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Enabling 3D effects in KDE 4

KDE 4 comes with it’s own set of cool 3D effects built-in, but disabled by default. In order to enjoy these effects, you need to enable them manually through the Desktop section of System Settings. But in some cases, enabling 3D can get painfully difficult, as was in my case.

3D can be enabled through one of two options – XRender and OpenGL. Effects using XRender are quite slow and inferior to what is offered by OpenGL.

Enabling 3D with XRender normally works well on almost all machines, but problems start when you try to enable 3D using OpenGL. The most common error that pops us when trying to do so is:

Failed to activate desktop effects using the given configuration options. Settings will be reverted to their previous values

Here are some simple steps to make sure you can enable OpenGL 3D effects without errors and problems.

To start with, make sure you have:

  • Proper video drivers installed (proprietary drivers in case of NVIDIA and ATI) and 3D acceleration enabled.
  • The xorg.conf file setup properly.

In most situations, these sections are usually missing from the file xorg.conf (found in /etc/X11):

Section "Files"
    ModulePath     "/usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/nvidia"
    ModulePath     "/usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions"
    ModulePath     "/usr/lib/xorg/modules"
EndSection
Section "Screen"
    Option       "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "True"
EndSection

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Vista & Ubuntu – the similarities

VS

Windows Vista and Ubuntu Linux – both are totally disparate entities and I am talking about similarities? Yup, I sure am. And I have reasons to believe this.

Most of us know what Vista is. Vista is the latest edition to the most popular operating system (OS) lineup – Windows. For those who are unfamiliar with Ubuntu, Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux-based OS that is available for free.

Here I discuss some of the similarities that I have noted in due course of my usage of both the operating systems.

Computer
In both, the name given to the central access point to all the disks and partitions on a computer is “Computer”. In earlier versions of Windows, we used to know it with the name “My Computer”.

Sub-folders in user profile folder
The default folders present in the user profile folder (or the home folder) are something like – Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos – in both the OSes.

Graphical effects
Starting from Ubuntu 7.10, both the OSes have given stress on providing graphical desktop effects to the end user. In Ubuntu, the effects are a result of Compiz Fusion software. In Vista, the most common and appealing effect is Flip 3D.

Creation of a new folder
When a new file/folder is created within another folder in either of the OS, the newly created item rearranges itself automatically in alphabetical order with respect to the other items contained by the parent folder. This wasn’t the case in earlier versions of Windows.

Renaming file
When a file is renamed (by right-clicking and choosing “Rename” or by pressing F2) in either of OSes, only the name of the file is selected, leaving the file extension unselected.

Navigation strip
When a folder within a folder within a folder (and so on…) is visited, a navigation strip appears near the top of the explorer/file manager window. In both the OSes, this navigation strip is very similar looking and a helpful aid.

Verdict
Does this imply anything? Were Vista’s features inspired by Ubuntu? Or Ubuntu’s features by Vista? Or neither of the cases. It’s upto you to decide. 😉

Note: The similarities between Vista and Ubuntu are primarily because of the desktop environment used by Ubuntu – GNOME. So, these similarities are common between Vista and many other Linux distributions that use the latest version of GNOME.