A Software-Based Pixman Renderer For Wayland's Weston
Written by Michael Larabel in Wayland on 6 January 2013 at 09:21 AM EST. 10 Comments
There hasn't been too many new Wayland/Weston developments to report on recently, but being published this weekend for review and comments is a new Pixman renderer for Weston. This Pixman renderer allows for pure software rendering with the Weston reference compositor and adds MIT-SHM support to the X11 back-end.

Vasily Khoruzhick published the set of four patches allowing for this Pixman-based renderer. Pixman is the pixel manipulation library that can handle image compositing, trapezoid rasterization, and other low-level features. The MIT-licensed library is used by the X.Org Server, the Cairo graphics library, and elsewhere. Pixman is software-based but does have various CPU optimizations and other performance work to try to work as fast and efficiently as possible.

MIT-SHM is the Shared Memory Extension for the X Window System for exchanging image data between the server and client as shared memory. This shared memory extension allows for greater performance rather than always pushing the data over the wire to the X.Org Server. With this support, shared memory surfaces will be used with the Pixman renderer rather than hitting on EGL.

The Pixman renderer for Weston amounts to just less than 400 lines of new code by leveraging this existing and well-tuned library.

The set of four RFC patches for this Pixman renderer and MIT-SHM support for the Wayland Weston compositor are currently sitting on the wayland-devel list.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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