KDE Plasma 5.8 To Finally Allow LLVMpipe, Drops EGL On X11 Option
Written by Michael Larabel in KDE on 15 August 2016 at 08:26 AM EDT. 32 Comments
KDE --
There are several changes to KWin's OpenGL compositor support with the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.8 release.

KWin maintainer Martin Gräßlin has written about these KWin compositing changes for Plasma 5.8. Highlights include:

- LLVMpipe is finally "supported." Many other modern Linux desktops like the GNOME Shell and Unity have been for a while now falling back to using the Gallium3D LLVMpipe software driver in cases where no hardware GPU driver is found or working. KDE developers hadn't been in favor of using LLVMpipe but using XRender compositing instead. Now, however, they have come to the conclusion of no longer blocking LLVMpipe. In part due to Qt Quick supporting LLVMpipe, KDE developers are allowing LLVMpipe to be used on Plasma 5.8+ when no other GPU drivers are available. The developers are working on having the graphically intensive effects automatically get disabled when software emulation (LLVMpipe) is used to help yield better performance.

- EGL/GLX windowing system selection is no longer offered as a compositor option. The developers decided EGL support is "still not a good enough option on X11. Way too often we saw bug reports about rendering being broken and it was caused by using EGL." Thus they've decided to drop this option meaning that X11 users will only have GLX exposed (while you can still sneak EGL on X11 via configuration file editing or environment variable hack) while of course the KWin EGL support is used on Wayland.

Many X.Org developers have been pushing for more EGL on X11 and various strides made in the past few years, but it looks like it's still not good enough yet...

- The option to "unredirect fullscreen windows" is being removed, a.k.a. the option many Linux gamers used for full-screen gaming. Due to various bugs, this option is being removed and instead KDE developers want the games to specify to block the compositing -- unfortunately though not many games currently do this.

- Support for DRM render nodes/devices is now supported.

- Support for restarting the compositor on Wayland.

More details on these OpenGL changes in KDE Plasma 5.8 via Martin's blog. Plasma 5.8 is expected to be officially released on 18 October.

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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 10,000 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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