[ubuntu-art] Transparency

Matthew Nuzum newz at bearfruit.org
Wed Aug 13 17:02:01 BST 2008

On Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 9:42 AM, Matthew Nuzum <newz at bearfruit.org> wrote:
> What Vista does is the only thing we can think of that works -
> duplicate the text, using a contrasting color and put a heavy blur on
> the background text. This produces very readable results.
> Unfortunately, last time we discussed this, which was around Hardy's
> UDS (last November) and it wasn't yet possible.
> MacSlow said someone was working on patches to do this but I haven't
> heard anything about it since then.
> Its not that no one wants transparency, its just that it hasn't been
> technically possible to do it in a usable way yet. I'll ping MacSlow
> again to see if there's been any change.

I've probably mis-remembered the original conversation... I spoke with
him and he didn't refer to any kind of window decorator but he has
done such a thing using cairo and has made the code available to
others. Here's a video showing the effect which is exactly what is

He implied the code is quite simple and asked if I wanted the code
with an example of its usage. I suggested he blog about it and he
agreed that would be a good idea, so check his blog if you want it.

I personally have no qualms about taking ideas from other OSs if
they're good... Vista and Mac OS both take ideas from Linux. And I
think having the ability to create a theme with full transparency
would look slick.

Here's a transcript from our chat (re-ordered slightly for readability):

newz2000: Last November I think you mentioned that there was talk or
work being done on allowing blurred text in the title of a window, do
you know if this is now possible?
newz2000: the goal being to have vista-like title bar transparency
without loosing text readability
newz2000: for example: http://code.bearfruit.org/~matt/tmp/glass2.jpg
- see the subtle white blur around the words in the title bar
MacSlow: isn't there something like this already in compiz?
newz2000: if so, I don't know about it
newz2000: but there wasn't a year ago. :-)
MacSlow: well if not... I've written a gaussian-blur function for
cairo's image-surfaces to allow blurring without the need for any
newz2000: is this something theme authors could use?
MacSlow: I'm unsure how it's done in the compiz decorator called emerald
MacSlow: hm... maybe... if the areas are not too big and the blurr has
only to happen once... it's purely CPU-driven
MacSlow: I've written that for this ->
MacSlow: but never got around to properly publish this
newz2000: yes, that looks good
newz2000: I heard recently, though not from a reliable source, that
emerald was deprecated, do you know if this is true?
MacSlow: yeah... the window-decorators in compiz breed and die fast
these days ;)
MacSlow: I can send you the funtion with a simple "how to use"-example
this evening, if that's fast enough for you
newz2000: I'm in no rush, and I'm not sure I'm even qualified to do it...
newz2000: do you have a blog or something?
newz2000: if so, maybe if you posted it there I could forward the link
on to the interested people?
newz2000: oh, looks like you've posted it already
MacSlow: the code itself I've not posted yet
MacSlow: what's it inteded for anyway?
newz2000: theme creation on the art-team mailing list
MacSlow: is this something kwwii (Ken) considers for the dark
newz2000: I don't know about Ken, but a community theme contributor
has mentioned it
MacSlow: hm... I think a general post about the gaussian-blur function
would be the most convenient way to give it to the public is to post
it via a blog-entry... thus community any anybody else interested can
pick it up if they like

Matthew Nuzum
newz2000 on freenode

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