Ubuntu Touch/Tablet Is Using SurfaceFlinger
Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 22 February 2013 at 01:09 AM EST. 60 Comments
One of the first things I wanted to check when installing the Ubuntu Touch/Tablet Developer Preview is seeing what display server / compositor was in use by this newest Ubuntu Linux variant. Wayland? Compiz on X?

With the release on Thursday of the Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview, I was especially curious what display server / compositor they were using since previously they expressed interest in Wayland/Weston for the Ubuntu desktop and mobile devices. Earlier this month there were then reports that Ubuntu developed its own alternative -- not X or Wayland. They might also be using DirectFB or Android's SurfaceFlinger or some other alternative.

Well, after installing the Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview on the Google Nexus 7 (Tegra 3) and Nexus 10 (Exynos 5 Dual), I had an answer.

The current Ubuntu Touch implementation is relying upon SurfaceFlinger, the compositor developed by Google that's used within Android, as its system compositor.

This isn't a huge surprise that Canonical is relying upon Android's SurfaceFlinger as its compositor instead of Compiz on X, Wayland, or other alternatives. Ubuntu Touch relies upon an Android layer that is very close to CyanogenMod 10.1. The low-level layer powering Ubuntu Touch is the open-source Android / CyanogenMod code and with that comes SurfaceFlinger as the compositor.

More exploration results from this early Ubuntu Touch preview are forthcoming, including Ubuntu performance benchmarks from the Google Nexus 7 and Nexus 10.
About The Author
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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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