Thursday, May 04, 2006

XGL on Linux

XGL on Linux is pretty flashy.  After I finally got it working, I found out that I did not know the commands to use.  In the event that someone is trying to find them, I just made it a little easier to find them.  

These instructions are for SuSE 10.1, which is still at the release-candidate stage.  I am using XGL on RR4, and I find that there are some differences.  For example, I cannot rotate the cube by moving the cursor to the edge of the screen;  I have to use the keyboard shortcuts.  I also find that it is the F-12 key, not the F-11 key, that actuates the scale mode for switching windows.  

Is any of this really useful?  It is hard to say, because sometimes utility is not obvious at first.  I do like the scale mode, and find it useful when I have a lot of open windows.  I also think the zoom mode will turn out to be useful.  Some of the other features might just be eye candy.  On the other hand, different user interfaces are good for different people.  If a particular interface is a good fit for your particular style of intuition, then it will be easy for you to use.

The following table is from SuSE's site, here.

XGL Shortcuts

Some of the features of XGL are executed when you perform certain functions. Mostly, this is some kind of key combination on your keyboard in addition to some button press and/or movement of your mouse. Below, I have provided a table with the different XGL options and how to execute each one.

Window Operations
Move Window ALT + Left-Click and Drag
Move Window - Snap to screen CTRL + ALT + Left-Click and Drag
Resize Window ALT + Right-Click and Drag
Switch Windows ALT + TAB
Switch Windows (Scale Mode) F11
Wobbly Windows Left-Click Window and Drag
Translucency ALT + Mouse Up / Mouse Down
Rotate Cube - Next Desktop CTRL + ALT + Left or Right Arrow
Rotate Cube - Next Desktop Move Mouse cursor to extreme edge of desktop
Rotate Cube - Take Active Window CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + Left or Right Arrow
Manually Rotate Cube CTRL + SHIFT + Left-Click on Desktop and Drag
Zoom Once Super-Key (Windows Key)
Zoom In Manually Mouse Wheel Scroll Up + Super-Key (Windows Key)
Zoom Out Manually Mouse Wheel Scroll Down + Super-Key (Windows Key)

Addendum: it turns out that on my instance of Suse 10.1, the scale mode is not activated by pressing F11. Instead, it is activated by moving the mouse cursor to the upper right-hand corner of the screen. That is actually a better arrangement, in my opinion. Also, I noticed that pressing control-alt down-arrow shows a triptych with a minature version of the current cube facet, flanked by minature versions of the two flanking facets.

Also, if you simply move the mouse cursor to the edge of the screen, nothing happens. You do not get the cube to rotate that way. But if you click on a window and drag it toward either the left or right edge, the cube rotates, and the window you are dragging slides over the next facet.

Please leave a comment if you know of any other XGL function that is not listed here.