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Sub-Surfaces Support Added To Wayland Protocol

Wayland

Published on 16 November 2013 01:25 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Wayland
10 Comments

After the support has been within Wayland's Weston reference compositor for several months, developers have now added sub-surfaces support to the Wayland core protocol itself. Wayland sub-surfaces can make for efficient use of video players and windowed OpenGL games on Wayland.

Sub-surfaces in Weston has been mainline since May and now all the kinks should be worked out in its design so it was determined ready to move to the core Wayland protocol itself rather than just being a Weston addition. Sub-surfaces are surfaces tied to a parent Wayland surface (wl_surface) and ultimately then these surfaces combined form the actual window.

Pekka Paalanen explained in the Git commit adding sub-surfaces to Wayland, "The representative use case for sub-surfaces is a video player window. When the video content is given its own wl_surface, there is no need to modify the video frame contents after decoding or copy them into a whole window sized buffer before submitting it to the compositor. This allows efficient, zero-copy video presentation paths, where video decoding hardware produces a (YUV) buffer, which eventually ends up in a (YUV-capable) hardware overlay and is scanned out directly. This can also be used for zero-copy presentation of windowed OpenGL content, where the OpenGL rendering engine does not need to draw or avoid window decorations. Sub-surfaces allow mixing different buffer types into the same window, e.g. software-rendered decorations in wl_shm buffers, and live content in EGL-based buffers."

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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