IS Department

XGL and Beryl on Kubuntu Edgy

Posted in Uncategorized by Kevin Colyar on December 1, 2006

After watching all the cool videos about GLX and Beryl (see below), I decided to give it a shot and see if my older home machine could handle this fancy stuff, and to my suprise the Beryl window manager is actually faster and more responsive than the default KWin manager. Which makes sense since I still have a fairly decent graphics card.

A little background, XGL is an open source X server manager that uses your graphics card’s 3D acceleration and OpenGL to render “windows” of a desktop environment such as KDE, Gnome, Blackbox, and others. Beryl, a fork of Compiz, is the window manager which handles the all the user interaction (moving, sizeing, minimizing, maximizing, etc.) with the windows. Beryl also provides all sorts of cool effects and eye candy that can be applied to the windows, such as displaying vitual desktops on the faces of a cube, providing realtime views of all windows (including video), and glassy transparency blending.

Some more videos to see XGL and Beryl in action:

Read on for step by step installation…

My Hardware: 1.4 AMD Athlon, 512 MB RAM, 64 MB Nvidia GeForce3
OS: Kubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft)

Instructions (Followed these similar ones)

Add Repositories to /etc/apt/sources.list
deb edgy main-edgy
deb edgy main-edgy

Download public Keys for repositories:
$ sudo wget -O – | sudo apt-key add –
$ sudo wget -O – | sudo apt-key add –

Install Packages:
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install xserver-xgl libgl1-mesa xserver-xorg libglitz-glx1 beryl emerald-themes

Create a New Session File /usr/bin/ Containing the Following:

Xgl -fullscreen :1 -ac -accel glx:pbuffer -accel xv:pbuffer & sleep 2 && DISPLAY=:1
# ATI Card (I have not tested. See posts below.)
# Xgl :1 -fullscreen -ac -accel xv -accel glx:pbuffer &
# Gnome:
#exec gnome-session
# KDE:
exec startkde

Make Script Executable
$ sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/

Create Session File /usr/share/xsessions/xgl.desktop Containing the Following:

[Desktop Entry]

Create a Symbolic Link to Make beryl-manager Start at Login:
$ ln -s /usr/bin/beryl-manager ~/.kde/Autostart/beryl-manager

Logout, Then Login Choosing Your Newly Created XGL Session. Done.

Some Keyboard Shortcuts:

  • Switch windows = Alt + Tab
  • Arrange and View All Windows = Pause Key
  • Switch desktops on cube = Ctrl + Alt + Left/Right Arrow
  • Switch desktops on cube – with active window following = Ctrl + Shift + Alt + Left/Right Arrow
  • Rotate cube manually = Ctrl + Alt + left-click and grab an empty desktopspace.
  • Make window translucent/opaque = possible with the “transset” utility or Alt + wheel mouse
  • Zoom-in once = Super-key right-click
  • Zoom-in manually = Super-key + wheel mouse up
  • Zoom-out manually = Super-key + wheel mouse down
  • Move window = Alt + left-click
  • Snap Move window (will stick to borders) = Ctrl + Shift + left-click
  • Resize window = Alt + right-click
  • Bring up the window below the top window = Alt + middle-click
  • Slow-motion = Shift + F10
  • Water = hold Ctrl+Super key
  • Rain = Shift-F9

*Super key = Windows key

BUG: My super key wasn’t working
FIX: Add
Option “XkbOptions” “altwin:super_win”
to the keyboard input section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf

7 Responses to 'XGL and Beryl on Kubuntu Edgy'

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  1. ingo said,


    at last a proper howto for kubuntu edgy! And quite a novel approach, too. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me (GeForce 5200). I still have no window edges and my 3D capability was gone with X becoming quite sluggish…

    I then looked at the link you provided and noticed that you left out this

    9. Set “beryl-manager” and “beryl-xgl” to start automatically
    a. System > Preferences > Sessions > Startup Programs Then add these three entries:
    (1) xmodmap /usr/share/xmodmap/
    (2) beryl-manager
    (3) beryl-xgl

    Hm, how to do that in KDE???

    Any advice is most welcome!



  2. Kevin Colyar said,

    In KDE you can setup auto start programs by creating links in your ~/.kde/Autostart directory. For example:

    $ ln -s /usr/bin/beryl-manager ~/.kde/Autostart/beryl-manager

    I would recommend creating a “beryl startup script” like the following to kill any existing beryl managers (I was getting multiple instancing when logging in and out), start beryl, and any other beryl related functions.

    # Kill any existing beryl managers
    skill beryl-manager

    # Start the beryl manager

    Thanks for the feedback. I’ll update the instructions. Hope that helps.


  3. Haas said,

    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for the brilliant how to post. It saved me a lot of trouble and worked like a charm. 2 things I wanted to say:

    1. In your how to you have not explained what to do with ATI cards. Beryl will work with ATI cards by replacing
    Xgl -fullscreen :1 -ac -accel glx:pbuffer -accel xv:pbuffer & sleep 2 && DISPLAY=:1 with
    Xgl :1 -fullscreen -ac -accel xv -accel glx:pbuffer & in /usr/bin/

    2. Beryl looks simply awe inspiring but for some reason when it runs it does not allow access to my AmaroK hot keys(win key combos) once its running. It works fine with default KDE sessions. If you can tell us how to get that working it will be really good help thanks 🙂

  4. Kevin Colyar said,

    Thanks Haas. I updated the instructions with your changes. My hot keys are working fine with AmaroK. Did you see my bug fix at the end of my post regarding the Super Key (Windows Key)?

    *Super key = Windows key

    BUG: My super key wasn’t working
    FIX: Add
    Option “XkbOptions” “altwin:super_win”
    to the keyboard input section in /etc/X11/xorg.conf


  5. Haas said,

    Got it working thanks 🙂
    I had assumed that Win key setting was to enable it as a superkey for Beryl.

  6. […] to disable the Windows key (which I use for most of my short cuts) and the alt gr key. Thanks to Kevin Colyar and josteinaj for pointing out that there are XkbOptions and the .Xmodmap file to improve that dire […]

  7. xeniter said,

    xgl sources wasnt available as i tested it

    here are new sources:

    deb edgy main
    wget -O- | sudo apt-key add –

    xgl rulez, vista wow effect is nothing againt it

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