Over the last few days I’ve been exploring the wonders of Beryl. You can read a bit about it on your own over at http://beryl-project.org. If you don’t feel like reading up on it, I can break it down like this; Beryl (which is a fork of Compiz) adds eye-candy and productivity features to your desktop. I’ve found a few handy features that will allow me to work faster and you just can’t beat all of the fancy-schmancy toys.
Sooo, I went to work early this morning (all excited) to install the latest Fedora on my machine. I did the base install for a workstation, installed the apps I use the most and then turned on the nifty desktop effects. It was far less impressive than it was last week (see FC6 First Impressions). After using Beryl on my Ubuntu machine, Compiz is just kinda lame. You get a subset of what is available in Beryl and Fedora didn’t include any way to manage Compiz themes (at least none that I could find).
Is that such a big deal? To me it is.
The Beryl settings manager allows you to tweak features to what feels like an infinite level. You can change default settings (which is good, the wavy menu thing was buggin’ me), disable the effects that annoy or make your system feel slow, and experiment with what makes your desktop experience better. Since I’m running it on an older/less powerful machine here at work I’m tweaking the settings so that things don’t feel so laggy.
Beryl’s Emerald theme manager has (as installed on Fedora) 39 themes available. More than enough to pick your favorite colors to get started with.
Compiz had neither of those nifty config apps and I couldn’t find a suitable substitute in Fedora’s repos. Time to install Beryl.
You’ll have to do a little manual labor to install Beryl on Fedora, the Fedora forum has this post that will make it easy to install. If you’re using FC6, you can skip way down to ” HOWTO : FEDORA CORE 6 – BERYL”, download each RPM to a directory, open a terminal session, change to the directory you downloaded the RPMs to, switch to the root account (su) and enter “rpm -ivh *”. Once all of the packages are installed you can follow the instructions for starting Beryl on the same forum post. Poof! You’re done!
Ahhhh, now the gotcha. Since you’re not installing from your standard package manager, you won’t find Puplet or Yum telling you that there are updated packages when new versions of Beryl are released. I’m hoping the author of the post will keep the RPMs updated but you can’t count on that. If it comes down to it, you could compile new releases yourself. If you’re anything like me, that thought could make you a little nervous (esp if you’ve failed to compile things on Fedora as many times as I have). I personally believe that the benefits outweigh the risk. I find Beryl to be a bit more stable than Fedora’s Compiz (which surprised me). Using Compiz I found my Gnome terminals crashing frequently and that hasn’t happened yet with Beryl.
Going back to my tweaking now.. I’ve found that disabling Trail Focus and shortening the animation durations have really improved the feel of things on this GX270