GNOME On Wayland Is No Longer Frustratingly Slow With ASpeed Graphics

Written by Michael Larabel in GNOME on 4 January 2019 at 05:22 PM EST. 26 Comments
GNOME 3.32 fixes a frustrating issue if you have tried using GNOME on Wayland (or even just the GDM log-in manager with Wayland) while running on ASpeed graphics as is common to many workstation/server boards: it's no longer horrendously slow.

After multi-monitor GNOME Wayland performance issues, by far my second biggest issue with GNOME's Wayland session has been the horrific performance when GNOME starts up the Wayland session due to ASpeed having a KMS driver. The rendering gets punted over to LLVMpipe with ASpeed just providing display hardware, but it's been an absolutely awful user experience. Whenever occasionally having GNOME on one of the many workstation/server boxes having ASpeed to drive the display, it's been a disaster... Even the time it takes to update the screen following keyboard input has been lengthy, let alone mouse movements.

Thankfully, this afternoon in GNOME's Mutter code was this commit to use the shadow frame-buffer on software OpenGL if preferred. The preference to use ShadowFB is indicated by a DRM capability and is set in the instance of the ASpeed KMS driver.

This closes the issue pertaining to GNOME keyboard and mouse input being extremely slow with ASPEED graphics.

GNOME 3.32 with this change (and many other improvements) will be out in March.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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