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LCA: Catching up with X.org

Feb 05, 2009, 19:04 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jonathan Corbet)

"Keith Packard's talk started with that theme. When he spoke at LCA2008, there were a few missing features in X.org. Small things like composited three-dimensional graphics, monitor hotplugging, shared graphical objects, kernel-based mode setting, and kernel-based two-dimensional drawing. One of the main things holding all of that work back was the lack of a memory manager which could work with the graphics processor (GPU). It was, Keith said, much like programming everything in early Fortran; doing things with memory was painful.

"That problem is history; X now has a kernel-based memory management system. It can be used to allocate persistent objects which are shared between the CPU and the GPU. Since graphical objects are persistent, applications no longer need to make backup copies of everything; these objects will not disappear. Objects have globally-visible names, which, among other things, allows them to be shared between applications. They can even be shared between different APIs, with objects being transformed between various types (image, texture, etc.) as needed. It looks, in fact, an awful lot like a filesystem; there may eventually be a virtual filesystem interface to these objects."

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