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GNOME Shell 42 to have better mouse input that will help gaming

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The GNOME team has announced that with GNOME Shell 42 that will release in 2022, things are going to get better for mouse input which is a nice win for gamers.

Starting with a brief background they said "Traditionally, GNOME Shell has been compressing pointer motion events so its handling is synchronized to the monitor refresh rate, this means applications would typically see approximately 60 events per second (or 144 if you follow the trends).". Not a shortcut the team say, as it was needed to know where to send you input, something apparently expensive on resources and so " it made sense to do with the lowest frequency possible".

Many applications want it different like drawing apps using a brush and "velocity/direction/acceleration calculations" plus games "that render more often than the frame rate (e.g. games with vsync off)".

What's different now then? Well, input events are now sent at the actual device rate which has a huge amount of variation between cheap devices, laptop touchpads, tablets and high-end gaming mice. The result for gamers, they say, should result in "less janky" input.

Something that took a long time to fully implement, which the GNOME team said was due to inputs ending up getting queued up if an application is not reading events in time. Eventually the queue would run out of space and the compositor would shut things down. The fix added works around this but they say it's still temporary with a better solution being proposed for Wayland.

For gamers, artists and anyone else who wants seriously precise inputs - this is a nice win for those using Wayland. It should result in lower input latency, and we don't have to tell you why that's great. Looks like 2022 is going to be good for Linux gamers using GNOME and Wayland.

See more in their blog post.

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elmapul Dec 9, 2021
another fix for a bug we didnt knew existed but was a huge deal...
omer666 Dec 9, 2021
Quoting: elmapulanother fix for a bug we didnt knew existed but was a huge deal...
Wayland's input handling on GNOME is still a work in progress. Not so long ago you couldn't play an FPS on XWayland because mouse pointer couldn't snap to window properly. On the bright side, things are accelerating and taking a great turn of event.

Last edited by omer666 on 9 December 2021 at 3:56 pm UTC
kaiman Dec 9, 2021
So I'm curious: is this only a GNOME + Wayland issue or is this a general GNOME issue that will be addressed for Wayland only (and not for X11)?

The way the article is written, I'm not sure which of the two it is.
whizse Dec 9, 2021
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Quoting: kaimanSo I'm curious: is this only a GNOME + Wayland issue or is this a general GNOME issue that will be addressed for Wayland only (and not for X11)?
It's a good question. The changeset is called "Do not throttle input in wayland event delivery" so I'm guessing this only affected Wayland.
CatKiller Dec 9, 2021
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The linked blog post says
QuoteThis trait inherited from the early days of Clutter...
so it's been affecting X11 things, and
QuoteThis unthrottled event delivery only applies in the direction of Wayland clients
so they're only fixing it for Wayland. I don't know if that means it'll also be fixed for XWayland.
aufkrawall Dec 9, 2021
Hardware cursor on Xorg is mostly (entirely?) unaffected by DE specifics.
grace_art Dec 10, 2021
Oooh, I do hope this helps occasional input lag/hiccups with my drawing tablet, even though it appears they're focusing on implementing this with Wayland... maybe those improvements will trickle down to the rest of us. =) (Or I dual-boot a Wayland distro to use for digital painting?) 80% of the reason I switched to Linux was to flee the hellscape that is Windows Ink/input problems, and this would be just one more cherry on top of the Linux sundae.
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