Palette hogging


I've leafed through the GNOME pages and some backlogs of the list, and
have looked at several screen dumps and so on, and I noticed that
GNOME looks very spiffy.

I got a problem with that.

The problem is that it looked very much like the desktop would gobble
up a substantial number of colours, while many people have only one
small palette (typically 256 colours) available on their system.

For such setups, I propose that the desktop can be forced to restrict
all its decorations etc. to 16 colours (the basic CGA colours).  This
would imply colour coercion or dithering having to happen on more
fancy decorations.  For smooth borders, I think coercion to closest
available colour would be the thing.

Of course, if a decoration can have an own idea about how to restrict
itself to such a basic colour set, it probably should be allowed to
use that as well.

Another thing that might be nice to have (but I don't know which
component would be resposible for that) is smart allocation of
additional colour maps.  By this I mean some mechanism that tries to
allocate similar colours to the same indices in multiple colour maps.
That way, switching the colour maps when going between windows would
not be as eye-jarring an experience as it is often now.

Why, one could even try to select the actual colour maps as an average
weighted with the inverse distance to the cursor, so as to have
colours be the most accurate around the cursor.  This technique could
even be applied within a single image.  Just think about the visual
effect when doing pointer movements, specifically if colours are
really chosen badly matched in the first place.  Then you get one isle
of sanity centered around the cursor which gets increasingly strange
to the outside.

Ok, ok, forget about the last paragraph above.  But thinking of the
effects an overdecorated desktop might have on 8-bit displays is
important, I think.  I'd still like to start a reasonable xv or other
things with individual palette renderings without having to revert to
eye-jarring palette switching appeareances just because of a fancy

Keep up the good work,

David Kastrup                                     Phone: +49-234-700-5570
Email:       Fax: +49-234-709-4209
Institut für Neuroinformatik, Universitätsstr. 150, 44780 Bochum, Germany

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