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Accelerated OpenGL in a virtual machine is advancing with virglrenderer

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Collabora put out a fresh technical blog post today to talk a little about virglrenderer, with the latest version 0.8.0 (released recently) enabling a big leap for accelerated OpenGL within a virtual machine.

The work they talk about, which Collabora took the lead on this dev cycle with help from Google Chrome OS team, is aimed at essentially creating a virtual 3D GPU for use in QEMU virtual machines (more on that here). Quite a different approach to GPU Passthrough!

As an example of it, they showed off multiple Linux games using QEMU with virglrenderer. These include: Tomb Raider 2013, Alien Isolation, Outlast, Metro Last Light Redux, The Talos Principle Legacy, Shadow Warrior and Portal in the below video that went up today:

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Of course, it's nowhere near done and work continues on performance especially for newer and more demanding games. However, the possibilities that work like this could enable are quite exciting don't you think?

See their blog post on it here for the full tech details and another video showing off an alternative method. I'll admit some of the finer points are a little lost of me right now, as I've not followed any of this until today. As always, it's a learning process and hopefully some will find this news tip interesting—I certainly did.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Misc, OpenGL
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10 comments

Shmerl 28 Aug, 2019
Helps to run Linux guests with accelerated desktop instead of falling back to llvmpipe.
raneon 28 Aug, 2019
Definitively interesting for desktop acceleration in a VM! Last year there was as well the GSOC project Vulkan-virgl, but it seems to be stalled.
mirv 28 Aug, 2019
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I was aware of this project, but didn't realise it was so far along.

Use cases range quite a bit - I've worked places where a server can spin up multiple users on a single server, and it would be nice to have some graphics accel for everyone. And not just gaming - but increasingly it can be used for web browser interactions, CAD purposes (although I daresay it'll be a while before this gets purchase there because of how resource hungry some of that is, but it's a future possibility), video playback, etc.

It's also good for development environment archival. Stash it away on a virtual machine, and then it's always available if you need it. Ideally, it could also provide a way to run very old games that aren't kept up to date anymore, and don't work with recent libraries. I've done that with Windows games that didn't work via Wine.

Really nice to see this project progressing.
johndoe 28 Aug, 2019
Nice to read that this project is advancing.
But the problem I have with it is that it does ONLY work locally.

Until virgl does not work remotely over SPICE it is useless for ME - but I clearly see the advantage for developers.


Last edited by johndoe on 29 August 2019 at 9:22 am UTC
Xaero_Vincent 28 Aug, 2019
Very cool. I think this feature is mainly for Chrome OS users running Linux inside a Crostini VM but can be useful for Linux desktop users running Linux VMs. Chromebooks will need big GPU performance upgrades to make vGPU an acceptable experience. The integrated Intel graphics are poor and even worse when emulating a GPU in software and factoring in the overhead.

What I really want to see is DirectX 11 support for Windows guests with a virtual GPU, so that Easy Anti-Cheat protected games can be played on Linux.


Last edited by Xaero_Vincent on 28 August 2019 at 10:44 pm UTC
mirv 28 Aug, 2019
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Quoting: johndoeNice to read that this project is advancing.
But the problem I have with it is that is does ONLY work locally.

Until virgl does not work remotely over SPICE it is useless for ME - but I clearly see the advantage for developers.

Actually, if I read correctly, this is indeed something that might become possible (or at least more easily possible).
(also, I'm not sure exactly what you mean by SPICE, which to me was always integrated circuit logic simulation software, but a bit of googling tells me it might be some remote virtual machine access software....so I'm guessing you mean that).
johndoe 29 Aug, 2019
Quoting: mirv[Actually, if I read correctly, this is indeed something that might become possible (or at least more easily possible).
(also, I'm not sure exactly what you mean by SPICE, which to me was always integrated circuit logic simulation software, but a bit of googling tells me it might be some remote virtual machine access software....so I'm guessing you mean that).

I mean the "virtual machine access" software which runs over the SPICE protocol - mainly developed by Redhat (soon IBM).
I use it on a daily basis for my work and it is incredibly useful.

You can simply drag and drop files from your linux desktop into the SPICE client window and the file lands on your windows VM desktop - very usefull and works vice versa.
With SPICE there are also no barriers when it comes to virtual desktop resolution (qxl driver and spice-vdagent installed in guest). You can have a virtual desktop of 859x736 (for example) in size if you want - simply resize the window.
I know of NO other client that can do this.
In my opinion SPICE could BE the MS-RDP KILLER, but the guys at Redhat are simply blind or stupid.


Last edited by johndoe on 29 August 2019 at 9:23 am UTC
14 29 Aug, 2019
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Ooo, this is really sweet. Yes, SPICE would be a fantastic next step. Imagine Raspberry Pi as a thin client... I guess Steam Link is the same thing. Still, it would still be very useful to me if it was local only. I run VirtualBox and libvirtd locally to tinker with stuff besides my dedicated hypervisor.
johndoe 29 Aug, 2019
Quoting: 14Ooo, this is really sweet. Yes, SPICE would be a fantastic next step. Imagine Raspberry Pi as a thin client... I guess Steam Link is the same thing. Still, it would still be very useful to me if it was local only. I run VirtualBox and libvirtd locally to tinker with stuff besides my dedicated hypervisor.

I don't know if SPICE is supported by the VirtualBox hypervisor but for sure with XEN and KVM.
Here you can read more about SPICE and it's features...

https://www.spice-space.org/features.html
Dedale 29 Aug, 2019
Even with my small understanding of this it sounds very neat ! :)
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