KDE 3.5.x had an option for enabling composite called kcompmgr (which was a modified version of xcompmgr), it had basic functionality like transparency and fading, but nothing else, and it wasn’t exactly fast.
Then Compiz came, originally designed by Novell along with XGL, but, even if it can be used with KDE, it obviously was designed with GNOME in mind.
The KDE developers wanted eye-candy composite for they KDE 4 series, so they had 3 options, writing a whole new window manager, use compiz or improving kwin, they took the last one.
That way KDE didn’t lose any advance window management feature and won 3D window management full of eye candy and some useful features
Lets star by one of the useful plugins, originally designed by apple, it has 3 pesent modes:
Natural, it tries to preserve the size relationship between the different windows:
For presenting all the workspaces in a grid in order to make arrangement of windows easier:
The Legendary Cube
Compiz became famous with this, I don’t think it’s exactly useful per se, but it makes easier for newbies to understand the concept of virtual desktops (tough it don’t truly work that way XD), the point is that it looks good, and mixed with the desktop grid can be useful:
Switch (Alt + Tab)
Kwin has 4 different options for switching between windows, that said, you can assign key strokes for each one, so if you desire it, you can use all of them
Box switch, the most common way of rolling trough windows:
Completely useless, but most people seem to love the effect, I personally dislike it:
On hover shows a miniature of the window:
I found shadows to be one of the most useful effects, and it looks good too, as you will see in the following screenshot, the focus window has a different shadow, a pretty nice looking blue shadow:
This plugin dims the window which has an open dialog, quite nice looking, and it can be useful:
Obviously is for zooming into your desktop, quite good for people with vision problems:
Can’t you find the pointer? No problem, press ctrl + meta (windows key), I’m sure you’ll find those XD
When you close a window it explodes, personally I find this effect to be ugly, and annoying too, but for those who may like it here the mandatory screenshot:
There are several animation which I can’t show in screenshots, since my graphic card won’t resist recording such a thing XD, so I’ll just mention them:
- Slide: Animate the change between desktops.
- Minimize animation: Animate the minimizing of windows.
- Scale in: Animate the appearing windows
- Login: Smoothly fade to the desktop when logging in
- Logout: Desaturate the desktop when displaying the logout dialog
- Plasma transparency (dialogs, panels, dashboard, plasmoids) when Kwin 3D effects are on