Sunday, March 19, 2006

XGL and Kororaa Live...

Xgl was created by Novell to make a point to the world. You don't need the muscle of Apple or infinite wealth of Microsoft to create a new groundbreaking 3D GUI (graphical user interface.) And after they created it they did two important things. First they made a demo movie of it running, that was so in demand that it crashed servers trying to host it. Next they released it to the world as one hell of a gift to the open source community. As of this writing, the only way I could get my hands on it was the Kororaa XGL Linux live CD. So without further delay.

Review: XGL and Kororaa Live

The first thing I noticed is the clean crisp looking Kororaa version of the Gnome environment. I tried opening a few windows and found they now have a certain snap to them. And they bend, as if against a current, when you move them. There are Multiple tranperancy and opacity settings for your windows making reading several windows at once a little easier. And at any time you can hit a keyboard shortcut that will spread and resize all windows so you can select the one you want quickly. Thumbnail images of movies now can play the movie within the thumbnail, and given a reasonable graphics processor you can play several dozen thumbnail movies at once in a single window. Aside from these productivity features and the general clean look of the XGL interface, the real showstopper comes when you change from one desktop to another. Your desktops are in reality the sides of a giant polygonal cube. You can hop from one desktop to another with the click of a button or by grabbing the desktop with the mouse pointer and giving it a twirl. You can stop on and edge and test the power of this new environment by putting a window running a movie on that edge. The movie will play just fine in a bent perspective at any size. The bottom line is that this really is fun. Kororaa seems to be an outstanding breed of Linux, and the XGL interface makes simple tasks fun again. The real power of the XGL interface will come when it is incorporated into its creators brand of Linux. SuSE enterprise will get it first from Novell followed by the next full version of Open SuSE.