Dynamic Triple Buffering Hopefully Will Land For GNOME 44

Written by Michael Larabel in GNOME on 9 January 2023 at 05:48 AM EST. 32 Comments
For over two years Canonical has been working on dynamic triple buffering for the GNOME desktop with the Mutter compositor. This triple-buffering-when-needed can dramatically boost the desktop performance especially in cases like Intel integrated graphics and Raspberry Pi boards. The triple buffering work hasn't been upstreamed yet but the hope is that it may finally be ready for upstream inclusion with GNOME 44.

While the dynamic triple buffering support hasn't been upstreamed, Ubuntu has been carrying the patches since Ubuntu 22.04 LTS as part of their Mutter packages for the distribution. Others like Debian have also been carrying the patches in order to improve the desktop experience when needing to force the GPU to ramp up its performance state to get ahead in the rendering speed.

Canonical's Daniel Van Vugt shared in this week's Ubuntu desktop status update that after working to fix some issues and further the discussion on triple buffering, it's getting "closer to landing in Mutter 44." It's still not over the finish line and may miss the GNOME 44 cycle, but at least as of now he seems optimistic the work could finally make it upstream in GNOME 44.

The latest Mutter dynamic triple buffering patches can be found via this MR with the most recent patches updated just days ago. There is also related work needed like KMS unifying buffer management and and only holding onto buffers that will scan-out.

The GNOME 44 UI freeze, feature freeze, and API/ABI freeze is coming up in mid-February which is the point it would need to land ahead of. The GNOME 44.0 stable release meanwhile is due to happen on 22 March. We'll see if dynamic triple buffering finally lands this cycle.
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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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