Sonntag, 30. November 2008

IcedTea6 integration

IcedTea Integration:
Thanks to Mark Wielaard, the XRender pipeline has been merged with IcedTea6 [link].
The pipeline will be built by default, but disabled at runtime, to enable it simply pass -Dsun.java2d.xrender=True.
This way the pre-rewrite version can be used as driver-testing vehicle, hopefully it will lead to stable and fast drivers.

Small enhancements & bug-fixes:
I've just pushed a new version:
* Optimized line-rendering, not triggering fallbacks on GPUs without A8->A8 composition support.
This should be only relevant for i830 (everything smaller than intel-915 chipsets) as well as GeForce6/7.
* Fixed a bug which caused an unescessary mask copy at every non-solid operation (e.g. paints, or translucent colors). For some Java2Demo's this improved performance a *lot* :)
* I've fixed a bug Mark found, where I'd mixed up xrender and x11-pipeline initialization.

Freitag, 21. November 2008

JGears2 / RenderMark

1.) JGears2, a simple Java2D shape rendering benchmark (Zack Rusin's QGears2 ported to Java) is available on the project page.
You can give it a try using Webstart.
Update: Somebody else did the port almost simultaneously, and his veryion even implements the "fance" mode: http://trac-hg.assembla.com/jgears/wiki#Java2D
Well, this clearly deprecates my version ;)

2.) I am currently developing RenderMark, a simple XRender benchmark written in C. It test the areas the pipeline uses heavily, to allow driver/xorg developers to find regressions and optimize their drivers for our type of workload.
A first version, only testing geometry processing, can also be found on the project pages.
Hopefully it will help AMD to optimize their drivers, and will be integrated into the phoronix unix benchmarking suite.

3.) Google decided to build a new datacenter located 2km away from my home. Strange ;)

4.) Today I got Catalyst-8.11 working on my HD3850.
As I suspected its almost software-only - so results are not bad, but also not that good.
Lightbeam/Nimbus took 9300ms vs. 15500ms with the X11 pipeline, and 6800ms with the NVidia driver.
However the nvidia driver hit fallbacks, so once these issues are resolved things should be even better.
By the way, the Radeon does the job in 4000ms on WindowsXP with the D3D pipeline - thats definitivly where I would like to be after the rewrite (and with useable drivers!)

Montag, 17. November 2008

university practical

1.) I am currently trying to find a professor who accepts the xrender-pipeline-rewrite project as university practical. It seems to be a problem that the pipeline does not fit well in an institute's sector, because it covers many fields but nothing in depth.
So if a professor of TU or university vienna is reading this ... ;)

2.) I gave the LightBeam/Nimbus benchmark another try with the new 180.06 Beta-drivers on my GF6600.
XRender: 6800ms / Software: 7600ms / X11: 16000ms

Although there are still performance problems left (we depend on solid operations on A8 destination, but for now the binary driver doesn't support it for GF6/7), the new pipeline is already faster than software-only.
And this was on a single-core CPU, so no benefits because X & java running simultaneously ;)

The new beta release also disables SHMPixmaps by default now, explaining the bad performance of the X11 pipeline. So there are not many drivers left supporting SHMPixmaps - I guess soon Linux users will start to complain about low performance of swing interfaces.

Sonntag, 9. November 2008

KDE4.1 rant

I am a long-time KDE user, and always enjoyed the high functionality and pretty good UI performance of KDE3/QT3.

Since KDE-4.0.1 I try KDE4 based distributions from time to time, and I am quite unhappy.
What really hurts is that QT4's window-redrawing is as slow as GTK's, maybe even slower - even if trolltech advertises it as x-times faster.
Furthermore it seems design and eye-candy has (had?) higher priority than functionality - a lot of common stuff is not implemented or doesn't work as expected. They even maintain their own HTML engine, but are not able to get the basic desktop right.

KDE-3.5 is phased out by many distributions, so I'll have a look at Gnome. However I hope the gnome project will go different ways than its founder and innovate instead of just cloning others technologies.

After so many harsh words, I would like to say thanks to all who made linux on desktop reality. My discomfort with KDE4 is only caused by the high standards (your work) I've become used to in the past.

Mittwoch, 5. November 2008

ATI - Catalyst Linux Drivers

I recently tried ATI's Catalyst 8.10 driver to see how well it accalerates XRender on my Radeon HD3850.

To be honest it was quite a disappointment:
  • RENDER accaleration has to be enabled manually, using the Textured2D/TexturedXRender
  • Locks up on my machine immediatly w/o those options.
  • Other users report screen corruptions when enabling TetxuredXRender, overall it does not seem to work very well.
I really like AMD for releasing their specs, but when it comes to drivers they are currently last.
Novell developers paid by AMD work on RadeonHD, which doesn't provide accaleration of R600/700 (HD2/3/4) and R500(X1x00) accaleration is just copy&paste from the open-source radeon-driver.

Their propietary driver doesn't do well at all for 2D accaleration, at least what I have heard and experienced.
So for now their is no useable RENDER accaleration for ATI's latest GPU generation (released in 2006), not by the closed-source one, and not by any existing open-source driver.

I opened a (rather lobby-oriented) bug-report: http://ati.cchtml.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1338
Would be great if you could post a comment and show that there are users who care about 2D accaleration, and not only 3DMark points.