X.Org is set to release a new version of their X11 server tomorrow (X11 is the system that drives the GUI desktop on Linux and other UNIX systems). The notable part of this release will be extensions to the X protocol that will allow more flexibility in the compositing of windows. This allows for drop shadows on windows, translucent windows, and other visual effects (The screenshot at right is a bit small, but it shows a video playing at 50% transparency with a browser behind). Linux-Gamers.Net has the full scoop:
Another useful feature is the inclusion of the new XDamage extension. Monitoring the regions affected by rendering has wide-spread use, from VNC-like systems scraping the screen to screen magnifying applications designed to aid users with limited visual acuity. The DAMAGE extension is designed to make such applications reasonably efficient in the face of server-client latency.
This all seems a bit technical, I know, but it will mean a more ‘Mac-like’ visual experience for Linux desktops, and more efficient rendering. The screenshots look great. Windows users, don’t worry. I’m sure Longhorn will be along eventually. Right? =)