Metisse:Part 2 – Judgement Day!

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Ok so my last Metisse post was really just a Mandriva rant. I compiled and installed it on Arch today. The website’s build documentation is good and easy to follow. Basically just configure, make, install. I did use -enable-glx-x86 and –enable-mmx on the Metisse configure.

Once it was all installed you have a few ways to start it, which are explained here. I did it the “easy” way. I already boot into runlevel 3 and run startx. So I just created a new .xinitrc for Metisse with the following in it.

Xmetisse -ac -depth 24 -geometry 1280x1024 :1 >& .Xmetisse-log &
metisse-start-fvwm >& .compositor-log &
urxvt # this will allow you to terminate this session by typing "exit" and to
# restart the compositor using metisse-start-fvwm if it ever crashes
killall Xmetisse

Pretty much ripped from the official instructions with the terminal, resolution, and color depth changed.

I immediatly noticed two things my fonts and cursor. My fonts looked very very small, I assume it had something to do with a dpi setting. The cursor and the area around it was covered by a large flickering black box. I opened up Firefox and started reading how to do all the cool stuff I’ve seen in the videos.


I move some windows around, zoom them, spin them, etc. You can do all of this with hotkeys or mouse clicks on certain areas. I try to take a screen shot with Scrot but it only captured the background. Reading further I see you need to use a capture hotkey that outputs to jpg.

I then start to open up many windows and attempt use the multiple desktops. This whole process is very slow and clumsy.

You can’t drag the window to another desktop. You can’t grab the little window representations in the pager. I right clicked the window border itself hoping for a menu, nope. You have to right click the menu icon in the window title bar, this gives you a copy of the pager which is same size as the one already on the screen.

The navigation was just as bad, moving to another desktop makes the windows appear to slide away or into view but slowly. Also zooming out to view all nine desktops didn’t make navigation any better. When you click on a desktop while zoomed out you have to watch the background image slowly move from one desktop to your destination, then you can zoom back in.

metisse, nine desktops

It wasn’t all bad though, one feature that is unique to Metisse is the ability to cut and paste parts from an application. This worked surprisingly well and unlike many of the other features was fairly intuitive. I was able to cut out the file explorer from Rox, my Gmail status and Google search bar from Firefox, then paste them into one window. I don’t have any personal uses for this but just seeing it in action was nice. It functions in such a way that it is still affecting and being affected by the original. If you resize the original windows or close them your “custom” window will not look right anymore.

metisse, useful-ish cutting

The only other note worthy thing was the quasi radial menu. If you held and dragged the corner of the window this nice menu would appear around your cursor. I’ve always wondered why this type of a menu wasn’t used more often.

metisse, radial-ish menu

Recalling the Metisse videos I can’t help but be reminded of a subpar movie with all the good parts in the trailer. It’s not ready for prime time (yet) and I have no idea why Mandriva is shipping it with thier live disc.


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Written by Matthew A. Darragh

February 1, 2007 at 6:13 pm

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