Novell Open Audio 007

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Show Title

Xgl with David Reveman

Show Description

The amazing graphics of Xgl greatly advances the usability of the Linux desktop. David Reveman is the primary driving force behind Xgl.

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Xgl with David Reveman


The amazing graphics of Xgl greatly advances the usability of the Linux desktop. David Reveman is the primary driving force behind Xgl.

Other Fields

  • Year: 2006
  • Artist: Novell Open Audio
  • Album: Novell Open Audio
  • Composer: Novell
  • Genre: Podcast
  • Album Art: 300x300 NOA logo w/o text


Funny Little Men Behind the Curtain:

Yes, that's Ted Haeger in those videos. Ted got a lot of grief from Novell's Chief Marketing Officer John Dragoon for leaving his earings in the video. Said Ted, "What can I say? The 1990's affected me."

Rough Script Plan

rough script


  • For hot chat about sexy graphics on Linux, you know where ya gotta's Novell Open Audio!
    • This might get Ted reprimanded, so we'll probably tone this down.



  • Am I hot or not?
  • If your name is desktop Linux, then you just suddenly got a whole lot hotter.
  • Since it's announcement in February, the buzz of the Linux community has been about something called Xgl.
  • Xgl brings 3D graphics acceleration to the Linux desktop,
  • and the stunning visual effects that have resulted have made a lot of people suddenly sit up and reconsider their opinions on Linux as a desktop OS
  • Today on Novell Open Audio, we bring you David Reveman, the man behind bringing Xgl to life, all the way from Sweden.
  • David, along with Mattias Hopf in Novell's Nuremberg-based SUSE offices, have done something amazing:
  • they have given Linux "sex appeal."

BrainShare Blitz Survey

  • Before today's interview, let's quickly do a follow up on the BrainShare Blitz.
  • During Novell BrainShare, Novell Open Audio cranked out over 20 mini-episodes
  • We want to know what you thought of the stuff we made available.
  • On the homepage for this edition, you will find a link to a short survey.
  • Please take a couple minutes to fill it out. We'll use your feedback to adjust our coverage for BrainShare 2007, and maybe some other events.

UK LUG Tour Announcement

  • Let's take a quick commercial break...
  • You didn't see that statement coming, did you?
  • But seriously...let's take a quick commercial break...
  • Play UK LUG Tour "Fight to the Death" advert
  • Okay, so it wasn't much of a commericial.

Reveman Interview Prelude

  • I've been doing demos of Xgl for a couple months now.
  • Recently, I was at the FOSE conference in Washington DC helping out, a federation of Linux User Groups in the mid-Atlantic.
  • Several people who saw the desktop demos I was doing commented that they had just come from Microsoft's gigantic booth
  • and they said that the Windows Vista demos paled in comparison to what we were showing on Linux
  • How cool is that, to have people saying that Linux is visually more appealing than Windows?

So, let's find out more about Xgl...welcome David Reveman...


Preliminary questions for David:

  • David, let's start with getting an idea of what OpenGL is and what Xgl is, okay?
  • Xgl is a replacement to the regular X server, right? Why was a whole replacement needed in order to get at OpenGL?
  • Xgl is what everyone talks about, but there's more to it than just the new X server, right? What are the pieces that make this stuff come together? (Allow David to explain Xgl v. Compiz.)
  • What got you into this? I mean, certainly a lot of people knew that X was wanting this, and there have been some parallel efforts, but what brought you to wanting to work on this?
    • And maybe we should ask how you ended up working at Novell, too.
  • Let's talk for a minute about GNOME and KDE as they relate to XGL. There are strong factions for either one at Novell, and we have developers working on both desktops. The first Compiz-enabled window decorator produced was for GNOME. What can people who prefer KDE look forward to?
  • As far as the current state of the project...what are some of the things that have yet to be done? Like, I notice certain window types lack decorations, and can only be dragged by using the mouse along with the Alt key. Is that kind of thing the main thrust of your current work?
  • You made the Compiz part modular, right? So new plugins can be added in, right?
  • Some of these effects had to be a lot of fun to create. I know that you're pretty busy getting Xgl/Compiz ready for the release of SLED10. What plug-in ideas do you have that you just have not had the time to create yet?
  • How hard is it for someone to start making their own pet plugins for Compiz?
  • How about community involvement in general...there was a bit of controversy over you taking Xgl development into your own back rooms for a while. I don't want to re-hash all that. Instead, what kind of involvement is happening now? Are you getting many interesting or helpful code contributions? Are any other OSS/Linux companies getting involved in Xgl's development?
  • Xgl in SLED10 will be a huge opus for you and Mattias. What's next? Where do you want to take this effort after SLED10 comes out?

Three Tough Questions

David Nielsen asks all three questions...

  1. Will we see more usability-focused compiz work in the near future and how can I as a user help the project out?
  2. In my humble understanding of XGL it's "just" a GL layer on top of the age old X server, meaning we still have the same problems with bad drivers and messy code underneath. Do you think there's a real need to rework to have XGL (or XGL-like technology) be stable for most users, as Zack Rusin (of KDE and fame) suggested in a recent Linux Link Tech Show interview?
  3. how are you working with Red Hat and their AIGLX project and could you go into a bit of detail on both approaches?


  • That's it for Xgl with David Reveman
  • If you want more information on Xgl, including how to implement it on SUSE Linux, check out the links for this show at
  • While you're there, remember to take the BrainShare Blitz survey
  • and also, rate this edition, and leave comments,
  • each of which i personally read...
  • and by the way, some of you could be a little more constructive...
  • For example, a couple people have let me know that I'm a marketing hack...
  • That doesn't give me much to go on for improving the overall program
  • (aside) it just causes me to lose sleep...and wonder things like: if I look in a mirror, will I still have a reflection?...have I become susceptible to garlic...and whether my next meal will featurer cerebral cortex
  • Novell Open Audio is brought to you by Novell and Novell Users International.
  • Our program plans are guided by our listeners
  • As always, you can reach us from a by email, or telephone, and (someday) by Skype.
  • Our website at will tell you how.
  • Thanks for listening!