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Zeb Figura of CodeWeavers has proposed a Windows NT synchronization primitive driver to help performance of running games and applications designed for Windows on Linux with Wine / Proton.

As per the RFC (request for comments) posted onto the Linux kernel mailing list Figura notes: "This patch series introduces a new char misc driver, /dev/ntsync, which is used to implement Windows NT synchronization primitives."

Then giving some background on it: "The Wine project emulates the Windows API in user space. One particular part of
that API, namely the NT synchronization primitives, have historically been implemented via RPC to a dedicated "kernel" process. However, more recent applications use these APIs more strenuously, and the overhead of RPC has become a bottleneck.

The NT synchronization APIs are too complex to implement on top of existing primitives without sacrificing correctness. Certain operations, such as NtPulseEvent() or the "wait-for-all" mode of NtWaitForMultipleObjects(), require direct control over the underlying wait queue, and implementing a wait queue sufficiently robust for Wine in user space is not possible. This proposed driver, therefore, implements the problematic interfaces directly in the Linux kernel."

Figura did a presentation on it at the Linux Plumbers Conference in 2023 that you can see below:

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What kind of performance difference might we see with something like this? The difference depends on your hardware and what you're trying to run but some FPS examples were given from multiple users including:

Game Upstream ntsync improvement
Anger Foot 69 99 43%
Call of Juarez 99.8 224.1 125%
Dirt 3 110.6 860.7 678%
Forza Horizon 5 108 160 48%
Lara Croft: Temple of Osiris 141 326 131%
Metro 2033 164.4 199.2 21%
Resident Evil 2 26 77 196%
The Crew 26 51 96%
Tiny Tina's Wonderlands 130 360 177%
Total War Saga: Troy 109 146 34%

What hardware and software each was tested on was not noted.

Some impressive numbers but again it's hardware dependent, but even so any performance uplift would be welcome, so hopefully the patch series gets some good comments and approval after any tweaks are done that may be needed. Looks like we could end up seeing a nice future performance improvement for Linux and Steam Deck gaming with Wine and Proton.

Source: Phoronix

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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18 comments
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whizse Jan 24
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  • Supporter
Essentially this is the long awaited replacement/improvement for esync and fsync.
DrNick Jan 24
Sounds like my Steam Deck is gonna have an easier time running some games.
based Jan 24
I hope this gets tested more asap
apprentix Jan 24
Fantastic!


Last edited by apprentix on 24 January 2024 at 11:58 am UTC
Sakuretsu Jan 24
Oh how I love the Linux devs!

Thank God you guys exist!
F.Ultra Jan 24
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  • Supporter
Note that the improvements in the table is vs using the wineserver only so this is not compared with fsync or esync. Looks like the performance is similar to fsync/esync according to the presentation, just that some edge cases like Pulse Events and WaitOnAll now works while they are broken on fsync/esync.
Shmerl Jan 24
Quoting: F.UltraNote that the improvements in the table is vs using the wineserver only so this is not compared with fsync or esync. Looks like the performance is similar to fsync/esync according to the presentation, just that some edge cases like Pulse Events and WaitOnAll now works while they are broken on fsync/esync.

Yeah, for Linux gamers the main benefit of this will be simply that things will finally be upstreamed. Those edge cases will barely matter for anyone.
ToddL Jan 24
Quoting: DrNickSounds like my Steam Deck is gonna have an easier time running some games.
I can't wait to see these changes get added to the Linux kernel and SteamOS because if these numbers are any indication, it sounds like we're in for some awesome gaming experiences on the Steam Deck
Shmerl Jan 24
Quoting: ToddLI can't wait to see these changes get added to the Linux kernel and SteamOS because if these numbers are any indication, it sounds like we're in for some awesome gaming experiences on the Steam Deck

Steam Deck is already using fsync with corresponding kernel API, so it already benefits from better than wineserver approach. I.e. this ntsync isn't going to improve performance over esync or fsync if I understood correctly. It will just make it more formally correct for edge cases.


Last edited by Shmerl on 24 January 2024 at 4:34 pm UTC
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