Looking Glass Released For KVM Frame Relay, High Performance Windows VM Gaming
Written by Michael Larabel in Virtualization on 14 December 2017 at 06:03 AM EST. 26 Comments
Geoffrey McRae has published the code to the "Looking Glass" project he's been working on as a "extremely low-latency" KVM frame relay implementation for guests with VGA PCI pass-through.

Long story short this allows for a graphics card PCI pass-through setup with a KVM guest whereby no separate monitor is needed but rather Looking Glass is like a virtual display for that GPU dedicated to the VM and displays the VM's rendered contents on your main monitor/GPU. Up to now those wanting to use a secondary graphics card pass-through setup with a virtual machine had to use a separate monitor, but with Looking Glass you can get by with a single monitor for the system.

For those that have been around a while, this is not to be confused at all with Sun's former Project Looking Glass:

Ah the good old Sun tech days, anyways, I digress. This new "Looking Glass" project for KVM Frame Relay should be quite interesting for gamers. Now if you are still relying upon Windows for some of your gaming sessions, rather than using Wine or running a virtual machine with some virtual GPU drivers, assuming you have a secondary discrete GPU, you could now dedicate that to a VM without needing to attach a separate monitor. The contents of that secondary GPU's frame-buffer will simply be displayed as a window within your Linux desktop.

The developer comments that this should low-latency, near-native performance. Currently looking glass supports only Windows 10 on the guest side while on the host side requires OpenGL ARB_buffer_storage support (OpenGL 4.3+) for optimum performance with this implementation using shared memory segments for passing the frame-buffer to the host.

Those wishing to learn more can find the Looking Glass source code hosted on GitHub and more information via this project site.
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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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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