Xwayland Has Gained Support For Hardware Acceleration On Machines With Nvidia graphics Cards

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Xwayland, a component that allows X programs to run on the Wayland display server, has finally gained support for running X programs under Wayland with hardware acceleration on Nvidia hardware. This has been a sour-spot for Wayland since its inception, not having backwards compatibility with the most widely used display server is kind of a bummer. Support is finally there in the git master branch thanks to what looks to be a joint Nvidia/RedHat effort.

written by 林慧 (Wai Lin) 2021-04-10 - last edited 2021-04-10. © CC BY

MSI NVidia GT710 GPU on Gigabyte AM1M-S2H motherboard.jpg
MSI Nvidia GT710 GPU on a Gigabyte AM1M-S2H motherboard.

Those using AMD and Intel graphics hardware has taken hardware acceleration under Wayland for granted as long as Wayland has existed. Nvidia users, who are forced to use the proprietary binary blob from Nvidia, have not been so lucky. They have so far been shocked by utterly slow software rendering if they have tried to run X applications under Wayland.

Four patches (Move dmabuf interface to common glamor code, move formats and modifiers functions to common glamor code, Add check_flip() glamor backend function and implement pixmap_from_buffers for the eglstream backend) will finally allow GNU/Linux running Wayland on Nvidia graphics hardware to run X applications under Wayland without a gigantic performance-penalty. The patches will allow X clients to use hardware acceleration, as they should, when they run under Wayland - even if the computers graphics card has a Nvidia logo on it.

The patches will allow OpenGL and Vulkan applications meant for the X display server to run under Wayland with a near-zero performance penalty.

There is a tiny tiny catch. The patches will only work with upcoming versions of Nvidia's proprietary display driver, they do nothing for the current version. This is, in reality, not a huge deal: An updated Nvidia driver will be out by the time these new XWayland patches make it into a stable release and, laster, the repositories of major GNU/Linux distributions.

The patches were partly written by Erik Kurzinger from Nvidia and Olivier Fourdan and Michel Dänzer from RedHat.

There are also a few other completely unrelated and far, far less important things going on behind the scenes in the Wayland project right now. The Collabora-employed 白左 graphics developer Daniel Stone would very much like to rename the git master branch to "main" so he and his consulting company can feel as trendy as some of the 白左 activists at GitHub and GitLab when they are not participating in vicious bullying campaigns against elderly individuals. Jan Engelhardt, who appears to be the only voice on reasons on the Wayland mailing list, had this to say about that proposal:

"Part of the argument that Github/SFC made was inclusiveness, which is readily debunked, and when the hypocrisy is pointed out, one gets waved off as unserious. That's unserious in itself and shows quite a double standard.

The serious suggestion is: try leaving it as is, save all parties the retargeting mess, and concentrate on continued software development.

Not to mention that there isn't even a need to retarget, because you can simply have two branches with the same commit state. Work off MRs as time permits, and ventually all MRs to master are done, at which point the ref can be removed."

We can only guess when Nvidia users will actually have the coming hardware acceleration when they run X applications under Wayland. The XWayland patches were submitted last night (April 9th). It may take a while before there is a new XWayland release with them and a new Nvidia driver release to go along with the driver-side support those patches expect. Our best educated guess is in two months time, not two weeks and not two years. Only time will show.

(2 votes)



8 months ago
Score 0++
So why again do people keep praising Nvidia's drivers for Linux when it's actually behind the curve compared to the main competitor and so frequently at odds with the direction that Linux graphics stack developers want to move?
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