with the problem where every
> variable addition broke the plugin ABI. While this usually is not a
> problem in the development tree, we can not do it in a stable tree. Even
> if it is needed to fix a bug. It also gives us more control what other
> plugins can do, so that broken plugins can not mess up our core
How does this relate to the fundamental issue where we simply have way too
many variables available under one or two data structures? I believe the
biggest problem we've had is the sheer size of the core structures and their
lack of documentation which has led to misuse. The get/set for ABI
compatibility is not unimportant, but it doesn't solve the underlying
> - Composite/OpenGL seperation: All XComposite handling is moved into the
> composite plugin and the opengl rendering into the opengl plugin. This allows
> compiz to run also as normal window manager without compositing (still needs
> some work and a few new plugins), but also the creation of other rendering
> backends (XRender, clutter, ...).
What are the specifics for this interface?
> - Tiled textures: Modifications to the texture system allow to have more than
> one texture per pixmap and also to have other plugins that provide texture
> from pixmap functionality. The new copytex uses the (slow) "copy pixmap
> content to texture" approach to provide texture from pixmap functionality.
> It's main advantage is that it supports pixmaps bigger than the maximum
> texture size. In this cases a pixmap is split into multiple textures. Compiz
> will use the glx texture-from-pixmap extension for pixmaps/windows but will
> fall back to the copytex plugin if thex are bigger than the maximum texture
What are the specifics for this interface?
> - Reparented decorations: Like other window managers, compiz now supports
> reparented window decorations. This will allow compiz to run as a normal
> window manager and to be able to have decorations for windows that are bigger
> than the maximum texture size (copytex plugin). (Currently only implemented in
> the kde4-window-decorator)
What specific bugs does this solve, what are the concerns that it will
bring? What is the reason for the original design? Pros and cons.
Is this an optional feature, or is it always enabled in your branch? Is it
implemented as a plugin?
> - Dropped multi display and multi screen support *: The multi display support
> is not completed, and the multi screen support is almost unmaintainded.
> Additionally, our normal proposal for bugs in the multi screen support is to
> start one compiz instance per screen. Dropping multi-screen support has the
> additional benifits of:
> -- Per screen plugin lists (e.g. cube on one screen and wall on the other)
> -- Rendering of one screen can not block the rendering of the other screen
> -- Different libGL per screen (with LD_PRELOAD)
> -- Simplier plugins
> -- Simplier option handling
I believe this has been a separate discussion, though it seems it never
came up on any of the lists(?). I believe a proper discussion should be had (I
could've sworn we had one already), but I suspect this could be implemented
on master without too much grief.
> - New plugin interface: The compiz WRAP/UNWRAP interface is perhaps the most
> efficient system to create a plugin funcion "call chain", but it is not the
> the best for compiz. In compiz we have a lot of plugins loaded that hook into
> the drawing functions, but do nothing most of the time. Only when activated
> (keybinding/dbus/event) do they usually draw something. The end result is that
> most functions get called, then the plugin checks if it is active. The plugin
> then calls the function of the next plugin in the call chain. The following
> plugin repeats the cycle. I've measured that we are loosing 8 - 15 % of CPU
> time here. The new system allows plugins to dynamically disable "wrapped"
> functions if they are not needed. The core then only needs to check some
> boolean variables, and will only call the functions that are really in use.
> I've kept the word "wrapping" in the system so that every compiz developer
> knows what it does, even if it does not fit the new system well.
How exactly does this new system work? This represents a major change for
Compiz, and far more important than performance is the maintainability over
time. How do you envision this new system handling in the development
When are these 8-15% of CPU time? Is it during a time when Compiz is
heavily into damaging (ie: during animation) or a similarly intense
situation, thus the 8-15% of CPU time is actually 8-15% of the CPU, or is
it measured when Compiz is otherwise idle, and the 8-15% is 8-15% of ~0?
Generally speaking, my Compiz uses roughly no CPU, and if it's 8-15% of
nothing, I hardly think it's worth the gain, which is why this matters. But
depending on the implementation, this can probably be done pretty cleanly
without too much tinkering with existing plugins.
> - CMake build system: Everyone is happy if the build system (autotools) works,
> but starts to cry if it doesn't. At least that is my impression after more
> than 2 years of compiz development. In compiz fusion we have already decided
> to switch to cmake after the next stable release (0.8), and we also provided
> cmake tarballs for a while. CMake provides a real great documentation, and in
> my opinion it is much easier than autotools.
This probably should be done directly on master after 0.8, but I'm still
missing some specifics. So far, all I've heard about CMake have been
praise, and I find it hard to believe entirely in a product when all I hear
is good stuff. There's always a con... Does anyone care to enlighten me and
> - Port to C++: With C we have to write almost the same code in each plugin and
> run into the same bugs over and over again. A lot of this can be avoided with
> C++. C++ allows us also to do more and this in a easier way:
> -- Smarter function callbacks with Boost (boost::function/boost::bind)
> -- Easier and smarter privates system (get the plugin struct for a given core
> struct/old FOO_SCREEN (s), FOO_WINDOW (w) macros). The new system hides most
> of the ugly handling from a plugin developer and provides a new simple and ABI
> safe way to work with plugin plugins (plugins that expose
> features/functionality to other plugins)
> -- Constructors/Destructors allow easier initialisation/cleanup for a lot of
> -- Containers avoid the implementation of lists and resizeable arrays over and
> over again.
> -- Containers like maps and other smart classes can improve performance in
> several areas.
> -- ...
I'm sceptical to switching to C++ _and_ implementing all these changes at
the same time. Specially the way it's happened. I'm not entirely sure C++
will solve all the real problems either (like the biggest problem which is
lack of good documentation). For now, I'd like to discuss the individual
changes suggested, or presented, I should say. Before I'm willing to
discuss the move to C++.
> This branch is my proposal for a possible compiz future. The decision to make
> this the future of compiz is something that everyone involved in compiz should
> make. Espesially because it would need a huge amount of work to get all
> plugins ported. In my opinion, it would be better to stay with the old system
> if such change would create a fork again.
I'm really alarmed with how this branch/project evolved, so I'm sceptical.
Essentially 6 months of development has been poured into a project we're
not supposed to talk about that changes more or less everything that is
compiz, and there's been no open discussion along the way. This has been an
ongoing problem with Compiz for as long as I've been involved, and it has,
in fact, been the single biggest challenge in working with Compiz. I regret
to see that you are carrying this tradition on Dennis...
I am in no position to reject or accept such a huge proposal, but I'm very
curious as to how to maintain it. Essentially we're turning everything into
a 0.2 version again, since we'll have to learn Compiz all over again.
I know I might have uttered differently before, but I've come to realize
that you do not solve the fundamental problems of a program just by
starting from scratch, and this is close to that.
From my point of view, it is much better to present each of these changes
as individual ideas, work over the idea, then start looking at an
implementation and patches. I see a lot of good ideas, but I don't see any
discussion with regards to the design or implementation. This will require
much work in the area of documentation and communication before I, at
least, am willing to give this a thumbs up (to the degree my thumb matters
in this situation).
For the record. I still agree with many of the problems you put forward,
but I believe that the biggest challenge in Compiz for the future lays not
in the code, but in the way we work, and in changing compiz from a research
project to a throughly professional project. That, and the lack of time.
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