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Mutter: a window manager for GNOME 3

Mutter: a window manager for GNOME 3

Posted Aug 6, 2009 1:41 UTC (Thu) by ncm (subscriber, #165)
Parent article: Mutter: a window manager for GNOME 3

Both my desktop and my laptop have very modern Nvidia video chips, operated with the "nv" X driver. They get about 0.5 frames/s in Celestia, but work fine doing everything I use them for, including driving a 1920x1200 monitor. Is Gnome abandoning me? Or are they assuming Nouveau will be mature before Mutter is, and abandoning everybody else without GL hardware support? Or might Mutter have a mode/theme that uses only GL features that can be faked efficiently?

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Mutter: a window manager for GNOME 3

Posted Aug 6, 2009 10:42 UTC (Thu) by rahulsundaram (subscriber, #21946) [Link]

Nouveau will likely mature in that time. It is the default in Fedora 11 already and will get KMS support in the next release. Red Hat also has a full time developer working on it.

orphaned hardware

Posted Aug 6, 2009 18:53 UTC (Thu) by ncm (subscriber, #165) [Link]

So your expectation is, "abandoning everybody else without GL hardware support"?

orphaned hardware

Posted Aug 6, 2009 19:34 UTC (Thu) by (✭ supporter ✭, #52701) [Link]

There is no one who will be running GNOME 3 (currently scheduled for Spring 2010 at the earliest) who will not have GL hardware. There simply isn't any chip out there that doesn't do GL at some level. Even my three year old smartphone has a 3D accelerator. If the Linux driver situation with regard to the only three chip families (Intel, NVidia and ATI) lacks 3D support, that should be considered a bug. Hardware GL is now as mandatory as 2D acceleration of scrolling a browser web page--you can scroll a web page without 2D acceleration (say on the VESA driver) but it's slow and painful.

orphaned hardware

Posted Aug 6, 2009 22:42 UTC (Thu) by yokem_55 (subscriber, #10498) [Link]

The hardware universe is unfortunately a little broader than just nVidia, intel, & ATI/AMD. Via/S3 still produce embedded graphics chipsets as does Imagination Tech(PowerVR).

The PowerVR based GMA500 chips that Intel is selling right now have rather poor drivers, and the prospects for improving them are quite poor as documentation won't be released and nouveau style reverse engineering will take quite a long time.

Via has released some documentation on their chips, but from cursory observation, the OpenChrome folks don't have much in the way of developers to work on getting the drivers up to snuff.

Nouveau itself is improving, but by the time they can offer solid support for the chips that are shipping now, nvidia will have released their new DirectX11 chips that will likely require a substantial amount of new reverse engineering work.

Virtualized environments are just now starting to get decent 3d support, and properly working compositing in virtualized environments is still a ways away.

This is not to mention there are situations where disabling compositing is desirable because of problems that applications experience when they are composited. For instance, many windows applications running under wine, crawl to a halt under compositing and lord knows if those problems can ever be fixed.

My point is not that Gnome3 shouldn't be designed to heavily take advantage of compositing, but that it if it does, it should provide some graceful fallbacks that doesn't totally gut the functionality of the environment when compositing doesn't work as expected.

orphaned hardware

Posted Aug 7, 2009 3:33 UTC (Fri) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

I seriously doubt that Gnome is going to break compatibility with other Window managers like Open Box. Could you imagine breaking GTK applications unable to run under KDE or whatever?

It's just that you'll lose the features that Mutter provides if you don't want to use Mutter.

orphaned hardware

Posted Aug 7, 2009 8:52 UTC (Fri) by aquasync (guest, #26654) [Link]

Interesting point regarding virtualised hardware. At work almost all interaction we have with our linux boxes is through NX, so it seems Gnome 3's not going to be usable for that either.

orphaned hardware

Posted Aug 7, 2009 15:21 UTC (Fri) by cortana (subscriber, #24596) [Link]

I hope that the drivers for my laptop get better by the time I'm forced to start using this new window manager.

18 months ago, I bought a laptop with an Intel GM965 video card. This is supposed to be one of the amazing Intel graphics cards that "just works". It has not lived up to this expectation. Currently I can run stellarium, but celestia and anything based on clutter runs at a pitiful 1 frame per 3-4 seconds, when they are lucky to run at all, rather than causing X to segfault.

Now that Intel's newer graphics cards have gone all proprietary, I doubt this situation will ever improve.

orphaned hardware

Posted Aug 7, 2009 18:36 UTC (Fri) by (✭ supporter ✭, #52701) [Link]

First, no one will force you to do anything.

Second, something about your driver situation is horribly, horribly wrong. You need to fix it; the 965 has stellar support and performance is two orders of magnitude better than what you are getting.

Third, a netboot graphics chip, so far, shipped in two netbooks is not the future of Intel graphics. Larabee is. Google it.

Last, just speculation but by the way in which the TTM/GEM has been developed, I suspect that we'll see OpenCL (yes, CL, not GL) available in some officially supported fashion on Linux on Larabee in the form of a 100% open-source driver before the end of 2010.

orphaned hardware

Posted Aug 10, 2009 12:41 UTC (Mon) by kingdon (guest, #4526) [Link]

If you want to google it, spelling it "Larrabee" should work better.

Mutter: a window manager for GNOME 3

Posted Aug 6, 2009 12:21 UTC (Thu) by epa (subscriber, #39769) [Link]

I suppose if all it's doing is drawing rectangular window borders in the same way that people have for the last thirty years, then software OpenGL will be easily fast enough to do it.

Mutter: a window manager for GNOME 3

Posted Aug 7, 2009 4:11 UTC (Fri) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]


OS X used composited desktop with NO acceleration AT ALL for a long time.

They didn't have acceleration until 'Quartz Extreme' came out. You know what the hardware requirements were for GPU driven compositing?

* AMD (ATI) Radeon, AGP-based, 16MB VRAM minimum, or better
* NVIDIA GeForce2 MX, 16MB VRAM minimum, or better

OS X 10.0 came out over EIGHT YEARS AGO with a software-driven composited desktop. This thing ran fine on PowerMAC G3 with 266mhz processors. I know, because I had to set them up for a part-time job I had at the time. (as long as you had enough RAM)

Composition is a GOOD thing.

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