XWayland Linux Gaming Performance With GNOME Wayland On Fedora 21

Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 25 September 2014 at 09:00 AM EDT. Page 1 of 3. 23 Comments.

With this week's Fedora 21 Alpha release delivering the very latest open-source Linux graphics driver code, the newest Wayland code, and the updated GNOME 3.14 desktop with its day-to-day support for Wayland, I've been busy benchmarking.

Last year I posted some XWayland gaming performance tests with the initial Wayland experience on Fedora 20, but since then the Wayland support has evolved a long ways as have the open-source Linux GPU drivers. As there's still few Linux games that are officially Wayland compatible (at least SDL2 now has its Wayland back-end), the test is mainly focusing upon what the XWayland performance overhead is like compared to running games / OpenGL benchmarks under a pure X11 Server. Another significant change this year was the X.Org Server 1.16 release that mainlined the XWayland code and now uses GLAMOR.

Within this article from an updated Fedora 21 stack, I ran some Linux gaming tests under its stock X.Org Server 1.16 environment and then rebooted and logged into the GNOME on Wayland session. From there the Phoronix Test Suite ran and I used the variety of graphics tests at my disposal to push the limits of XWayland.

A Radeon HD 6870 graphics card with the mature R600 Gallium3D driver was used for testing with Linux 3.17-rc6 + Mesa 10.3-rc3. While modern versions of Mesa support OpenGL 3.3 for Radeon Gallium3D, when running the tests under the Wayland session only OpenGL 3.0 was being exposed off the same Mesa build.

Aside from the gaming results about to be shown, overall the GNOME on Wayland experience on Fedora 21 is quite usable. I didn't encounter any crashes / segmentation faults, glaring bugs, or other stumbling blocks like I did when testing GNOME Wayland in its early days. Overall it's quite in good shape for Fedora 21 and in the weeks ahead I'll have more Fedora/GNOME Wayland tests.

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