Talk:Quartz Compositor

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Quartz 2D Extreme: Removed?[edit]

As of 10.4.3, the Quartz 2D enabler seems to be gone. Does it only appear when Q2DE-capable hardware is installed now? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Can't remember if this is where it was before, but in 10.4.4 the option to turn it on is available from the Tools menu in Quartz Debug. However on unsupported hardware the option is greyed-out. AlistairMcMillan 22:26, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Quartz Extreme: AGP only?[edit]

"To use Quartz Extreme, the Macintosh must have an AGP graphics card with support for arbitrary texture dimensions and a minimum of 16 MB of VRAM."

My knowledge of the subject is pretty spotty, but I'm almost sure that the newer Macs with [PCI Express] cards must be able to use this feature as well. Can anyone with some more knowledge confirm this? Joshf 11:34, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

Furthermore, PCI Express "looks like" PCI at the hardware level, so software cannot tell the difference without doing some sort of speed test. I've seen this used to argue that whatever version of 10.4 shipped with the first PCI Express Macs upwards supports Quartz Extreme on older regular PCI cards. Can anyone confirm or deny that? ThomasHarte 02:07, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Merge from Exposé[edit]

Given that Exposé (Mac OS X) is just a feature of the window manager (Quartz Compositor), I think Exposé should just merged here. The Exposé article may seem quite large but we don't need the trivia (Exposé blob section) or the howto-esque Usage guide. AlistairMcMillan 23:48, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Agreed.--GunnarRene 00:06, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Oppose. Exposé is a major user feature, Quartz Compositor is a nearly unknown backend to various functions. -- Steven Fisher 20:36, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Oppose, with the same arguments as Steven Fisher. Eatrains 00:49, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Oppose, also with the same arguments as Steven Fisher. Caffeinepuppy 07:00, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Oppose, Exposé is well known by millions of users, Quartz Compositer is used by some developers —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 23:32, 18 August 2006
Uhm, you are thinking of Quartz Composer. We are talking about Quartz Compositor, Mac OS X's window manager. AlistairMcMillan 01:21, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Merge from Spaces[edit]

Given that Spaces (software) is just a feature of the window manager (Quartz Compositor), I think Spaces should just be mentioned here as opposed to having its own separate page. AlistairMcMillan 23:51, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Agreed.--GunnarRene 00:07, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
See my comment on the Spaces talk page. menscht 00:46, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
OK. I think a merge will present the possibility of a longer and more interesting article. (The goal is to reach Featured Article status, right?) Even if they are talked about as features, they are parts of the Quartz Compositor, so I think we should merge. (And keep the redirects, of course).--GunnarRene 00:57, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
I dunno about this. Expose and Spaces are user interface features, and Quartz Compositor is not, in and of itself, the user interface of OS X. Aqua (GUI) is. If anything, I'd rather see Expose and Spaces merged in with that article, and I think that in turn could promote further expansion of that article. -/- Warren 00:56, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
Actually Quartz Compositor is the user interface on Mac OS X. Aqua is a marketing term. AlistairMcMillan 19:31, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
From Apple: Aqua is the overall appearance and behavior of Mac OS X... and Quartz Compositor, the window server for Mac OS X... AlistairMcMillan 19:38, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Oh come on, Alistair, it won't hurt to actually read your links. At no point in Apple's documentation, or anywhere else with any credibility, is Quartz Compositor described as a user interface. Quartz Compositor is the "window server" but not the "user interface"; it arranges windows which are built by other components (e.g. Quartz 2D).[1] The actual visual aspects, the things that the user sees and interacts, are part of the "Aqua Interface". Quartz Compositor (Quartz Extreme really) facilitates Expose, yes, but Apple is quite clear about Expose being part of the Aqua user interface.[2] Read that second link very carefully; if Apple says Expose is part of the Aqua user interface, then guess what? That's what we should be doing, too. -/- Warren 19:55, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Yep. Please don't depend on anything you read under If you read around the pages at you'll find lots of examples of them simplifying things for people. If you want to get an understanding of what is really going on then read please read the pages at

The Mac OS X user interface is just a set of graphics that are assembled and drawn to the screen by Quartz Compositor using the Quartz 2D library. Aqua is just a theme, along with Brushed Metal and the more recent Unified theme. AlistairMcMillan 20:30, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Actually I see where you are coming from. But I still stand by what I said before. Aqua is just a theme. It is Quartz Compositor that actually draws stuff on the screen. it is Quartz Compositor that actually responds to the keyboard and mouse. If Aqua is the user interface, then what are Brushed Metal and the new Unified themes. Are they user interfaces too?

By the time Leopard is finally released, Apple might release it with a totally new theme. Say for example (however unlikely) one based on the Pro apps (like Final Cut Pro). Would you describe that theme as Aqua?

If they do change the theme is Expose or Spaces affected at all, except for looking slightly different. Does it function any differently? AlistairMcMillan 20:36, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

That's what I mean by Aqua being both a GUI and a theme. Yes, it's a bit daft, but Aqua is the name they've chosen to wrap all their user interface features under, so we're stuck with it. Perhaps the best way forwards for us is to have an Aqua (theme) -and- an Aqua (user interface) article? The former could describe the visual stuff, and the latter could describe Expose, Spaces, and other things like that. -/- Warren 20:46, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

How about we stick a "Aqua is also used by Apple marketing to refer to..." and link to Quartz Compositor?

Anyway given that Quartz Compositor is the window manager on Mac OS X and Expose & Space are ways to manage windows, does it not seem likely that they are features that have been added to Quartz Compositor? Is it not likely that when someone at Apple sat down to add Expose/Spaces to Mac OS X, they sat down and added code to the window manager, Quartz Compositor. Given that Aqua doesn't actually exist aside from a bunch of JPEGs and a marketing term. AlistairMcMillan 20:57, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Info on original NeXT implementation?[edit]

This name really doesn't have much to do with OSX, but there's really nothing on the origin or info about the original WindowServer. Does anyone have any of this historic information to add?

Intel GMA[edit]

Intel GMA is not a graphics card, but an integrated graphics processor. This is the reason why it is sometimes criticised. I have made the necessarsy change.Camhusmj38 14:09, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Update & Focus[edit]

I've updated this article to better reflect the subject, with valid sources. Some of the original discussion applied to Quartz 2D or other functions of the window server (e.g. routing events). Technically speaking, Quartz Compositor exists within the Window Server, and it is called to compose data sent from various processes. --Gerritdewitt 17:30, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Can you point to a source that says this? Whenever I've seen Apple people discussing the OS X window server they seem to use "Quartz Compositor" and "Window Server" interchangeably. AlistairMcMillan 19:13, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the edits! Yes, I think you can go either way with that. The way I see it, Quartz Compositor is part of the Window Server, the part that hands ouput images to the frame buffer. Quartz 2D and other renderers feed the Compositor and the Window Server directs interaction. Here's my source: -- 21:18, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
My source: "The Quartz Compositor windowing service provides low-level functionality including window buffering, event handling and dispatch, and the translucent and drop shadow effects found in the Aqua user interface." [3] AlistairMcMillan 00:37, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Also: "Quartz Compositor, the window server for Mac OS X, coordinates all of the low-level windowing behavior and enforces a fundamental uniformity in what appears on the screen. It manages the displays available on the user’s system, interacting with the necessary device drivers. It also provides window management, event-routing, and cursor management behaviors." [4] AlistairMcMillan 00:39, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
That's even better, having the Apple source. I had tried to find that earlier, and am glad you got the link! --Gerritdewitt 06:08, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Processes CAN take over the display[edit]

This model makes the Mac OS X window server unique, as individual processes are not allowed to claim ownership on the display.

is misleading.[5] Capturing a display is not getting direct access to a portion of the screen to draw a window in it in cooperation with the window manager, but it is claiming ownership of a display where the window manager normally has it. Can someone with better literary skills improve this? --Jonathanvt 19:26, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

QuartzGL is not supported by all Core Image hardware/video cards.[edit]

Article claims: All graphics cards capable of supporting Core Image, also supports QuartzGL.

An iBook G4, 14 inch screen, running 10.5.6, with an ATI Mobility Radeon 9550, has System Profiler report that Core Image is Hardware Accelerated, Quartz Extreme is supported, but Quartz Debug reports that Quartz GL is not supported.

This is annoying -- this is apple hardware, with a decent graphics card (9550), that supports Core Image (and all those nice effects like the ripple) that does not actually support hardware acceletation of 3d graphics using open GL.

Keybounce (talk) 05:35, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Citation for the name?[edit]

I've never heard the name "Quartz Compositor" until now. I've been developing for Mac OS X since 10.1. "the window server" or "WindowServer" (the name of the process that manages this) is the name I commonly hear used.

I've added the fact inline template at the start of the article. If a citation doesn't appear I'd like to change the name of this article to WindowServer.

--Colin Barrett (talk) 18:05, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Windowing system or window manager?[edit]

Hello, The first sentence of this article is : "Quartz Compositor is the windowing system in Mac OS X."

Unless I don't understand the way a GUI is working, I think that it is rather a window manager, isn't it?

--Jotwo (talk) 16:47, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

[EDIT]: I think I've seen my mistake, this article is only about Quartz Compositor. So is Quartz Compositor the windowing system of Mac OS? And if it is, what is the window manager then? Maybe it should be specified somewhere... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jotwo (talkcontribs) 17:40, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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