Metacity as a compositing manager

Christopher James Halse Rogers chalserogers at
Mon Feb 9 23:03:04 UTC 2009

On Mon, 2009-02-09 at 14:10 -0500, Danny Piccirillo wrote:
> Would it be a good idea to plan to use Metacity as the default
> compositing manager for Ubuntu instead of compiz in the future? 
> Compiz seems mostly unnecessary. If metacity was used, it would be
> easier on the machine and work for people who don't have the hardware
> for compiz. Anyone who wants all the exra effects can still install
> compiz, but for almost everyone, shouldn't metacity be fine? 

There are two problems here: the first is that Metacity's compositor is
_slower_ and more CPU intensive than Compiz for people with decent 3d
drivers (particularly nvidia users - the blob is great at 3d, not so
good at 2d).  For example, the alt-tab provided by Metacity's compositor
is significantly slower than Compiz's, at least for me.

The second is that Metacity's compositor is in no way feature-comparable
with Compiz.  I believe the 'scale' plugin is enabled in our default
compiz setup; this gives exposé-like functionality which is not provided
by Metacity, and is a _huge_ usability win.

The characterisation of Compiz as just about shiny effects is wrong.
The default plugin set also provides a better _window manager_ than
Metacity in many ways.
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