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X.Org vs. XMir On KDE, Xfce, Unity Desktops

Michael Larabel

Published on 24 September 2013
Written by Michael Larabel
Page 1 of 5 - 32 Comments

The latest interesting Linux test results to share this week for those not at Oktoberfest are 2D and 3D/OpenGL benchmark results when testing XMir and a pure X.Org Server configuration with the Xfce, Unity, and KDE desktops as will be found in next month's Ubuntu 13.10 release.

With testing done last month at Phoronix we have found the performance of XMir to be much better than in months prior with huge performance losses. The game changer that landed last month was composite bypass support. Even still, many Ubuntu users are unhappy with Mir/XMir and so far the only major desktop backer of Mir is the Unity desktop from Canonical. For some new interesting performance benchmarks to share, last week before leaving the office I ran some tests of XMir with the Ubuntu System Compositor and then a pure X.Org Server running on the hardware itself. The desktops tested during those two display server configurations were Xfce 4.10, Unity 7.1.0, and KDE SC 4.11.1 with all of the Ubuntu 13.10 "Saucy" packages as of the time of testing.

This round of testing was done with a System76 Galago UltraPro bearing Intel Iris Pro 5200 "Haswell" graphics. Ubuntu 13.10 has the Linux 3.11 kernel and Mesa 9.2 to allow the latest-generation Intel graphics processors to run nicely. These results though are rather best-case scenario given the Iris Pro 5200 is Intel's currently highest-end graphics core and that most of Mir development is done on Intel hardware; Canonical developers use less of the Radeon and Nouveau drivers they have admitted in the past and in my own personal testing I've found more Mir/XMir problems on AMD and NVIDIA hardware.

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