Eye Candy for NetBSD 5.0

Since a couple of years, there are some Window Managers providing shiny 3D effects like a cube-mapped-desktop, wobbly windows and various other animations.

NetBSD is capable of dealing with those interfaces, but their installation is not yet straightforward. Here are the couple of steps you'll have to go through in order to impress your friends with a modern 3D NetBSD desktop.

Enable DRM in the kernel

Depending on the graphic card you are using, add one of the following to your kernel configuration:

i915drm*        at vga?         # Intel i915, i945 DRM driver
mach64drm*      at vga?         # mach64 (3D Rage Pro, Rage) DRM driver
mgadrm*         at vga?         # Matrox G[24]00, G[45]50 DRM driver
r128drm*        at vga?         # ATI Rage 128 DRM driver
radeondrm*      at vga?         # ATI Radeon DRM driver
savagedrm*      at vga?         # S3 Savage DRM driver
sisdrm*         at vga?         # SiS DRM driver
tdfxdrm*        at vga?         # 3dfx (voodoo) DRM driver

For example, if your graphic card has an intel 945GM chip and your architecture is amd64-based:

# cd /usr/src/sys/arch/amd64/conf
# echo "i915drm*        at vga?" >> MYKERNEL

Then recompile and copy your kernel as usual.

Modular Xorg

The next step involves the Xorg server. Xorg 1.4.2 which is the version bundled with NetBSD 5.0 has no real AiGLX support. While Xorg.0.log will pretend AiGLX is enabled, it does not load the X dri driver related to your GPU. In order to have full AiGLX support, you will have to use pkgsrc's modular Xorg. Refer to this article see how to achieve this simple -but long- task.

Once modular Xorg is installed, you'll have to tell gdm not to start the base Xorg server, but the new one installed by pkgsrc. Edit /usr/pkg/etc/gdm/custom.conf and add the following lines:

name=Standard server
command=/usr/pkg/bin/X vt05 -audit 0

Those using startx instead should create a ${HOME}/.xserverrc with the following content:

exec /usr/pkg/bin/X vt05 -audit 0

Update your ${PATH} variable so /usr/pkg/bin comes before /usr/X11R{6,7}/bin, i.e.:

export PATH

Xorg configuration

Exit from any X Window environment you might be using and run:

# Xorg -configure

This should produce a valid xorg.conf file in your ${HOME} directory, just copy it to /etc/X11/xorg.conf. Here is a typical xorg.conf file with necessary bits for DRI, AiGLX and Composite extensions to be loaded and operationals:

Section "ServerLayout"
        Identifier     "X.org Configured"
        Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
        InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
        InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"

Section "Files"
        ModulePath   "/usr/pkg/lib/xorg/modules"
        FontPath     "/usr/pkg/lib/X11/fonts/misc/"
        FontPath     "/usr/pkg/lib/X11/fonts/TTF/"
        FontPath     "/usr/pkg/lib/X11/fonts/OTF"
        FontPath     "/usr/pkg/lib/X11/fonts/Type1/"
        FontPath     "/usr/pkg/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/"
        FontPath     "/usr/pkg/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/"

Section "Module"
        Load  "dbe"
        Load  "dri"
        Load  "dri2"
        Load  "extmod"
        Load  "glx"

Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier  "Keyboard0"
        Driver      "kbd"
        Option      "XkbRules"   "xorg"
        Option      "XkbModel"   "pc105"
        Option      "XkbLayout"  "us"
        Option      "XkbOptions" "compose:ralt"

Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier  "Mouse0"
        Driver      "mouse"
        Option      "Protocol" "wsmouse"
        Option      "Device" "/dev/wsmouse"
        Option      "ZAxisMapping" "4 5 6 7"

Section "Monitor"
        #DisplaySize      330   210     # mm
        Identifier   "Monitor0"
        VendorName   "LPL"
        ModelName    "2900"

Section "Device"
        Option      "DRI" "true"
        Option      "AccelMethod" "XAA" # needed for 945GM GPUs
        Option      "XAANoOffscreenPixmaps" "true"
        Option      "AllowGLXWithComposite" "true"
        Identifier  "Card0"
        Driver      "intel"
        VendorName  "Intel Corporation"
        BoardName   "Mobile 945GM/GMS, 943/940GML Express Integrated Graphics Controller"
        BusID       "PCI:0:2:0"

Section "Screen"
        Identifier "Screen0"
        Device     "Card0"
        Monitor    "Monitor0"
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     1
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     4
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     8
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     15
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     16
        SubSection "Display"
                Viewport   0 0
                Depth     24

Section "ServerFlags"
        Option "AIGLX" "true"

Section "DRI"
        Mode 0666

Section "Extensions"
        Option "Composite" "Enable"


Now reboot your NetBSD computer with the previously compiled kernel. When Xorg starts, you should see the following kernel messages using dmesg:

error: [drm:pid389:i915_getparam] *ERROR* i915_getparam called with no initialization
i915drm0: interrupting at ioapic0 pin 16
error: [drm:pid389:i915_getparam] *ERROR* Unknown parameter 5

Error messages can safely be ignored, they mean you're not running a GNU/Linux kernel >= 2.6.28. Xorg.0.log now should contain the following messages:

(**) AIGLX enabled
(II) Loading extension GLX
(II) LoadModule: "intel"
(II) Loading /usr/pkg/lib/xorg/modules/drivers//intel_drv.so
drmOpenDevice: node name is /dev/dri/card0
drmOpenDevice: open result is 8, (OK)
drmOpenDevice: node name is /dev/dri/card0
drmOpenDevice: open result is 8, (OK)
drmOpenByBusid: Searching for BusID pci:0000:00:02.0
drmOpenDevice: node name is /dev/dri/card0
drmOpenDevice: open result is 8, (OK)
drmOpenByBusid: drmOpenMinor returns 8
drmOpenByBusid: drmGetBusid reports pci:0000:00:02.0
(II) [drm] DRM interface version 1.2
(II) [drm] DRM open master succeeded.
(II) intel(0): [DRI] installation complete
(II) AIGLX: enabled GLX_SGI_make_current_read
(II) AIGLX: enabled GLX_MESA_copy_sub_buffer
(II) AIGLX: enabled GLX_SGI_swap_control and GLX_MESA_swap_control
(II) AIGLX: enabled GLX_texture_from_pixmap with driver support
(II) AIGLX: Loaded and initialized /usr/pkg/lib/dri/i915_dri.so
(II) GLX: Initialized DRI GL provider for screen 0

Meaning your X11 environment can now play well with 3D gadgets.

Running compiz

In order to test your new X Window powers, install the following packages using your favourite method (pkgsrc, pkg_add, pkgin...):


As of 26/11/2009, pkgsrc-2009Q3 binary version of those packages is 0.6.0. If you'd like to use the latest compiz version (0.8.4), you'll have to install it using current version of pkgsrc.

Once done, if you use the GNOME desktop, start compiz with this little script:


# compiz 0.6's --replace does not kill properly metacity
pkill metacity

# for intel cards, add INTEL_BATCH=1 to the following command
LIBGL_ALWAYS_INDIRECT=1 /usr/pkg/bin/compiz --replace --indirect-rendering ccp &

If your windows don't have decorations, launch the ccsm utility and under the "Effect" section, check "Window Decoration".

0.6 version of compiz is old and suffers a known bug, instead of using metacity's themes, it draws white translucent borders. A patch is available for the gtk-window-decorator program that fixes it, but if you don't feel like patching / compiling, revert to compiz's default windows decorator:

$ gconftool-2 --set /apps/gwd/use_metacity_theme false --type bool

It's now up to you to play along with ccsm and try all those shiny effects you'll soon be unable to miss :)

Mandatory screenshot: Shiny Disco Balls !