Some minutes ago I read the announcement about the newest Compiz release.
Seems to have some very nice improvements, like a as-good-as-possible fix for multi-head setups, and there is also support for multiple desktops now, but I’m a bit unsure what that is. There are also some new and also updated plugins – the changelog is quite short, have a look for yourself.
But while I read this announcement on the list I started thinking again about the “Beryl vs Compiz” discussion which started when Beryl finally forked away from Compiz. There was an interview with David Revemann, the man behind Compiz. Ted Haeger asked him several questions and tried to show David’s point of view while the media mostly covered the statement of the Beryl people.
The interview was quite interesting and covered quite some information I wasn’t aware of, like the fact that Compiz isn’t hardcoded against GNOME with its configuration done through gconf but has a plugin structure where you can exchange the GNOME stuff against some KDE stuff (or Xfce, or whatever you prefer).
But one of the things that wasn’t covered by the interview but I saw around very often as a reason for Beryl was the involvement of the community. One of the main reasons why Beryl was able to fork very successful and take over most of the Compiz users in one step was the fact that Beryl provided all that stuff a normal user needs: a forum, HowTos, fancy plugins in masses and a cool looking configuration tool. Sure, from a technical point of view this isn’t important, the second one might even be a bit dangerous stability-wise. But still, if you want users, feed the community!
And that’s what David and the Compiz team never did – that is a terrible mistake I think.
And today, when I read the announcement, I realized that nothing has changed. The Compiz team still didn’t learn a bit: if you announce a new version of your application, especially when it comes with some new features, you should send it to a place where normal users look at: a forum, a wiki or a blog. But not on only to an e-mail list for developers.
Its a bid sad somehow that the Compiz folk didn’t learn anything from the fork. If the distributions are going to switch over to Beryl than Compiz will be left with nothing – in case of Beryl there is a huge community which provides help how to set up Beryl for each distribution, providing help and all that stuff.
Compiz does not has anything comparable.
If I was at David’s place I would just launch a form, a wiki and a page to upload and rate new plugins – I think the community would form alone around that stuff. And as long as David would blog/post about his development and answer the most pressing questions once in a while everything would be fine. That’s not too hard…
Btw., talking about Beryl: after Fedora Extras included Beryl and the link from the Beryl wiki to my howto became obsolete and therefore was deleted the number of visitors of my blog dropped by more than 65 % … well, that’s life 😉