My space in the world

Code is poetry

Posted by Sayak
November - 19 - 2008

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 🙂

Present Windows

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:

Regular Grid:

Flexible grid:

Desktop Grid

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:

Flip switch, like in Windows Vista whit Aero enabled:

Cover switch, similar to coverflow, but with windows:

And, my favorite, present windows, like exposé, but using alt-tab:

The Legendary Wobbly Windows

Completely useless, but most people seem to love the effect, I personally dislike it:

Taskbar Thumbnails

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:

Dialog Parent

This plugin dims the window which has an open dialog, quite nice looking, and it can be useful:

Dim Inactive

Dim Screen for Administrator mode


Obviously is for zooming into your desktop, quite good for people with vision problems:


Zoom with a magnifier, it’s less intrusive than zoom, because you can still look at your full desktop, as zoom, it’s designed for people with vision problems:

Track mouse

Can’t you find the pointer? No problem, press ctrl + meta (windows key), I’m sure you’ll find those XD

Fall apart

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

Configuration Dialogs

As you will see, it’s quite simple and straight forward, however, if you pay attention to one of the screenshots (which in fact isn’t a kwin configuration dialog) you’ll see what I forgot to show in the Plasma article.

2 Responses to “Kwin Screenshots (with Composite)”

  1. rjohnson says:

    Cool.. I didn’t know it also had wobbly windows! This is as good as compiz imho..

  2. Hector says:

    Cool! Im search for a new window manager… 😀

Leave a Reply to rjohnson

About Me

A son, brother and friend. Enjoys scripting and making small bits of apps here and there. Wants to conquer the world (well, who doesnt). A geek who has an obsession for ponies. Loves acoustic and wants to play guitar sitting on the Hollywood hill one day!

A Word About KDE

KDE is a versatile software compilation for all platforms. It is an intuitive and powerful desktop environment that focuses on finding innovative solutions to old and new problems, and creating a vibrant, open atmosphere for experimentation.