NA Jun 3, 2014 @ 6:00pm
Mir and Wayland Performance Gains and Other Questions
Will the upcoming Mir and Wayland display servers offer noticeable performance gains for Steam games? Or does that all pretty much come down to driver improvement?

Will either of them make game development or porting to Linux easier or more attractive to developers?

Finally, will SteamOS eventually adopt either, or is X adequate for the long-term?

Thank you.
Showing 1-10 of 10 comments
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DeadWire Jun 3, 2014 @ 6:10pm 
neither would effect performance dramatically and SteamOS is going to be using good old X for a very long time....
UraniumDeer Jun 4, 2014 @ 3:43am 
Since most games with native Linux support are likely to use SDL, I believe that most of those games could utilize Wayland or Mir. The Steam client probably won't for a good while, although, one could speculate that it's one of the reasons for the release delay.
Regarding gains:
Since Wayland display servers has the potential to be a lot less messy than the X-server, and have less overhead, it could very well perform and react better than the X-server.
Since Wayland is just a protocol though, I reckon that the speed of any Wayland based display server depends on code quality and how lean it is.
You might not get a whole lot of extra frames per second, by switching from X to Wayland, but it should greatly reduce/remove tearing, and grey fills.

As long as it's run as XWayland, you're likely to see a small drop in performance. It should still improve quality of the frames, and might result in less response time.
Running multiple XWayland instances though, will require more resources, than running pure X though.

Since there's not really any full on Wayland support and/or implementation just yet, it's not easy to say how much better it is, compared to X.
All the open drivers works with Wayland, but I don't know if it's full support.
There's quite a few DEs with experimental Wayland displayservers, but there's, to my knowledge, none of them with a full Wayland release.
nVidia is adding EGL support to their proprietary drivers, to support Wayland, I doubt AMD is working on any support on their closed drivers, but they are contributing to the open one, which is getting closer to performing on par with their closed driver.
Dusk of Oolacile Jun 4, 2014 @ 5:45am 
There's no AMD or nvidia support for Mir or Wayland, so you'd be stuck with open source drivers. This means a huge performance drop compared to X and proprietary drivers, especially for nvidia.
Zyro Jun 4, 2014 @ 6:52am 
Originally posted by LOLCAT:
There's no AMD or nvidia support for Mir or Wayland, so you'd be stuck with open source drivers. This means a huge performance drop compared to X and proprietary drivers, especially for nvidia.

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTY0Njc
Dusk of Oolacile Jun 4, 2014 @ 7:19am 
Originally posted by Zyro:
Originally posted by LOLCAT:
There's no AMD or nvidia support for Mir or Wayland, so you'd be stuck with open source drivers. This means a huge performance drop compared to X and proprietary drivers, especially for nvidia.

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTY0Njc
I never said there never will be. "Working on" doesn't change the current state though.
blackout24 Jun 4, 2014 @ 11:32am 
The game renders directly to the GPU anyway when you're gaming fullscreen so it doesn't matter what display server you use.
Last edited by blackout24; Jun 4, 2014 @ 11:35am
Tux9656 (3.18.16-ck1) Jun 4, 2014 @ 6:12pm 
So long as X isn't dead and still supported by the major Linux distros in some form or another, Steam/SteamOS will most likely continue to use X. It's not worth it for Valve to support X, Mir, and Wayland simply becuase using Mir or Wayland will yeild a one to two percent increase in the number of frames per second. X has been well supported and around for a very long time and not just on Linux. Personally, I'd rather see X11 completely overhauled and cleaned up and released as X12 than have three competing display servers making a support nightmare for companies like Valve wanting to capitalize on Linux software.
Last edited by Tux9656 (3.18.16-ck1); Jun 4, 2014 @ 6:12pm
UraniumDeer Jun 4, 2014 @ 9:41pm 
X11 has been greatly cleaned, torn apart, and updated a lot, as it has been prepared for XWayland. There's a limit to what you can do to 26 year old code, that's been wrapped beyond all recognition, that has horrible documentation, with out breaking compatibility, as the support often comes in the form of hacky code, since no one really knows exactly how X11 work/reacts. That's why something as radically different as Wayland, was started in the first place. I doubt that anyone find it entertaining, having to start over.

If the steam client is made with SDL2, then supporting Mir, Wayland, X11, should be a small feat, and shouldn't require much extra work.
My guess on why they're not adding the support, is because they want Wayland and Mir fully supported by the hardware, and the distros, to avoid extra trouble, and display errors. Such problems would make the client seem incomplete and buggy. However that's the general feel I get from Linux when there's horrible tearing, gray fills, crackling and buggy sound. The tearing and the fills, are the exact reasons that they might be interested in adding support for Wayland and Mir.
I've watched some Valve Dev. Days vids, where Ryan Gordon shows, that it just takes a switch, to add Wayland support when using SDL2. If possible, one could check the hardware driver version in use, and switch to Wayland if the version is greater than the first version to support Wayland, and then check to see if Wayland is availible. If not, default to X11.
Last edited by UraniumDeer; Jun 4, 2014 @ 9:43pm
Doc Holliday Jun 6, 2014 @ 10:21am 
Originally posted by blackout24:
The game renders directly to the GPU anyway when you're gaming fullscreen so it doesn't matter what display server you use.

No it does matter the server has to make the draw to the screen and Wayland has way lower MS doing the same job as X and better input handling also Xorg will give you miss placed frames unlike Wayland that has time stamps on all of your frame's
blackout24 Jun 14, 2014 @ 6:39am 
Originally posted by Doc Holliday:
Originally posted by blackout24:
The game renders directly to the GPU anyway when you're gaming fullscreen so it doesn't matter what display server you use.

No it does matter the server has to make the draw to the screen and Wayland has way lower MS doing the same job as X and better input handling also Xorg will give you miss placed frames unlike Wayland that has time stamps on all of your frame's

Nope....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EGL_(API)#mediaviewer/File:Linux_Graphics_Stack_2013.svg
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Date Posted: Jun 3, 2014 @ 6:00pm
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