So, I've had a little column called Apps to Watch, on the right hand side of my blog for a while. Those are open source apps that are very useful, disruptors or apps necessary for desktop linux and that many people haven't heard of these. Since I've been a slacker at blogging recently, I figure one theme I can cover is to go over them and discuss or review them. Here's my current list:

And I guess I can even demote apps if I want. So to kick off the new year, I'm removing Kompose and putting Beryl in it's place. (I blogged about Kompose, apple and open source flattery over a year and a half ago. If I were to update the picture I created then, beryl would blow expose out of the water. I also blogged against xgl/compiz when development went in house of Novell. Looks like the community around beryl has shown the Novell did exactly the wrong thing....) (the below is a picture of the mineral beryl)

I've installed 0.1.4 as soon as it was in gentoo and to be frank I haven't noticed much of a difference from the previous version. I used it for two days and then went back to kwin. But I believe Beryl has a lot of potential and can be very useful in both making the desktop more usable and pretty. Even my mac loving brothers were impressed by the Zoom feature and the wobbly windows and cube desktops. Drawbacks for me are:

  • Snappiness (it degrades with the number of windows on the desktop. Noticeably)
  • KDE/desktop integration. Granted I haven't installed aquamarine, but the desktops in the pager are not in sync/updated with the beryl desktops (to beryl every desktop is the first one). (I also don't like how it puts all the applications from every window in the taskbar.)
  • The kompose like functionality isn't as useful as I thought it'd be. Perhaps since I'm a visual person, I know where every app is on each of the four desktops, so it is easier for me to click on the destop and the app then alt-tab through them.

It might seem that I'm negative on Beryl, but really I'm excited about it. And I think having plugins for it should make it all the more useful. One plugin that I'd like is to actually use expose like functionality at all times. Not sure how useful it would be, but I think I might like to try having your main window at 100% and the windows without focus shrinking down in size, using up the remaining real estate. Too bad I don't have more time in the day....