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Red Hat offers Linux eye candy alternative

The next version of Red Hat's Fedora Linux will include software to give the operating system some of the eye candy of a rival Novell project--but it will use a less intrusive mechanism, advocates say

Novell's project is called Xgl, and Red Hat's alternative is AIGLX, short for Accelerated Indirect GL X. X refers to the Xorg software that handles graphics in most Unix and Linux computers, and GL to the OpenGL standard for 3D graphics.

"This is code that was done entirely upstream in concert with the rest of the X community. FC5 is the first distribution that will allow people to try it out," the Fedora wiki on the project said. "The end result is that you can use GL effects on your desktop with very few changes, the ability to turn it on and off at will, and you don't have to replace your X server in the process."

The wiki also has some criticisms for Xgl. "Xgl is a different X server. (AIGLX) is a more incremental change which is slated to become part of Xorg. We don't believe that replacing the entire X server is the right path, and that improving it incrementally is a better way to modernize it," the wiki said. In addition, AIGLX was developed in concert with many programmers, whereas "XGL spent the last few months of its development behind closed doors and was dropped on the community as a finished solution. Unfortunately, it wasn't peer reviewed during its development process, and its architecture doesn't sit well with a lot of people."

XGL lead programmer and Novell employee David Reveman took exception to that characterization in an e-mail sent to the Xorg mailing list Thursday.

"No architectural changes have been made during this period, just a lot of hard work implementing missing functionality, tracking down and fixing bugs in xgl and various other places in the X server tree. We didn't drop a finished solution, we dropped a much improved version, that's all," Reveman said.