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Ubuntu Linux - Frequently Asked Questions
I thought you'd never ask! This desktop interface is called Beryl. It is the half-brother of another window manager known by the name "Compiz". Beryl is related to Compiz, being born by the same group of programmers, but then forking away to take development in a different direction. The two groups recently announced intentions of joining back into one and continuing as a single group (see Compiz Fusion). This will result in a combination of the best of both worlds. Beryl, while rich with a LOT of special effects and features, does not run quite as smoothly as Compiz but is still very fast (see video to the left). Compiz, on the other hand, is somewhat minimal on the features but this will change soon and is included by default with Ubuntu Linux 7.04, no tricky installation required.
In order to run Compiz or Beryl, you have to have a supported 3D graphics accelerator installed in your computer. Supported brands include nVidia, ATI and Intel. A complete listing of compatible video cards can be found here. It does not take a fast machine to render this desktop. Beryl will run quite smoothly even on old hardware, as the graphics card handles the responsibility of rendering the cube and any special effect, freeing the CPU and keeping the system running strong. According to the Beryl FAQ, Beryl runs acceptably well on a GeForce 3/Intel i855/Radeon 7500, 256MB of RAM, and a 1.2GHz processor. The cost of upgrading your video card to meet these requirements starts at about twenty-five to thirty dollars.
Beryl is technically considered beta software, so the preferred method of installation varies from PC to PC (strongly dependent on the type of video card you have). You can reference to this guide to help you get things installed correctly. If you have problems installing beryl, e-mail Dave and he'll be glad to help you out.
If you have a question about Ubuntu Linux that you would like to see answered here, please e-mail Dave with your question. Any opinions expressed in this FAQ are the sole opinions of the original author. All registered trademarks mentioned in this text are the property of their respective owners and are hereby acknowledged.