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KDE SC 4.7 May Utilize OpenGL 3.x For Compositing

Free Software

Published on 28 July 2010 08:35 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software
46 Comments

We're just days away from the release of KDE SC 4.5, but details are now surfacing from Martin Graesslin about his planned KWin compositing changes in the KDE SC 4.6 and 4.7 releases. Compositing in KDE SC 4.6 should be much faster, support mobile rendering using OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0, and potentially offer a stable ABI. With KDE SC 4.7 is where we're looking at the KDE world to potentially begin tapping OpenGL 3.0 for a better compositing experience.

In Martin's post entitled Next generation OpenGL compositing in 4.6, he outlines these initial plans and in particular covers how the KWin compositing performance should be much faster and a step-up than what's found in KDE SC 4.5 and earlier releases.

What we also found interesting was "In a next step I want to go to OpenGL 3 in 4.7, but the free drivers do not yet support this generation." KDE SC 4.7 is due out in about one year's time and if it begins to take advantage of OpenGL 3 functionality it will be rather interesting. However, only the proprietary AMD/NVIDIA drivers on Linux provide the OpenGL 3/4 support so the Mesa DRI and Gallium3D drivers must catch-up within the next year for this to happen. As I said in the recent OpenGL 4.1 announcement, seeing any open-source driver fully support OpenGL 4.0/4.1 this calendar year is rather unlikely but the OGL3 support is moving along at a rate where we may see it supported by the common open-source graphics drivers by next July/August.

Clutter, which is the tool-kit used by GNOME's Mutter compositing window manager and the GNOME Shell desktop as part of GNOME 3.0 already support targeting both the OpenGL and OpenGL ES APIs, but does not yet take advantage of the newer OpenGL 3.x specification.

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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