It took a while to get it out, but finally, 3 years after the latest release (1.2), the version of 1.3 of xpyb (the XCB Python bindngs) is out.

This version has a lot of improvement, and major bug fixes (memory corruption and memory leak were tracked down and fixed).

One amazing feature that is now shipped with that release, is my code to export the xpyb API to other Python modules, allowing to draw with Pycairo in Python using XCB.

Here is an example of a Python program that draws a spiral in a window using xpyb and Pycairo. You need xpyb >= 1.3 and Pycairo >= 1.10 to make this works.

import cairo
import xcb
from xcb.xproto import *
WIDTH, HEIGHT = 600, 600
def draw_spiral(ctx, width, height):
"""Draw a spiral with lines!"""
wd = .02 * width
hd = .02 * height
width -= 2
height -= 2
ctx.move_to (width + 1, 1-hd)
for i in range(9):
ctx.rel_line_to (0, height - hd * (2 * i - 1))
ctx.rel_line_to (- (width - wd * (2 *i)), 0)
ctx.rel_line_to (0, - (height - hd * (2*i)))
ctx.rel_line_to (width - wd * (2 * i + 1), 0)
ctx.set_source_rgb (0, 0, 1)
# Connect to the X server
conn = xcb.connect()
# Get the X server setup
setup = conn.get_setup()
# Generate X ID for our X "objects"
window = conn.generate_id()
pixmap = conn.generate_id()
gc = conn.generate_id()
# Create a new window
conn.core.CreateWindow(setup.roots[0].root_depth, window,
# Parent is the root window
0, 0, WIDTH, HEIGHT, 0, WindowClass.InputOutput,
CW.BackPixel | CW.EventMask,
[ setup.roots[0].white_pixel, EventMask.ButtonPress | EventMask.EnterWindow | EventMask.LeaveWindow | EventMask.Exposure ])
# Create a pixmap: it will be used to draw with cairo
conn.core.CreatePixmap(setup.roots[0].root_depth, pixmap, setup.roots[0].root,
# We just need a GC to copy later the pixmap on the window, so create one
# very simple
conn.core.CreateGC(gc, setup.roots[0].root, GC.Foreground | GC.Background,
[ setup.roots[0].black_pixel, setup.roots[0].white_pixel ])
# Create a cairo surface
surface = cairo.XCBSurface (conn, pixmap,
setup.roots[0].allowed_depths[0].visuals[0], WIDTH, HEIGHT)
# Create a cairo context with that surface
ctx = cairo.Context(surface)
# Paint everything in white
ctx.set_source_rgb (1, 1, 1)
ctx.set_operator (cairo.OPERATOR_SOURCE)
# Draw our spiral
draw_spiral (ctx, WIDTH, HEIGHT)
# Map the window on the screen so it gets visible
# Flush all X requests to the X server
while True:
event = conn.wait_for_event()
except xcb.ProtocolException, error:
print "Protocol error %s received!" % error.__class__.__name__
# ExposeEvent are received when we need to refresh the content of the
# window, so we copy the content of the pixmap (where cairo drew) in the
# window
if isinstance(event, ExposeEvent):
conn.core.CopyArea(pixmap, window, gc, 0, 0, 0, 0, WIDTH, HEIGHT)
# You click, I quit.
elif isinstance(event, ButtonPressEvent):

Seeing the complexity it is to draw something simple with this technology, I somehow understand why nobody bothered to release or use the code during the last 3 years.

But hey, now that it's out, you can build the next Python based desktop environment with bleeding edge technologies. :-)