Ubuntu's Chromium Snap Finally Seeing Progress On Supporting VA-API GPU Acceleration

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 4 July 2022 at 07:40 AM EDT. 25 Comments
Those making use of Ubuntu's Chromium Snap for running the Google open-source web browser have been without VA-API support for GPU-based video acceleration within this sandboxed app. Fortunately, it looks like that will soon be crossed off the list for ensuring Ubuntu users can enjoy VA-API acceleration for lowering CPU resources and better power efficiency on Intel graphics and other Mesa Gallium3D drivers supporting VA-API.

Going back to February 2019 has been this bug report around the Chromium Snap lacking video hardware decoding support with VA-API. The Video Acceleration API is used by the Intel open-source drivers and other Mesa Gallium3D drivers with the VA state tracker like AMD Radeon cards with RadeonSI.

After three years it looks like that bug may soon be closed thanks to Chromium Snap updates in the past few days working to get the VA-API support enabled. Nathan Teodosio and Sebastien Bacher have been among the Ubuntu developers recently working on sorting out the VA-API support for Chromiun within Snap's confines.

The most recent comments on the aforementioned bug report note some of the builds seem to be failing and there is the possibility of needing some environment variables and Chromium flags (e.g. LIBVA_DRIVERS_PATH=/snap/chromium/current/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/dri/ --use-gl=egl --enable-features=VaapiVideoDecoder,VaapiVideoEncoder --disable-features=UseChromeOSDirectVideoDecoder --ignore-gpu-blocklist --disable-gpu-driver-bug-workaround), but they appear to be on track to having it sorted out. Those interested in trying out the latest Chromium Snap with hardware acceleration support can see this Launchpad page.
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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 20,000 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, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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