KDE Desktop effects

Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at cox.net
Sat Sep 15 15:40:13 BST 2012

Bogus Zaba posted on Fri, 14 Sep 2012 19:59:15 +0100 as excerpted:

> I am not desperate to have all possible eye-candy operating, but I know
> that my system is capable of reasonable performance with regard to stuff
> like box-switching etc because it has worked before.
> The system has an nvidia GeForce 7300 card and I am using the nvidia
> (proprietary) driver. The KDE is 4.5.5 under Slackware 13.37 which is
> the best I can run under Slack 13.37 without making some other
> significant system changes.
> Recently KDE allows me to use only the XRender compositing type which
> provides a jerky experience if desktop effects are turned on. If I try
> and switch to OpenGL I get "Failed to activate desktop effects using the
> given config options" and it reverts to jerky Xrender. I have
> re-installed the nvidia driver and am sure it is working OK because the
> nvidia Server settings utility does what is expected (provides a cursor
> shadow for example). This utility also reports all sorts of OpenGL
> parameters and so it looks like OpenGL should work OK. Why is KDE not
> playing nicely?

What kernel version?  What xorg-server version?  Did you upgrade those 
since it worked properly?  What about your nvidia driver?  If the rest of 
your system is as old as the now two years old kde 4.5 (tho 4.5.5 isn't 
quite that old... November/December), but you tried upgrading either the 
kernel or the video driver (or xorg-server, but that's less likely to be 
upgraded on its own I'd guess), they're probably expecting something 

Of course if you upgrade your kernel, you need to rebuild your servantware 
drivers against the new kernel, but failing to do that usually results in 
not being able to get into X at all (or at least it did back shortly 
after the turn of the century when I last ran nVidia graphics, something 
I've stayed away from since due to their lack of cooperation with the 
FLOSS community), so /that/ shouldn't be the problem.

Just to confirm.  There's an app called glxgears.  You can run it and see 
the gears still?  If so, you have at least /minimal/ glx 
(glx = (open)gl-X).  If not, your glx is broken.

And on the same (third/advanced) tab of the desktop effects applet, IDR 
if kde 4.5 had it or if it was added later, but if you have a checkbox 
for opengl shaders, try unchecking that.  Older hardware/software didn't 
work well with that.

Also, along about the kde 4.5 era, kwin was blacklisting certain 
combinations of hardware and drivers due to problems they've since worked 
out.  It's possible that whatever you're running is or was blacklisted.  
Check kwinrc (probably in ~/.kde/share/config/).  You may wish to try 
renaming that file (with kde not running of course) and starting kde/kwin 
to have it recreated "clean".

Finally, what window decoration are you running?  Some of those, 
particularly the customizations available on kdelook.org, etc. (as 
opposed to those shipped by kde), have been known to trigger various 
issues.  KDE's native oxygen decoration is one of the more challenging of 
the native/shipped decorations, so you might try one of the others.  
(Personally, I've run the kde2 decoration since... well... kde2, without 
the issues I sometimes see others mentioning for other decorations. But 
it's also not quite as featureful. YMMV.)

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

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