A compositing window manager is a type of window manager (software that draws a graphical user interface on a computer display). Unlike earlier window managers, which made each individual application responsible for rendering its own window directly inside the display memory, a compositing window manager provides applications an off-screen buffer for window memory. It composites windows into an image representing the screen and writes the result into the display memory.
Compositing window managers may perform additional processing on buffered windows, applying 2D and 3D animated effects such as blending, fading, scaling, rotation, duplication, bending and contortion, shuffling, blurring, redirecting applications, and translating windows into one of a number of displays and virtual desktops. Computer graphics technology allows for visual effects to be rendered in real time such as drop shadows, live previews, and complex animation. Since, technically, the screen is double buffered, it does not flicker during updates.
The most commonly used compositing window managers include:
- GNU/Linux, FreeBSD and OpenSolaris—Compiz, KWin, Xfwm, Enlightenment and Mutter.
- Microsoft Windows—the Desktop Window Manager
- Mac OS X—the Quartz Compositor
Read more about Compositing Window Manager: Comparison With Stacking Window Managers, History, Compositing and 3D Effects in Operating Systems, Usability and Eye Candy, List of Compositing Window Managers, Operating Systems With Compositing Window Managers
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