I am concerned about this "war on overlays" and pushing us all towards compositing whether we
want to or not.
I recently tried Compiz-fusion, and while I'm ready to admit that the transparent desktop cube
looks very cool, I found it too slow to use on a daily basis, even though I have a relatively
modern machine (1 year old laptop with 2GHz Core2duo and Intel 945 GM). The performance of
terminal windows or Firefox was acceptable, but e.g. Gimp was uncomfortably slow when doing
screen updates. Not to mention that the X server died several times on one day, something it
has never done on that machine before. After a day of playing with it, I was relieved to turn
compositing back off.
With respect to overlaid XVideo, as you might be aware, recent Intel drivers use texturing by
default. One of the first things I do after downloading a new driver is reverting to
overlays. Why? Intel's textured XVideo does not support brightness/contrast adjustment (or
didn't last time I tried). Videos often require a different brightness setting than the
desktop, so to me this lack is basically a show-stopper. Plus, last time I tried, textured
XVideo badly suffered from tearing; I've never seen that problem with overlaid XVideo.
I get this uncomfortable feeling, and I know I'm not the only one, that Intel developers keep
pushing half-baked ideas at us. Sure, I can see the shortcomings of overlays, but I refuse to
switch so long as the alternative pitched is nowhere near as usable. I think Intel developers
would do many people a big favour if they slowed down with adding new features and focused on
improving the ones already there.