Novell has released the Xgl graphics subsystem and Compiz compositing manager to the open-source community. Novell, which distributes SuSE Linux, is already making making the source code available.

Novell is hoping that developers will use Xgl and Compiz plug-ins to create graphical interfaces and special effects to make the Linux desktop more attractive to users, according to Nat Friedman, vice president of Linux desktop engineering at Novell.

Friedman said the improved graphics capabilities might encourage games developers to look again at working with SuSE Linux. "They might find Linux more fun to develop for," he added.

Xgl - X over OpenGL - takes advantage of current 3D rendering hardware. Apple's Mac OS X operating system already offers such capabilities. The initial special effects Novell is demonstrating for SuSE Linux are somewhat reminiscent of what the Apple operating system can already do in terms of offering transparent windows and windows animation. Xgl and Compiz currently only work with SuSE Linux 10.1.

When Friedman gave an audience in Paris a sneak peek at Novell's upcoming Linux Desktop 10, the demonstration included showing off some of the capabilities of Xgl.

Since late 2004 Novell engineer David Reveman has led efforts to develop the Xgl graphics subsystem. He has already contributed some of the Xgl code to the open-source community. Xgl and Compiz source code can be downloaded from http://www.freedesktop.org/Software/Xgl.