Tuesday, November 6

Configuring Beryl

Beryl in real life!
Warning: Beryl is not completely stable as it is a beta. It is prone to breaking. Do not expect it to work perfectly from these instructions. This guide was also produced using techno wizah's blog as a reference (among many other pages).

Beryl was surprisingly difficult to setup. I mentioned earlier that I would try to compile from source but I just did not have the patience to see if there is a speed difference between the two. However, once Beryl was up and running, I was impressed by all of the neat features and widgets available in the standard GUI. While using Windows, I had purchased Window blinds to make the desktop look a little nicer. Beryl far exceeded what Window blinds could achieve and was also less resource hungry (10% vs. 30% cpu power).

To get Beryl to load, I had to adjust my xorg.conf to allow it to run Xcomposite as well as rgbl visuals (I honestly don't know what an rgbl visual is, but it seemed to be necessary for it to run). First I made a backup copy of my xorg.conf to recover my system once I crashed the graphics drivers (Playing around with options in here will often break xorg so you need a baseline to go back to):

>sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf ~/Desktop

Now that I had a backup, it was time to set this thing up to support some extra video modes. To do this, I had to manually go into the xorg.conf and add the following (Note: Adding these has been verified to work with the nVidia 8600M GT. No other card was tested during this install so YMMV):

>sudo vim /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Under the Section "Devices", I added the following lines:

>Option "XAANoOffscreenPixmaps" "True"
>Option "TripleBuffer" "True"
>Option "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "True"

Under the Section "ServerLayout", I added this:

>Option "AIGLX" "True"

Under the Sections "Module", I added this:

>Load "dbe"

Under the Section "Screen", I added these line (Note: AllowGLXWithComposite will be in here already if you followed the guide for setting up Steam):

>DefaultDepth 24
>Option "AllowGLXWithComposite" "True"

Then at the very bottom, I added this Section:

>Section "Extensions"
> Option "Composite" "Enable"

I saved and quit and restart GDM by using the age old CTRL+ALT+Backspace trick. Now my video should support Beryl when it is installed.

The next thing to do was to actually install Beryl. Again, I decided not to build from source because I have better things to do with my time rather then search for dependencies and wait for each section to compile. If you have that time (or you enjoy doing those things), you can grab the tarballs here. In my case, I opened up my repository sources:

>sudo vim /etc/apt/sources.list

Then added the following (Note: The sources are for Debian Etch, not Lenny or sid. This could potentially cause some conflicts but I have not seen any since I just installed it):

>deb http://debian.beryl-project.org/ etch main
>deb-src http://debian.beryl-project.org/ etch main

I added it to the trusted repository list by entering the following:

>wget http://debian.beryl-project.org/root@lupine.me.uk.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add -

Then I updated them:

>sudo apt-get update

Then I grabbed beryl and some themes:

>sudo apt-get install beryl emerald-themes

This should get Beryl and all of it's dependencies from the repository. Now I launched Beryl:


That did it. I adjusted the settings in GDM by going into Applications>System Tools>Beryl Manager or Beryl Settings Manager.

Installing Beryl with the binary nVidia drivers proved to be a pain in the ass. While this tutorial may seem simple and trivial, it took a lot of research to find out how to add the extension to the xorg.conf. When I didn't add it, Beryl failed to load citing Xcomposite could not be found. If you are still having trouble setting up Beryl, there are a variety of tutorials available from the Ubuntu people. If you are looking for other xorg.conf hacks or a more in depth tutorial, check out techno wizah's post about setting up Beryl. Not all of it is necessary, but he explains what is going on far more in depth then I went.

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