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NVIDIA getting geared up to support hardware accelerated XWayland

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Looks like 2021 really could properly be the year of Wayland on the Linux desktop. For plenty it already is but NVIDIA have been a sore spot and it looks like they're moving forward now too.

NVIDIA's Erik Kurzinger has submitted a Merge Request to the xserver GitLab titled "Xwayland: Support hardware accelerated rendering with the proprietary NVIDIA driver", with the two patches included "intended to accompany upcoming support in the proprietary NVIDIA driver for hardware accelerated GL and Vulkan rendering with Xwayland". Kurzinger continues to mention that once a driver is out with the needed hooks, this code should "just start working".

The patches are being sent out to be considered, so that they can get some feedback and see if there's any substantial concerns about their approach to it.

As for the performance of it? They expect it to be "on-par with native X11 based on the benchmarking I've done", although there's "an annoying extra copy required for presentation of windowed applications, but the impact doesn't appear to be significant" and you shouldn't see it for full-screen applications as long as the compositor works with the zwp_linux_dmabuf_v1 interface.

Why is all this important? With Wayland coming along to replace X11 as a big shakeup for Linux as a whole, you need XWayland to provide that backwards compatibility to enable existing applications and games to continue working well into the future.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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49 comments
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Shmerl 7 Jan
Quoting: BielFPsI wish this was the case, but there's a lot of fanboys using Linux who are defending Nvidia, even when it's obviously their fault that wayland don't work with their graphic cards. Even a half-arsed "fix" from them is more than enough to make a lot of linux gamers to still give them money.

That's usually the perception of those who come from Windows and there indeed Nvidia is very dominating and people really don't care about whether something is open source or not. So when such gamers are switching to Linux they can also bring that kind of attitude with them, but even they often get what the point is eventually.

The way I see it, the actual trend among Linux gamers is growth for AMD and decline for Nvidia. But influx of former Windows gamers might continue to offset that.

I think with AMD investing more in gaming cards in general, situation on Windows will balance out too, so that influx will have less of an impact on Linux in the future.


Last edited by Shmerl on 7 January 2021 at 5:12 pm UTC
3zekiel 7 Jan
Quoting: BielFPs
Quoting: 3zekielThe issue has nothing to do with proprietary or open source.

I didn't said that the problem was the driver being proprietary, I said the problem is the said driver not supporting GBM.

Indeed, but I was referring the original question "Is it impossible for my graphics card vendor to do full Wayland support while keeping its driver closed?"
Shmerl 7 Jan
Quoting: 3zekielIndeed, but I was referring the original question "Is it impossible for my graphics card vendor to do full Wayland support while keeping its driver closed?"

I think the overall answer is it's impossible, because kernel developers have strict rules now against "symbol poisoning". Nvidia for years tried to dance around it, and with various tricks they managed to skirt the issue for some things, but they can't avoid it completely from what I understand.

I also find it despicable for a huge company like Nvidia to play these games instead of working with kernel developers properly like AMD and Intel do.


Last edited by Shmerl on 7 January 2021 at 6:40 pm UTC
3zekiel 7 Jan
Quoting: ShmerlI also find it despicable for a huge company like Nvidia to play these games instead of working with kernel developers properly like AMD and Intel do.

Sadly, they are not the only one, a fair bit of the Android chip makers also act like that.
Honestly, I don't get why they do so. All the really important stuff is likely hidden in the firmware anyway. That they close higher level stuff like Cuda / DLSS, I can understand because there is value there. But I don't really see the value there is in a kernel level driver for a graphics card... Power sequences can be hidden in firmware, perf monitors can also be hidden, all the stuff that allows to make high value tools (advances profiling/debugging etc) can be hidden.

So only thing I see is they use code with other companies licences, or they just have some old guys in business who think that closed source driver is super duper important cuz you know "trade secrets". Of course, none of them understand that the guys which might have an interest in those "trade secrects" are more than able to analyze a binary (I mean, try ghydra to see how easy it is nowadays...).
I think the first one is likely, namely because of stuff like that: https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=HDMI-Closed-Spec-Hurts-Open ...


Last edited by 3zekiel on 7 January 2021 at 7:31 pm UTC
Shmerl 7 Jan
Quoting: 3zekielI don't get why they do so. All the really important stuff is likely hidden in the firmware anyway. That they close higher level stuff like Cuda / DLSS, I can understand because there is value there. But I don't really see the value there is in a kernel level driver for a graphics card.

Market manipulation shenanigans most likely. If Nvidia can control what features are exposed in the kernel driver, they can charge higher prices for industrial users for using their cards and not expose those features in their drivers for everyone else.

If the driver is open, everyone can use their hardware however they want. This is also the possible reason why they hinder Nouveau from working properly. If Nouveau will work, the open stack will unlock their hardware for anything and they'll lose ability to charge more.

The only way to beat that kind of attitude is for competition to start pushing them stronger.


Last edited by Shmerl on 7 January 2021 at 7:46 pm UTC
3zekiel 7 Jan
Quoting: Shmerl
Quoting: 3zekielI don't get why they do so. All the really important stuff is likely hidden in the firmware anyway. That they close higher level stuff like Cuda / DLSS, I can understand because there is value there. But I don't really see the value there is in a kernel level driver for a graphics card.

Market manipulation shenanigans most likely. If Nvidia can control what features are exposed in the kernel driver, they can charge higher prices for industrial users for using their cards and not expose those features in their drivers for everyone else.

If the driver is open, everyone can use their hardware however they want. This is also the possible reason why they hinder Nouveau from working properly. If Nouveau will work, the open stack will unlock their hardware for anything and they'll lose ability to charge more.

Hmmm in theory yes, but even that, you can lock pretty much anything you want at firmware level, which is signed/encrypted so much safer to lock whatever you want. And whatever the driver is, can't do much in front of firmware. Throw in some fuses/antifuses to choose what to enable/disable at foundry and you are good to go.
I mean it is possible they actually do it because of that, but technically does not make that much sense.
As for gimping Nouveau driver, what is fun is they actually contribute to it for Tegra.

I mean, the drivers with special sauce for Titan and co, I expect they remain proprietary of course - same as AMD workstation drivers. But features like virtual gpu are easy to simply kill at firmware level, so whatever the licence of the driver, customers still can't do anything. So yeah, it might be that someone in the company thinks it's important to lock driver if you want to lock features ... But then someone need to tell them this is really not the best way to do it.


Last edited by 3zekiel on 7 January 2021 at 8:27 pm UTC
Shmerl 7 Jan
I agree, they could make it work better for open drivers, no matter what their market games are. But they didn't care I suppose and as it stands, they don't want Nouveau to work properly.
Alm888 8 Jan
Quoting: BielFPs…there's a lot of fanboys using Linux who are defending Nvidia…
Personal insults already?
Why there are a lot of ATi users in the nVidia thread? Don't you have anything better to do than spew your hatred towards nVidia?
Quoting: ShmerlThat's usually the perception of those who come from Windows and there indeed Nvidia is very dominating and people really don't care about whether something is open source or not. So when such gamers are switching to Linux they can also bring that kind of attitude with them, but even they often get what the point is eventually.

The way I see it, the actual trend among Linux gamers is growth for AMD and decline for Nvidia. But influx of former Windows gamers might continue to offset that.

I think with AMD investing more in gaming cards in general, situation on Windows will balance out too, so that influx will have less of an impact on Linux in the future.
Yeah, those "nVidia fanboys" definitely should have come from God-forsaken Windows! And they continue to poison True Linux Users' minds with their heretical choice of accursed nVidia products! True pure-breed Linux users have always used ATi, even back when those cards outright refused to work on Linux (say "Hello!" to fglrx). How dare they use cards that just work while true follower of the Linux Way must manually compile the latest Mesa drivers from Git applying patches and using new "sometimes working sometimes crashing on start" ACO shader compiler!

So, yeah, let's bash those silly ex-Windows users for their wrong choice.

P.S. Not to mention, AMD "definitely not fanboys" talking about "open source" and Linux Way while playing proprietary Windows games via WINE using closed source AMD firmware in the drivers look comical.


Last edited by Alm888 on 8 January 2021 at 8:24 am UTC
Shmerl 8 Jan
Quoting: Alm888Yeah, those "nVidia fanboys"

Without all that pointless language, Windows users who already have Nvidia will likely have it when switching to Linux, that was the point. And some of them won't understand why blob is a problem, it's pretty pointless to deny this. Simply because on Windows they never even think about this point.

But as above, this only offsets the trend, it doesn't really reverse it, so in the big picture it's not a problem, even if it just delays the decline of the blob.


Last edited by Shmerl on 8 January 2021 at 8:42 am UTC
Hori 8 Jan
Quoting: Alm888P.S. Not to mention, AMD "definitely not fanboys" talking about "open source" and Linux Way while playing proprietary Windows games via WINE using closed source AMD firmware in the drivers look comical.

I'm not an AMD user, but... why would playing proprietary games just because you support open drivers?

Personally I don't care about closed-source end-products. I care about open platforms, frameworks, technology... the stuff that's placed at the "foundation" level. Because that's what everything else higher up is using and is built upon. That's where collaboration and transparency is needed, and bias can be avoided (like Nvidia's bias which was debated in the previous comments).

Sure I'll always be happy when I see open source games, that is great, but IMO it is not a requirement!
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