The last week I had the opportunity to attend the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando, Florida. I want to thank Canonical for making this possible. UDS is quite different from other Open Source conferences I have been so far (Akademy, Desktop Summit, Plasma sprints). UDS is really centered about the idea to get things done. The schedule is very exhausting with several one hour sessions per day and up to 14 parallel tracks.
Like Desktop Summit UDS offers the possibility to talk with developers from the "other side". But in addition to the GNOME folks you also have the X, kernel, etc. people around. This is especially from a KWin point of view a real advantage.
I am really glad that I had the opportunity to talk to the people working on Unity. This new desktop shell is a great challenge but also a great opportunity for the free desktops. There is lots to collaborate on and I noticed that Canonical wants to collaborate and is thankful that we as an upstream are collaborative – for example with the Status Notifier/Indicators. This brings me to KWin. As you might have heard of Unity will become the primary desktop shell in Ubuntu 11.04 with Compiz instead of Mutter as the Compositing Manager. This change (which I was aware of for quite some time) is in my opinion the right decision and like Sam I am glad to see development effort in Compiz increase and not Compiz becoming obsoleted by us and GNOME Shell. For us as KWin this brings great opportunities. Canonical is also aware of the driver regressions we run into our latest release. The hardware requirements for Unity are slightly higher than ours. Unity requires Framebuffer Objects (FBO), which we use in various effects (e.g. Blur). Canonical will set up a great testing environment to ensure that the quality of drivers does not regress. With KWin having a similar set of requirements chances are very good that we can profit from that effort. So at least for Kubuntu I am quite confident that 11.04 will be a great release for our users.
Apart from the collaboration on driver requirements the switch to Compiz will hopefully benefit us further. Canonical is really interested in improving the already good collaboration between KWin and Compiz further. Getting us exchanging more ideas and code will help us both and provide our user bases the best window management and compositing experience. The ideas of Canonical are very interesting and I am looking forward to see them happen. So great times are hopefully before us 🙂
One of the first areas we are going to collaborate is the future of window decorations. The idea of client side decorations is dead and we will work on improving what has be started at KDE with allowing the decorations to paint the background of the windows. This will hopefully result in a new theme specification which is finally worked out by the major window managers and cross desktop.
Apart from KWin/Unity I attended quite some Kubuntu sessions and I hope I could give some ideas and feedback to the developers. There is great stuff going on, but I keep that to other bloggers 🙂
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