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Beryl logo
Screenshot of Fedora Core 6 using Beryl
Developer(s) QuinnStorm, iXce and others
Initial release ?
Stable release 0.2.1  (2007-03-18; 2 years ago) [+/−]
Preview release N/A [+/−]
Written in almost entirely written in C, frontends can be written in C or python.
Operating system Unix-like
Available in English
Type Compositing window manager
License GPL

Beryl was a compositing window manager for the X Window System which forked from Compiz in September 2006 and was re-merged in 2007[1], under the name of Compiz Fusion.



Beryl was the project name for the Quinnstorm branch of Compiz, announced on 19 September 2006 after Quinnstorm and the development team decided that the fork had come too far from the original Compiz started by Novell (compiz-vanilla). After the Novell XGL/Compiz team (mostly David Reveman) refused the proposition to merge the Quinnstorm changes with compiz-vanilla, the decision was made to make a real differentiation.[2][3] In 2007, they remerged into Compiz-Fusion.


Notable differences between Compiz and Beryl were the following:

  • The window decorator, formerly known as cgwd, was renamed emerald. A cgwd theme could be ported to emerald by changing the extension from .cgwd to .emerald.
  • Beryl used a flat file backend instead of gconf, no GNOME dependency.
  • Initially had a large variety of extra plugins, and enhanced features in other plugins, later however most of the functionality had been ported to the compiz-extra package[4][5]
  • Contained three themeable decorators: Emerald, Heliodor, and Aquamarine.
  • It had a theme manager called emerald-theme-manager.
  • Created by the community at Beryl Project Forums.

Window decorators

"Wobbly Windows" made windows move like jelly

Like Compiz and unlike traditional window managers, Beryl delegated the drawing of window borders to a separate process, called a window decorator. There were three of them, all named after varieties of beryl, although only Emerald was considered stable.

  • Emerald, the default window decorator and a continuation of cgwd, had its own theme format and supported effects like alpha transparency, a fork of Compiz's gtk-window-decorator.
  • Heliodor, another fork of Compiz's gtk-window-decorator, supported Metacity themes.
  • Aquamarine supported KWin themes.

System requirements

According to the Beryl FAQ, Beryl ran acceptably well on a GeForce 3/Intel i855/Radeon 7500, 256MB of RAM, and a 1.2GHz processor, although the processor is not a strong requirement. Version 7.1 of Xorg and a recent version of Mesa 3D was recommended. [1]


Included in the 0.1.4 release were the following plugins. As of the 0.1.4 release plugins were sorted into groups. Also introduced in 0.1.4 was a new plugin configuration interface that was more intuitive. Plugins were sorted into groups and the actual options for each plugin were also sorted more intuitively.

Beryl using "Glass" window borders.
  • General Options: Configure general core settings (Rendering options, basic window manager settings, etc.)
  • Accessibility: Plugins that provide accessibility features
    • Input Enabled Zoom: Zoom accessibility tool with keyboard and mouse input capabilities
    • Negative: Can turn the whole screen or single windows negative
    • Opacify: Made windows easily visible when mouse is hovering over them
    • Zoom Desktop: Older version of Input Enabled Zoom without the option for mouse or keyboard input
  • Desktop: Plugins related to the desktop in general
    • Clone Output: Output clone handler
    • Desktop Cube: Represent multi-desktop workspaces as a cube
    • Desktop Plane: Represent multi-desktop workspaces as a flat plane
    • Rotate Cube: Added ability to rotate the multi-desktop cube
    • Fade to Desktop: Hide all windows with a smooth fade
    • Show Desktop: Hide all windows through use of a hotkey
  • Development: Plugins that are generally only useful for developers
    • Crash Handler: Launch a fall-back window manager if Beryl crashes
  • Image Format: Plugins to providing support for loading and saving various image formats
    • PNG: PNG image loader
    • SVG: SVG image loader
    • JPEG: JPEG image loader
    • Text: Text based image loader
  • Extras: Plugins with little utility
    • Annotate: Allow the user to draw on the screen
    • Benchmark: Simple performance measurement utility
    • D-Bus: Allow effects to be controlled via D-Bus commands
    • Screenshot: Allow the user to take a screen shot
    • Snow: Turn your desktop into a blizzard
    • Splash: Show a splash screen on startup
    • Water Effect: Create rain on the screen and other water effects
    • Window Previews: Create live previews of windows when the mouse hovers over their window list entry
  • Visual Effects: Plugins to provide visual effects
    • 3D Effects: When rotating the desktop cube windows are stacked in 3D space representing their depth
    • Animations: Animates windows at different times (minimization, closing, opening, etc.)
    • Blur Effects: Blurring of transparent windows and motion blur effects
    • Fading Windows: Fade windows on creation and destruction
    • Trailfocus: Windows fade out based on inactivity
    • Window Decorations: Draw window borders
    • Wobbly Windows: Make windows move like Jelly
  • Window Management: Plugins that provide window management related functionality
    • Application Switcher: Similar to MS Windows alt-tab window switching
    • Group and Tab Windows: Enable logical grouping of windows into tabs with live previews
    • Move Window: Basic moving of window ability
    • Place Windows: Locates windows in an appropriate position when created
    • Put: Move windows around the screen and desktops through shortcut keys
    • Resize Window: Basic window resizing ability
    • Ring Window Switcher: Enable a wheel style window switcher through shortcut keys
    • Scale: Similar to the Exposé window selector
    • Snapping Windows: Enable window snapping and edge resistance without the wobbly plugin
    • Set Window Attribs by Various Criteria: Allow setting attributes of windows permanently based on program name, window class or window title. (e.g.: c:konsole:80 on the "Window Opacity" control would set the opacity of all instances of Konsole to 80%)
    • Tile: Used to tile windows with keyboard shortcuts


The first official release of the project (Version 0.1.0) along with Emerald and Beryl-manager came on 29 September 2006. The second 'stable' release (Version 0.2.0) came on 15 March 2007[6], shortly followed by an almost identical Version 0.2.1, the only changes being to update licensing and where the source code was stored[7].

Beryl-Compiz merge

As of March 30, 2007, Beryl and Compiz have decided to merge their projects back into one[8]. The Beryl project has been shut down in favor of the new merged project Compiz Fusion[9]; its main activities will be focused on installation, configuration and additional plugins for addition to the core functionalities of Compiz, which will be responsible for core and base plugins.

See also


External links



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