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Cube view on a hardware accelerated Xgl server
Cube view on a hardware accelerated Xgl server

Xgl is an X server architecture designed to take advantage of modern graphics cards via their OpenGL drivers, layered on top of OpenGL via glitz. It supports hardware acceleration of all X, OpenGL and XVideo applications and graphical effects by a compositing window manager such as Compiz or Beryl. The project was started by David Reveman and first released on January 2, 2006. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1920x1080, 1722 KB) Summary Compiz (Quinnstorm Branch + Unstable Patches) 09/14/2006 Build on Xgl (KDE, Nvidia 4xAA, 16xAS) Screenshot of cube on top of desktop to show shader blur and CGWD Created by SaguratuS Licensing This is a screenshot of... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1920x1080, 1722 KB) Summary Compiz (Quinnstorm Branch + Unstable Patches) 09/14/2006 Build on Xgl (KDE, Nvidia 4xAA, 16xAS) Screenshot of cube on top of desktop to show shader blur and CGWD Created by SaguratuS Licensing This is a screenshot of... KDE 3. ... OpenGL (Open Graphics Library) is a standard specification defining a cross-language cross-platform API for writing applications that produce 3D computer graphics (and 2D computer graphics as well). ... OpenGL (Open Graphics Library) is a standard specification defining a cross-language cross-platform API for writing applications that produce 3D computer graphics (and 2D computer graphics as well). ... Look up glitz in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In computing, hardware acceleration is the use of of hardware to perform some function faster than is possible in software running on the normal CPU. Examples of hardware acceleration include blitting acceleration functionality in graphics processing units (GPUs) and instructions for complex operations in CPUs. ... The X video extension, often abbreviated as XVideo or Xv, is a video output mechanism for the X Window System. ... In X Window System, a compositing window manager is a unified X window manager and compositing manager program. ... Compiz is one of the first compositing window managers for the X Window System that is able to take advantage of OpenGL-acceleration. ... Beryl is a compositing window manager for the X Window System. ... David Reveman is a software developer. ... January 2 is the second day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Contents

History

Xgl was originally developed on public mailing lists, but for a long time, until January 2, 2006 most [1] development of Xgl was done behind closed doors. On that day the source to Xgl was re-opened to the public [2] [3], and included in freedesktop.org, along with major restructuring to allow a wider range of supported display drivers. X server backends used by Xgl include Xglx and Xegl. In February 2006 the server gained wide publicity after a public display where the Novell desktop team demonstrated a desktop using Xgl with several visual effects such as translucent windows and a rotating 3D desktop. [4] [5] [6] The effects had first been implemented in a composite manager called glxcompmgr (not to be confused with xcompmgr), now deprecated because several effects could not be adequately implemented without tighter interaction between the window manager and the composite manager. As a solution David Reveman developed Compiz, the first proper OpenGL compositing window manager for the X Window System[7]. Later, in September 2006, the Beryl compositing window manager was released as an alternative to the original Compiz. January 2 is the second day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... freedesktop. ... Novell was also the name of a road bicycle racing team. ... Transparency is possible in a number of graphics file formats. ... An example of a graphical user interface in Windows XP, with the My Music window displayed In computing, a window is a visual area, usually rectangular in shape, containing some kind of user interface, displaying the output of and allowing input for one of a number of simultaneously running computer... Compiz is one of the first compositing window managers for the X Window System that is able to take advantage of OpenGL-acceleration. ... In X Window System, a compositing window manager is a unified X window manager and compositing manager program. ... Beryl is a compositing window manager for the X Window System. ... In X Window System, a compositing window manager is a unified X window manager and compositing manager program. ...


Backends

OpenGL does not specify how to initialize a display and manipulate drawing contexts. Instead these operations are handled by an API specific to the native windowing system. So far there are two different backend approaches to solving this initialization problem. Most likely the majority of each backend will contain the same code and the differences will primarily be in the initialization portions of the servers.


Xglx

Xglx was the first backend implemented for this architecture. It is also the one where the majority of development takes place at the moment. It requires an already existing X server to run on top of and uses GLX to create an OpenGL window which Xgl then uses, similar to Xnest. This mode is only intended to be used for development in the future, as it is redundant to require an X server to run Xgl on top of. At XDevConf 2006 NVIDIA did a presentation arguing this is the wrong direction to take because the layered server abstracts features of the cards away. This makes driver specific capabilities like support for 3D glasses and dual monitor support much more difficult [8] (PDF). However, delegating initialization to an existing X server allows the developers to immediately focus on server functionality rather than dedicating substantial time to specifics of interfacing with numerous video hardware. At the moment, Xglx does not officially support multiple monitors, although it has been achieved on Ubuntu Dapper / ATI / NVIDIA (twinview). GLX (acronym for OpenGL Extension to the X Window System) provides the glue connecting OpenGL and the X Window System: it enables OpenGL programs to draw to a window of the X Window System. ... Xnest is an X Window System server that shows its output in a window. ... NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ: NVDA) (Pronunciation: IPA: ) is a major supplier of graphics processors (graphics processing units, GPUs), graphics cards, and media and communications devices for PCs and game consoles such as the original Xbox and the PlayStation 3. ...


Xegl

Xegl is the future of Xgl and a long term goal of X server development.[citation needed] The Xegl server will share much of the drawing code with the Xglx server, except that the initialization of the OpenGL drawable and context management is handled by the Embedded GL specification, referred to as EGL API. The current implementation uses Mesa-solo to provide OpenGL rendering directly to the Linux framebuffer or DRI to the graphics hardware. As of August 2005 Xegl can only be run using Radeon R200 graphics hardware and development has currently been delayed. It is likely that it will remain so until the Xglx server has proven itself and the closed source drivers add support for the EGL API, in which case it should be a transparent replacement for the nested Xglx server. Mesa 3D is an open source graphics library that provides a generic OpenGL implementation for rendering 3-Dimensional graphics on multiple platforms. ... The Linux framebuffer (fbdev) is a graphic hardware-independent abstraction layer to show graphics on a console without relying on system-specific libraries such as svgalib or the heavy overhead of the X Window System. ... In computing, the Direct Rendering Infrastructure (DRI) is an interface used in the X Window System to securely allow user applications to access the video hardware without requiring data to be passed (slowly) through the X Server. ... 2005 is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Radeon 8500 (a. ...


Rationale

Structuring all rendering on top of OpenGL could potentially simplify video driver development. It removes the artificial separation of 2D and 3D acceleration. This is advantageous as 2D operations are frequently (and counterintuitively, since 3D would imply 2D) unaccelerated. It also removes all driver-dependent code from the X server itself, and allows for accelerated Compose and Render operations independent of the graphics driver. Additionally, composite managers can use the OpenGL API for rendering, allowing for quite amazing effects. It has been reported that affiliates from NVIDIA and ATI are willing to release binary-only drivers for an OpenGL-based X server once a defined API has been established, though on the Xorg Developers Conference 2006 it was indicated by NVIDIA that they are quite happy with the existing driver interface as well. The idea of extending this is being worked on in the AIGLX project by the Fedora Project. [9] 2D computer graphics is the computer-based generation of digital images—mostly from two-dimensional models (such as 2D geometric models, text, and digital images) and by techniques specific to them. ... A 3D rendering with raytracing and ambient occlusion using Blender and Yafray 3D computer graphics are works of graphic art that were created with the aid of digital computers and specialized 3D software. ... In computing, hardware acceleration is the use of of hardware to perform some function faster than is possible in software running on the normal CPU. Examples of hardware acceleration include blitting acceleration functionality in graphics processing units (GPUs) and instructions for complex operations in CPUs. ... Xrender (aka X Rendering Extension) introduces digital image composition as the foundation of a new rendering model within the X Window System. ... AIGLX running with Compiz on Fedora Core 6 Accelerated Indirect GLX (AIGLX) is an open source project founded by the X.Org Foundation and the Fedora Core community to allow accelerated indirect GLX rendering capabilities to X.org and DRI drivers. ...


Competitors

Hardware-accelerated OpenGL window and desktop rendering, limited to using OpenGL for texture composition, has been in use in Mac OS X, in a technology called Quartz Extreme, since Mac OS X v10.2. Quartz 2D Extreme is an enhancement of this feature and more directly comparable to Xgl. Like Xgl, Quartz 2D Extreme brings OpenGL acceleration to all 2D drawing operations (not just desktop compositing) and ships with Mac OS X v10.4, but is disabled by default pending a formal declaration of production-readiness. Sun Microsystems' Project Looking Glass [10] is one of the pioneer hardware-accelerated desktops. Quartz Compositor is the windowing system that is responsible for the user interface in Mac OS X. On a Mac OS X system, the Quartz Compositor can be seen in a process list as Window Manager or, in more recent versions, WindowServer. ... Mac OS X version 10. ... Quartz 2D is the primary graphics library in Mac OS X. It supersedes QuickDraw, which was used in earlier versions of the Mac OS, now known as Classic. Quartz 2D is based on version 1. ... Mac OS X version 10. ... In computing, Project Looking Glass is a free software project under the GPL to create an innovative 3D desktop environment for Linux, Solaris, and Windows (Although Windows native applications cannot be used). ...


Microsoft developed a similar technology based on DirectX, named the DWM, as part of its Windows Vista operating system. This technology was first shown publicly at Microsoft's October 2003 PDC. The Microsoft Corporation, (NASDAQ: MSFT, HKSE: 4338) is a multinational computer technology corporation with global annual revenue of US$44. ... DirectX is a collection of APIs for handling tasks related to multimedia, especially game programming, on Microsoft platforms. ... Desktop Window Manager (DWM) is currently the name for the new windowing system that will be available in all versions of Windows Vista, except Starter Edition, to enable the new Aero user interface. ... Windows Vista is the name of the latest release of Microsoft Windows, a line of proprietary graphical operating systems used on personal computers, including home and business desktops, notebook computers, and media centers. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Controversy

Xgl technology requires good OpenGL performance, along with several unique features of recent 3D cards, and for the most part these can only be accessed using binary-only (proprietary) kernel modules for ATI and NVIDIA cards. There are some open source drivers for these cards but they allow 2D only, or allow primitive OpenGL 3D capabilities. Currently this is a deadlock situation because graphics card manufacturers have stated they have no intention to sponsor fully open source drivers, as this would expose trade secrets about their hardware. Intel, though, has recently announced that it will open source its drivers [11], beginning with the Intel 965 Express Chipset. This is a milestone in driver development for Linux. In addition, reverse engineered drivers for the ATI Radeon r300 and r400 cards have improved to the point where Xgl can be run on them.


Availability

As of May 2006, the Xgl X Server (and related components including the Compiz compositing manager and associated graphical config tools) ships as a non-default in one major Linux distribution, SUSE 10.1, and is included in Frugalware Linux or SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. Xgl can be set up fairly easily for Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper Drake) and 6.10 (Edgy Eft) and for Freespire with binary packages from unofficial repositories. Xgl is also available as an overlayed package in Gentoo Linux, and as a PKGBUILD for Arch Linux. 2006 is a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The X Window System logo In computing, the X Window System (commonly X11 or X) is a network-transparent windowing system for bitmap displays. ... SUSE (properly pronounced , but often pronounced /suzi/) is a major retail Linux distribution, produced in Germany. ... This article might not be written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia entry. ... SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (rebranded from Novell Linux Desktop) is a desktop-oriented Linux distribution supplied by Novell, Inc. ... Ubuntu (IPA pronunciation: ) (pronounced like ooh-boon-too) is a widely used Linux distribution predominantly targeted at personal computers. ... Freespire is a community-driven Linux distribution which is composed entirely of Free and open source software, while providing users the choice of including proprietary software including multimedia codecs, device drivers and application software as they see fit. ... A repository is a central place where data is stored and maintained. ... The Gentoo Linux operating system (pronounced ) is a Linux distribution named after the Gentoo penguin. ... Arch Linux is a Linux distribution founded by Judd Vinet that emphasizes simplicity. ...


The latest Mandriva Linux 2007 includes official packages to run Compiz, using Xgl and AIGLX. Mandriva provides drak3d, a tool to configure a 3D Desktop in two clicks. Also Sabayon is a distro that has XGL already installed by default. Mandriva (merger of Mandrakesoft, Lycoris, and Conectiva) is a French software company, and creator of Mandriva Linux. ... Compiz is one of the first compositing window managers for the X Window System that is able to take advantage of OpenGL-acceleration. ... AIGLX running with Compiz on Fedora Core 6 Accelerated Indirect GLX (AIGLX) is an open source project founded by the X.Org Foundation and the Fedora Core community to allow accelerated indirect GLX rendering capabilities to X.org and DRI drivers. ...


Please note that if AIGLX or NVIDIA's implementation of AIGLX can be used, there's no need to use Xgl at all. Xgl is not needed for any Intel graphics chipset from 810 onwards, NVIDIA GeForce 2 to GeForce 7 (through the official 9629 driver), and ATI cards with AIGLX support. AIGLX is enabled by default in Fedora Core 6; the compositing manager is enabled by running System->Preferences->Desktop Effects and clicking "Enable Effects". Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft) support AIGLX by default. And is very easy to install (for a medium user) Beryl with binary NVIDIA drivers.


References

  • Xgl
  • Xegl
  • Announcement of Xgl on the xorg mailing list
  • Accelerated X flame wars!—Maybe not — an article about the differences between AIGLX and Xgl
  • EGL specifications
  • Article: The State of Linux Graphics - overview of various approaches to replace the current X server

See also

KDE 3. ... AIGLX running with Compiz on Fedora Core 6 Accelerated Indirect GLX (AIGLX) is an open source project founded by the X.Org Foundation and the Fedora Core community to allow accelerated indirect GLX rendering capabilities to X.org and DRI drivers. ... Theres no denying that thin client has become a buzzword in the computing industry of late. ... OpenGL (Open Graphics Library) is a standard specification defining a cross-language cross-platform API for writing applications that produce 3D computer graphics (and 2D computer graphics as well). ... Compiz is one of the first compositing window managers for the X Window System that is able to take advantage of OpenGL-acceleration. ... Beryl is a compositing window manager for the X Window System. ...

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Image File history File links Information_icon. ... Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... Wikimedia Commons logo by Reid Beels The Wikimedia Commons (also called Commons or Wikicommons) is a repository of free content images, sound and other multimedia files. ...

HOWTO, forums, support

Live CD, downloads

  • Kororaa Linux is a Live CD that can be used to test XGL on your computer without any sort of installation or configuration. NOTE: The Live CD has been put back online, but no longer has ATI or NVidia drivers due to a GPL violation.
  • Mandriva supports XGL in its latest Live CD.
  • Sabayon Linux is a Live CD supporting XGL and AIGLX. The Live CD contains the ATI and NVidia drivers and can be used as a Live CD, but can also be installed on a hard disk.
  • Binary packages for Ubuntu
  • RR4/RR64 - 32/64bit Xgl LiveDVD

Screenshots, screencast, demo video


  Results from FactBites:
 
XGL/ZGL CAD Geometry Import Converter (2483 words)
XGL is quickly becoming the ideal format for transmitting 3D data over the Internet and enabling applications with complex functionality, such as collaboration, configuration, and data association.
XGL is an adequate, but not ideal 3D file format to translate scene data from one program to another.
Otherwise, XGL is an adequate file format for moving general purposes triangular-based mesh data between 3D programs, or a 3D program and a destination viewing program, with associated color and texture attributes, some lighting and hierarchy.
Xgl - openSUSE (1225 words)
Xgl must be used in combination with a compositor/window manager to expose all of its capabilities.
Xgl will, of course, work with merged framebuffer setups, but it will not be aware of the different monitors, e.g.
Xgl is the frontend to several different flavors, with the glx backend (also called Xglx) being the major development driving force at the moment.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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