Monday, 7 May 2007

Showcasing Beryl

You've probably heard about Beryl, or maybe you haven't, anyhow, you will learn the powers of Beryl today. Let's learn a little about Beryl: Beryl is an OpenGL accelerated desktop that seeks to provide a free, open source desktop experience to the Linux community that reflects the wishes of the users.

Basically, if you've dreamed to have a 3D desktop, or you've dreamed about some real snow on your desktop, after all, Christmas is almost here, then Beryl can do it. Above all else, the Beryl project seeks to listen to and respond to the requests of the user base.

Beryl History

Beryl is a combined window manager and composite manager written in C using OpenGL to provide acceleration. It is designed to be highly flexible, portable and extensible, all the while keeping in mind that the users know how they want their desktops to act better and the rather esoteric concept of the computer desktop is brought down to a more human level, allowing for a more native and intuitive understanding of your workspace.

OS X Expose Like Effect

With Beryl you can easily scale, find and switch between windows. Switching between windows using the scale effect is as easy as clicking on the thumbnail you want and Beryl will automatically pull up the selected window.

Live Window Previews

Beryl doesn’t just make a snapshot of the desktop when he scales the windows or when you rotate the cube as the windows are live previews. Movies continue to play, websites to update. By right clicking on any given window, it will be zoomed back to full size for closer inspection.

Drag and Drop Support

You can drag and drop documents from folder to folder very easy now. Just grab the document you wish to drag and drop, initiate scale with your mouse, and hover over the window you wish to drop it on. Easy...isn't it?

Improved Visual Identification

Does Beryl have a switcher plugin? Yes it does! It replaces the old boring icon based switcher, providing the user with live previews of their windows, auto-rotate the desktops and many more interesting features. Switching between many windows of the same app with Alt+Tab no longer requires reading the sometimes ambiguous window name. Also, the new switcher can be configured to dim all windows but the active one making your entire desktop your switcher.

Live in a 3D World

The human mind thinks very well in 3 dimensions, so why limit yourself to only two? Beryl can display your desktop as a cube, this way making it easier for you to organize it. The cube can be turned transparent to allow a user to see what is on the other side of the cube at all times. And now, with the help of a 3D World plugin, all windows can be set apart and you'll have an astonishing 3D world on your desktop.

Incredible windows effects and animations

Beryl will show you exactly where your windows are going when you minimize them with the help of the Animation plugins. Animations are also available for close, create, show, and window shading. It comes loaded with 10 different animations to choose from. You can have your windows simply fade in and out, or have them destroyed in a fiery inferno when they are closed.

It is all up to you, you can even have it randomly select an animation each time. And that's not all, because it also comes with several animations for window shading, from a simple role up, to an accordion style folding. Once again, it is all up to you.

Transparency, Saturation and Brightness Control

Can Beryl handle the transparency or the brightness of a window? You'll be amazed when you will right click on a windows titlebar, and from the given menu you can set up the transparency, brightness, and saturation of that window. The transparency can also be set easily just by holding the ALT button and scroll with the mouse wheel on a window.

Oh Noo, Did You Forget Your Reading Glasses?

Well, have no fear, Beryl's here! It can help you read the smallest text you've ever encounter, with the help of the Zoom plugin. Beryl offers a proportional zoom that allows users to interact with their desktop while zoomed. Simply press the Super key and with the mouse, scroll zoom in or out on your desktop.

Hey, it's winter and it's almost Christmas! Would you like some snow on your desktop?

No problem! Snow is here! A lot of snow, or just a little, you decide. With the brand new Snow plugin, Beryl can offer a winter touch to your Desktop.

Eliminate the Clutter

Beryl allows users to blur what is behind their windows effectively, removing hard lines that make reading difficult and it can also be used to blur what is behind your window titlebar if your decorations are transparent.

KDE, GNOME Window Decorations

Emerald: True Beryl Themes: - Emerald is a window decorator with minimal GTK requirements that enables fully transparent window decorations. It is one of the few window decorators that can be completely themed without ever touching an XML file.

Heliodor: Metacity Themes: - Heliodor provides exactly what the header suggests, metacity theme support. Heliodor is not yet feature complete but works on a basic level, and in the future, it will support basic transparency settings.

Aquamarine: KWin Themes: - Aquamarine provides support for KDE users who don’t want to give up their KWin theme. Featuring full KWin theme support as well as direct integration with KControl, users don't have to know the difference.


Well, it's a new world in computers out there and Beryl is the ultimate and the more powerful software when it comes to desktop effects. In the near feature, expect more and more new stuff from the Beryl project. New effects, the existing ones will be improved and if you think that Beryl doesn't have something that you need, you can ask for it or submit a suggestion/idea on the Beryl Forum.

Special thanks to all the people behind the Beryl project. You are an amazing team!

You can check out this video I've made with the 3D world effect! And you can also check YouTube! for more new videos of Beryl.

You can download Beryl now from Softpedia.

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