Xfce window manager now includes its own compositing manager

It tooks me a while and a lot of work to get the compositing manager working in xfwm4, the Xfce window manager (obligatory screenshot)

I’ve been asked why making a separate compositor rather than using X.org’s xcompmgr.

To make it short, because it makes perfectly sense. The compositor is like a WM on its own, it manages a stack of all windows, monitor all kinds on X event and reacts accordingly.

Having the compositing manager embedded in the window manager also helps keeping the various visual effects in sync with window events.

An RPM archive for fedora with compositor enabled is available here (source RPM here)

This package is to be used in place of the regular xfwm4 package from Xfce 4.2 RC2 available here

20 thoughts on “Xfce window manager now includes its own compositing manager

  1. thats awesome! is there a patch somewhere that I can apply to the source? I don’t use a rpm based distro, but I still want to give it a go.

  2. Cool! I’ve built XFCE4 from CVS today, enabled –enable-compositor but what to do next? The Window Manager settings dialogue is exactly the same as before? How to set the dropshadow and/or the transparency?


  3. *shame… I forgot to re-enable the RENDER and Composite extensions in xorg.conf. Dropshadows are present, transparancy not…

  4. hello
    I have problem compiling *-session_* – iceauth not find please check your X installtion !?

  5. Try adding /usr/X11R6/bin to $PATH.
    On a side note, what changes do I make to xorg.conf to enable the compositor? I did configure xfwm with –enable-compositor, but am unsure as to what changes to make to the xorg configuration file. (Is it in README or INSTALL?)

  6. You must have in your xorg.conf (xorg must be 6.8.x)

    Section “Extensions”
    Option “Composite” “Enable”
    Option “RENDER” “Enable”

  7. For information, xfwm4 compositor with a Matrox G550 video card is very usable, in terms of speed, up to a 1280×1024 resolution. Moreover, it’s much faster and less buggy than xcompmgr. There is an impressive difference, and I’m surprised. That’s a very good work, Olivier !

  8. Fantastic work – congratulations on somehow creating a desktop with good looks, small footprint, and great functionality!

    Incidentally, having written your own compositor, how much work would it be to add a Mac OS X -style “expose” feature?

    Anyhow, keep up the sterling work!

  9. Maybe this is obvious, but I found that xfwm4 would not compile with the compositor enabled until I installed the xorg 6.8.1 development (Slackware) package. After than it worked fine, except that now X runs super-slow. Anyone else experiencing slow performance?

  10. I’ve found that xfwm4 and the compositor work perfectly fine under Xorg-6.8.0 (lag-free), however under Xorg-6.8.1 it does run super-slow.

  11. Using the binary nvidia driver it is good to add Option “RenderAccel” “true” in the Device section. This brought X responsiveness back up to normal when using the compositor.

  12. You do *not* need
    Option “RENDER” “Enable”

    Render is always enabled. Know those antialiased fonts you’ve had for years? They’re done using the render extension.

  13. This is VERY GOOL. I installed Xorg 6.8.1 following Steve Smith’s instructions at http://incubator.vislab.usyd.edu.au/roller/page/Steve?catname=Debian, installed xfce4.2rc1 from debian packages and recompiled xfwm4 with –enable-compositor, and it works nicely. Much faster than Xorg xcompmgr.

    I have two wishlist items:

    1. since xfwm4 now is capable to turn transparency on/off easily on xfce-panel, I would guess that it’s not hard to enable transparency on any windows not having focus, and use different transparency (or disable it) on the active window.

    2. Make all/any menu transparent. Then it will look really nice (to me :)

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