GNOME On Wayland Screencasting Is About To Be A Heck Of A Lot More Efficient

Written by Michael Larabel in GNOME on 24 February 2020 at 07:30 PM EST. 16 Comments
Pending GNOME Mutter changes in conjunction with the new PipeWire 0.3 will offer a big improvement in making use of GNOME's screencasting support from Wayland sessions.

GNOME's screencasting / monitor sharing support under Wayland has already been in quite good shape compared to other desktops/compositors on Wayland, but with PipeWire 0.3 and pending Mutter changes is a big step forward. With PipeWire 0.3 is support for importing DMA-BUF file descriptors and sharing it with clients, which can avoid excess image copies between CPU and GPU memory. As we see time and time again, using DMA-BUF can provide big wins for performance thanks to properly designed zero-copy buffer sharing between drivers and hardware blocks.

Georges Stavracas worked on this DMA-BUF-based GNOME Wayland screencasting support and shared a brief video on his blog and embedded below.

In the pending merge request, Georges commented, "The result is, as expected, massive: with this MR applied, Mutter / GNOME Shell consumes almost no extra CPU beyond what it consumes regularly." It remains to be seen though if this code will land in Mutter ahead of GNOME 3.36.
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