RISC OS gets transparent windowsPublished: 21st Nov 2006, 19:42:37 | Permalink | Printable
I can see right through youNever accuse RISC OS of lacking its share of bling and desktop gimmicks. A new module released this month has given the Window Manager a thorough polish - to the point of making windows entirely transparent.
Now punters will be able to admire their desktop wallpaper in all its splendid glory without having to move applications out of the way. And never again will a RISC OS user have to feel embarrassed when their GNU/Linux using pals show off their fancy translucent desktops.
Click for larger image of the new Ghostly module in action.
In fact, the software cheats by rendering areas of the desktop wallpaper below each window as their respective backgrounds. The wallpaper is tinted to give the effect of looking through the windows as though they were translucent. The code uses a Window Manager filter, and steps in when the operating system has finished drawing the window outline and background. Before the icons and other graphics on top of the window are drawn, the module quickly renders the translucent background, and then allows the foreground to be plotted on top.
Developer David Llewellyn-Jones said: "As you can see, this is really just a trick. It doesn't actually make the windows transparent at all. But whilst it's not perfect - it doesn't allow you to see the windows beneath another window, for example - the effect can be quite deceptive nonetheless. As it happens, this is a trick used by a number of Linux distributions to achieve a similar transparency effect."
He also recommended using a fast RISC OS machine in a screen mode with plenty of colours and textured window backgrounds turned off while using the transparency.
The 'desktop silly' was published in the Star Info section of this month's Qercus magazine, and is available for download from the link below.
• Speaking of magazines, RISC OS Now editor Louie Smith revealed the front cover of the next issue of her magazine to ROUGOL punters last night - hot off the colour laser printer. The next edition is set to include part two of an ArtWorks tutorial, which explains how the fishy front cover design was produced; gift ideas for geeks; more programming tutorials; and an interview with Oregano UK's Richard Brown.
Louie wouldn't reveal any bombshells from her chat with Richard or say if he had plans to surprise us with the release of Oregano 3 - we understand there's been no movement as yet on getting the web browser onto RISC OS, anyway.
Download Ghostly - read the instructions before use
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