Beryl was a fork of the Compiz project, started by David Reveman of Novell. It was an OpenGL accelerated desktop that seeked to provide a free, open source desktop experience to the community that reflected the wishes of the users. Above all else, the project aimed for listening to and responding to the requests of the user base.
Strictly speaking Beryl was a combined window and composite manager written in C using OpenGL to provide acceleration. It was designed to be highly flexible, extensible, and portable, all the while keeping in mind that the users kneew how they want their desktops to act better than we did. With Beryl the rather esoteric concept of the computer desktop was brought down to a more human level, allowing for a more native and intuitive understanding of your workspace.
Regarding Beryl’s history it has to be taken into consideration that Beryl Project forked from Compiz in September 2006. A year later, strictly speaking on March 30, 2007, both Beryl and Compiz took the decision to merge their projects back into one. Consequently the Beryl Project was shut down in order to re-merge both projects under the name of “Compiz Fusion”. The main activities of Compiz Fusion are concentrated on installation, configuration and additional plugins for addition to the core functionalities of Compiz. Besides these core functionalities of Compiz are generally responsible for core and base plugins.
Discovered differences between Compiz and Beryl:
- The window decorator, generally known as “cgwd”, was renamed “emerald”. By changing the extension from .cgwd to .emerald it turned out to be possible to port a cgwd theme to emerald.
- Beryl made use of a flat file backend instead of “gconf”, no GNOME dependency.
- Initially Beryl consisted of a large variety of extra plugins, and enhanced features in other plugins. Later though most of the functionality and plugins had been ported to the new compiz-extra-package.
- Beryl included three themeable decorators: Emerald, Heliodor, and Aquamarine.
- Beryl contained a theme manager called “emerald-theme-manager”.
- Emerald represented a default window decorator and a continuation of “cgwd”. It possessed its own theme format and supported effects like alpha transparency. Strictly speaking Emerald was a fork of Compiz’s gtk-window-decorator.
- Heliodor was another fork of Compiz’s gtk-window-decorator. It supported Metacity themes.
- Aquamarine supported KWin themes.