Yesterday, the Ubuntu Technical Board voted for shipping Ubuntu 7.10 (“Gutsy”) with Compiz enabled by default. There were some difficulties in taking this decision, since the Technical Board had to determine if it’s reliable and fully functional.
The compositing window manager Compiz includes a number of sophisticated visual effects as transparency, desktop zooming, shadows etc. The inclusion of a compositing window manager was planned at first for Ubuntu 7.04, but it was delayed because the software wasn’t developed enough.
Although Compiz will be enabled by default, there are still some technical problems that need fixing, such as drivers that don’t meet the requirements of all the visual effects. These are the most serious problems that appear when running Compiz, but there are some related to the underlying components of Xorg. One of the best known issues is that which affects the Intel drivers, problem that can only be solved by using the EXA accelerated rendering framework which isn’t completed yet. It seems that Intel are working at a slow pace, because they consider that composite window managers won’t be ready for rolling out until the EXA framework is stable enough.
The EXA problem could be fixed, but most of the Xorg developers are focusing on more critical issues, considering that this is a low priority for the X community. Technical Board member Matthew Garrett said: “
The general feeling in the X community is pretty much that Compiz is not of high quality…The technical aspects of a composited desktop are interesting, but there are more fundamental issues that people want to fix first. People want to get X up to the Win2K level before trying to match Vista.
The Ubuntu Technical Board also thought about the users’ feedback, and how they would respond to their decisions. When the voting was made, all the participants voted in favor of the inclusion, the only one against it being Garrett, who wanted to fix the critical problems before including Compiz in the Ubuntu 7.10 edition.