Keith Packard Exploring "Semi-Automatic Compositing" For The X.Org Server

Written by Michael Larabel in X.Org on 3 February 2018 at 06:53 AM EST. 18 Comments
Keith Packard's latest work for Valve on improving the Linux display stack is on what he's exploring around "semi-automatic compositing" but at this point it's still a risky bet with the new protocol yet to be written.

Keith is broadly working on trying to improve composite acceleration within the X.Org Server to reduce the number of copies needed to get an application's contents to the screen, being able to get the screen contents delivered on time and for the application to know that, and to improve this overall process.

With timing being key in virtual reality to avoid motion sickness and the like, in cooperation with Valve he's working on making it possible so the Steam VR compositor would be able to reliably present content at known times and for knowing when that content was presented. Keith had previously been working on an "automatic compositing" idea but for easing integration for existing X window managers to support it, he is now pursuing a "semi-automatic compositing" approach.

If you are interested in learning all the technical details about this new semi-automatic compositing plan, see the blog for all the details. This plan is still in the early stages and he is collecting feedback and trying to figure out if his design is workable, so stay tuned for more.
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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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