Re: [As-users] Re: AfterStep 2.00.beta5 released

Wed, 8 Sep 2004 22:20:36 +0200

Le 2004-09-08 09:43 (mercredi), Sasha Vasko a =E9crit /
On 2004-09-08 09:43 (mercredi), Sasha Vasko wrote :
> M.-A. DARCHE wrote:
> >Le 2004-09-02 09:01 (jeudi), Sasha Vasko a crit /
> >Yes, when I switch to a desktop for the first time there is this
> >animated effect that draws the image from both top and bottom toward
> >the middle of the screen.
> >
> >I will be more precise this time, and provide numbers.
> >
> >Problem 1: too long loading
> >---------------------------
> >The first animated effect - image loading - takes very long on my
> >machine: 16 seconds (desktop background drawing), then 4 seconds (page=
> >and wharf background drawing) =3D 20 seconds. This is too long a time.
> What version of X and OS is that ?

XFree86 Version / X Window System
(protocol Version 11, revision 0, vendor release 6510)
Release Date: 21 December 2001
Build Operating System: Linux 2.4.17 i686 [ELF]=20
Module Loader present

Debian Woody 3.0

Linux 2.4.19 #4 SMP Sat Oct 5 19:42:23 CEST 2002 i686 unknown

processor       : 0
vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
cpu family      : 6
model           : 3
model name      : Pentium II (Klamath)
stepping        : 4
cpu MHz         : 300.690
cache size      : 512 KB

> This part relies havily on transfer of image contents from WM to X and=20
> it may be very slow on some configurations and over the wire. For=20
> example under Win NT and CYGWIN it is.

I easily believe that some transfers can be very slow over the wire, but
I'm not in this case.

The thing is that this lack of speed is a bit strange to old users of
AS, considering the AS 1.8.x was blazing fast.

> >Problem 2: not totally drawn backgrounds
> >----------------------------------------
> >This is clear that there is a cache building up. If I stop the process
> >of the first time image loading on a desktop, for example by switching
> >to another desktop, then when I come back to the previous desktop, the
> >image in the background is at the state it was - not totally drawn -
> >when I left it.
> Yes there is this problem, I'm unsure as to how to resolv this at that =


> >Problem 3: switching latency due to pager and wharf drawing
> >-----------------------------------------------------------
> >But I have to correct and precise what I wrote about desktop switching=
> >The desktop switching is fast in itself and the background image in th=
> >destination desktop is already there loaded - fine :-) - *but* during =
> >seconds the machine cpu load goes to top - that makes the window manag=
> >useless during this time - while it draws the background of the pager
> >and the transparent background of the wharf.
> Yes, it does requires a large amount of rendering to be done.


> >So there maybe 3 areas of improvement:
> >
> >  - First load of all image backgrounds could be made in a background
> >    thread no matter if the desktop was visited or not (there could be=
> >    limit to only 4 or 5 desktops). It solves problems 1 & 2.
> AfterStep's desktop limit is 10000 :). Besides such an approach will=20
> make startup very slow, no matter if its in background or in foreground=
> - X gets stalled anyways.

Too bad :-(

> The whole animation thig was an attempt to break the operation into
> bunch of smaller transfers, thus improving latency, and it works,

I was guessing something like that :-)

> but has a sideeffect of incompletely transferred backgrounds if you
> switch desktops midrun.


> >  - Pager and Wharf background could also be cached if they are
> >    described as transparent somewhere in the configuration. It solves
> >    problem 3.
> It will take an effort to implement.
> >  - Provide a theme with no transparency for Pager and Wharf.
> >    It solves problem 3.
> Thats a good idea, I'll look into it.

Yes, if a user configuration is not fast enough to handle those
rendering it could be better to make it possible to disable it, rather
than putting some more caching code. I don't want the AS code to be
messed up to implement something not useful :-( I was just trying to
give some design paths.

> If you need something to run on old, low end systems - you better
> stick to AfterSTep 1.8.11. It had very good optimized approach to
> resource handling.

OK, but I want to help AS development nevertheless :-)

> Unfortunately all the fancy rendering features in AS 2.0 come at a pric=
> - since rendering capabilities in X are still not nearly as close to=20
> what is needed - all the rendering has to be done in CPU on the client=20
> side, and then transferred to X. There are no other way around it.


X11R6.8 release that will soon be provided by
seems to bring many interesting features such as XComposite for true
transparency. Do you plan to have libAfterImage to be able to use it?

> There are still some tricks left to pull off to optimize on low end=20
> machines, but its very hard and make things complicated.

Again, having a clean code is also very important. Better provide means
to simply disable features (why not a afterstep --lowend option?) than
uglying code.

>  >>>Those 2 bugs are still hanging around since the first betas of AS 2=
> >>>- Commented "AutoTabThroughDesks" has not effect, window switching
> >>>  is always performed through all desks.
> That should be fixed now.

I'll try it ASAP and report it here :-) Thanks a lot.

Marc-Aur=E8le DARCHE  <>
Association Francophone des Utilisateurs de Linux/Logiciels Libres
French speaking Linux and Libre Software Users' Association
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