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HowTo install the 3D desktop Beryl on a eeePC 900

On many places in the Web people start experimenting with 3D window managers and the eeePC. Many do use a different Linux distribution than the standard Xandros that comes pre-installed on the eee. I have seen some attempts (instructions) to get Compiz or Beryl installed, but usually with some issues.
At the end of this procedure you will have a full 3D desktop (Beryl) with the nice spinning desktop cube, 3D window effects, shadows, etc. This instructions will provide fully working composite (transparency), not as with other instructions that leave you with black bars where shadows should be (like on the window borders) and non-working transparency.

For those readers that are only desperately looking for a solution of the composite (transparency) issue I'll explain quickly the solution. Xandros does not include the 3D DRI driver for the Intel 915 graphics chip. Once you copy the correct file ( to the apropriate location and restart the X server it will simply work. Where do you get this driver? I grabbed all intel video driver files (see below) from a Backtrack image (there I first have seen a working 3D desktop on my eeePC).

Note: This has been executed and tested with an ASUS eeePC 900 Linux. Likely it can be applied to the other Linux models in a similar or equal way. As always, make a backup first - this exercise is left to the reader.

  • eeePC with standard Xandros Linux installed (no Xubuntu, eeebuntu or whatever).
  • It is highly recommended to already have prepared a GRUB boot entry into "rescue" (single user) mode.
  • Have a copy of Backtrack 3 ready, we will need some driver files from there.
  • Full desktop mode must be enabled (KDE) or another suitable window manager is to be installed first. Personally, I use XFCE4 as window manager.

First you have to replace some X11 drivers:
  • /usr/lib/xorg/modules/input/ - the synaptics touchpad driver.
  • /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers/ - the Intel video driver.
  • /usr/lib/dri/ - the 2D DRI driver for the 915 Intel chip.
  • /usr/lib/dri/ - the 3D DRI driver for the 915 Intel chip.
The original synaptics touchpad driver has an ugly behavior that is prints some (debug?) garbage into the Xorg logfile every few seconds and thus just fills up precious disk space on the sda2 partition.
We can safely use the driver files from backtrack 3 as they use the same Xorg version.

Edit the Xorg config file
Before starting to screw around in this file make a backup first (you never know...).
Basically we do:
  • enable composite
  • enable AIGLX
  • some performance settings of the intel video driver
In the following xorg.conf example only the important changes are shown and other parts are left out ....
Section "ServerLayout"
Section "Module"
    Load "glx"
    Load  "dri"
    Load  "extmod"
    Load  "synaptics"
    # 3D desktop: load GLcore and dbe extension
    Load "GLcore"
    Load "dbe"

Section "ServerFlags"
    Option   "AllowMouseOpenFail"
    Option   "BlankTime"      "5"
    Option   "DontVTSwitch"   "true"
    # 3D desktop: enable AIGLX
    Option   "AIGLX"          "true"
Section "Device"
    Identifier  "Device1"
    Driver      "intel"
    VendorName  "Intel Corporation"
    BoardName   "Mobile 915GM/GMS/910GML Express Graphics Controller"
    BusID       "PCI:0:2:0"
    # 3D desktop: enable DRI and some performance settings
    Option "DRI"          "True"
    Option "PageFlip"     "True"
    Option "TripleBuffer" "True"
    Option "XAANoOffscreenPixmaps" "True"
Section "Extensions"
    # 3D desktop: enable  composite extension (transparency)
    Option "Composite" "Enable"

Install new Xorg video drivers
The eeepc_3d_drivers.tgzexternal link can be extracted from a Backtrack3 image. Boot the BT3 from CD/USB and extract the following 4 files:
  • /usr/lib/xorg/modules/input/
  • /usr/lib/xorg/modules/drivers/
  • /usr/lib/dri/
  • /usr/lib/dri/
Note, the DRI drivers in BT3 are located in a different directory that on the eeePC. In BT3 they are in /usr/lib/xorg/modules/dri/, in Xandros on the eeePC they are in /usr/lib/dri/.
Copy the files over and restart the X server (CTRL-ALT-Backspace).

Setup the Debian repository for Beryl
Add the following Debian repository to your eeePC:
deb etch main

Install Beryl and Emerald
Using the synaptic packet manager, add the beryl package. Including the dependencies you should get the following packages installed at the end:
  • beryl
  • beryl-core
  • beryl-manager
  • beryl-plugins
  • beryl-plugins-data
  • beryl-settings
  • beryl-settings-bindings
  • libberyldecoration0
  • libberylsettings0
  • emerald
  • emerald-themes
  • libemeraldengine0

First start
In the System Menu you will find a new entry called Beryl Manager. Once you execute it you will see a Diamond shaped icon the the system tray. Right mouse click -> Select Window Manager -> Beryl. The advaned setting can all be left on automatic.

You may want to automatically launch Beryl when X starts. Check your current Window manager on how to add an autostart entry. With XFCE, start xfce4-autostart-editor and add an entry for beryl-manager.

Created by: tries last modification: Saturday 30 of May, 2009 [13:13:51 UTC] by tries

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