neercs: Compiz at the console

Oh, you think I’m joking. You think K.Mandla has gone off the deep end, and is probably sitting in front of a busted-up Pentium M spinning a 3D desktop in ASCII against the framebuffer. Ho-ho, you laugh. Ha-ha, you chortle.

Well, chortle to your heart’s content. Because as it happens. …


Okay, so my attempt at a screenshot hasn’t done much to convince you, but it’s tough to time fbgrab right to get a good look at the animation effect. Install it yourself on your quad-core with 12Gb of RAM, demean yourself to switch to the framebuffer, and try it. It works better than you think.

It, of course, is neercs, a wacky play on the traditional terminal multiplexer that appears to have been cross-bred with either 3ddesk or the ghost of Compiz. Either way, it’s good fun.

I can coach you a little bit with neercs: You’ll start off with one “thumbnail” of a desktop along the bottom, and most of the key commands follow screen. Add another “desktop” with CTRL+A, C, then switch window layouts with CTRL+A, W, until you get the fullscreen model, meaning no layered or split windows.

Then CTRL+A, N, and the magic happens. You didn’t think it was possible. 😉

I didn’t either, so don’t feel bad. But believe it or not, you can indeed have a spinning cube desktop at the terminal. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

I am, as a matter of fact, playtesting it on a widescreen Pentium M against the framebuffer, specifically so I can see how it behaves in a virtual console. If you spin up neercs under X, probably you’ll be forced into an SDL-ish child window. But let’s face it, that’s not the same thing as a pure framebuffer environment. 😕

neercs seems to be holding its own, although I did swap out my regular 12-pitch Terminus font for the gigantamo sun12x22 just for that image. This screen is 1680×1050, and that’s painful to watch at 1.7Ghz. 😯 I don’t think I’ll be trying this with a sub-1Ghz machine.

neercs is in AUR as neercs-git, but doesn’t appear to be in Debian. Send your love letters (or hate mail) to the wizards of Caca Labs.

I think I’ll just let you tinker with neercs, and you can decide if it’s something you want to keep around. I can give it a lot of points for doing the impossible — blending Beryl with the blinker — and it has a solid color scheme and is on the whole quite entertaining.

Better yet: Imagine how your jealous your geek friends will be when they see your spinning desktop terminal. … 😎

2 thoughts on “neercs: Compiz at the console

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