Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 23rd Dec 2008 20:20 UTC, submitted by AdamW
Mandriva, Mandrake, Lycoris The first pre-release of Mandriva Linux 2009 Spring is now available. This alpha concentrates on updating to the major desktop components of the distribution, including KDE 4.2 Beta 2, GNOME 2.25.2, Xfce 4.6 Beta 2, server 1.5, and kernel 2.6.28 rc8. It is also the first distribution to introduce the major new Tcl/Tk release, 8.6. The alpha is available only in the DVD Free edition with a traditional installer and no proprietary applications; future pre-releases will add the live CD One edition with proprietary drivers. Please help test this first pre-release and report bugs to Mandriva.
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RE[5]: KDE 3?
by lemur2 on Fri 26th Dec 2008 05:50 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: KDE 3?"
Member since:

"KDE 4 is, after all, the ONLY desktop environment for Linux that makes use of the system's GPU to accelerate graphics rendering of the desktop. As a consequence, it out-performs any other Linux desktop, even the "lightweight" ones such as fluxbox and openbox, on any system that has even a modest (but working) GPU.

Nice spin, lemur. MS's and Apple's reps would be hard pressed to do better. But to rephrase in clearer terms, KDE4 is the ONLY desktop environment that requires you to beta test proprietary video drivers, or have certain specific video hardware that has very specific feature support in FOSS drivers to be usable.

I'm sure you'll have a host of links to throw back that have little to do with the topic at hand.

Excuse me? What is this rant all about?

How on earth is it the fault of KDE development team that the current version nvidia proprietary driver for Linux has a long-standing (apparently over two years) performance bug that drastically affects the Xrender API, which in turn affects only a few Linux desktop applications such as: Firefox 3 (specifically scrolling), OpenOffice and especially KDE4?

You most certainly do not need exotic hardware to run KDE 4 and to get the best-perfoming Linux desktop out of it:

It is not acceptable if KDE 4 feels slower than KDE 3, and it is not acceptable if KDE 4 requires brand new hardware. At the same time, if the drivers for older hardware are simply not up to the task and those drivers aren't updated ... there's not much we can do about it and that hardware, which would otherwise be capable of better things, shouldn't be part of our target. It's also absolutely acceptable if certain features only work if the hardware can support them; this is mostly applicable to features reliant on more advanced graphics techniques.

I've seen the KDE 4 Plasma workspace as well as KDE 4 apps run smoothly on devices as small as the N810, on netbooks like the EEE PC, on older desktops and on new bling-bling laptops. The code base does scale well, but unfortunately it doesn't scale well everywhere ... yet. What gives?

Well, it turns out that what gives is that certain models of nvidia cards have abysmal Xrender performance using the current nvidia proprietary driver, or any version from the last two years.

Anything else works fine. Intel graphics, ATI, Via, any number of others, and even older nvidia cards ... all fine. And nvidia cards using the nvidia proprietary driver of version 180.06 or later ... also fine.

It requires only 2D accelerated graphics, which is not at all an "exotic feature". It should be working almost everywhere:

Xrender was written in 2000.

Apparently, if Xrender doesn't work properly, you can now opt to use OpenGL for the KDE4 desktop instead.

It Works For Me

If you think that I'm displaying a lot or maybe even too much confidence, here's why I have that confidence:

Right now, KDE 4 flies on my laptop, and it's hardly a screamer by today's standards. So I know it's possible for KDE 4 to perform very well.

If you have a nvidia card that suffers this bug in the driver, and you want to run KDE4, and you do not want to run a beta driver ... then run the nouveau driver, which works for 2D acceleration but not 3D.

So how many systems still running would there be that do not have a GPU, and hence be unsuitable targets for KDE4? well, there would of course be some, but it can't be any more than a few percent, if that. The GPU has been a part of PCs now for over 12 years, surely. I'm sure that I once had a 3D-accelerated PC game called Tomb Raider - running under MSDOS.

Edited 2008-12-26 06:10 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[6]: KDE 3?
by sbergman27 on Fri 26th Dec 2008 17:00 in reply to "RE[5]: KDE 3?"
sbergman27 Member since:

Excuse me? What is this rant all about?

I have two comments.

1. Concision is obviously not your forte:

steve@firefly:~$ wc -c lemur2_responses.txt
4555 lemur2_responses.txt
steve@firefly:~$ wc -w lemur2_responses.txt
762 lemur2_responses.txt

2. You seem really worked up over this issue. Perhaps because the Linux graphics platform of choice is Nvidia hardware with Nvidia's drivers. From the OSNews story above:

I should say that performing like crap on the most popular Linux graphics platform in 2008, as you spend so many words admitting that KDE4 does, is a problem.

Edited 2008-12-26 17:07 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[7]: KDE 3?
by lemur2 on Sat 27th Dec 2008 01:54 in reply to "RE[6]: KDE 3?"
lemur2 Member since:

... Perhaps because the Linux graphics platform of choice is Nvidia hardware with Nvidia's drivers. From the OSNews story above:

I should say that performing like crap on the most popular Linux graphics platform in 2008, as you spend so many words admitting that KDE4 does, is a problem.

It is indeed a problem because many people, yourself included apparently, have apparently totally got the wrong end of the stick here.

It is not KDE4 that performs horribly, it is rather (and most unfortunately) "the Linux graphics platform of choice, Nvidia hardware with Nvidia's drivers" that performs horribly.

Benchmarks show that Nvidia hardware with Nvidia's (current) drivers as a graphics platform on Linux performs slower than software rendering.

(3D performance is fine, it is only the 2D performance of Nvidia's current binary drivers that suffer this bug).

The problem does not only affect KDE4, it also affects some other modern desktop applications such as Firefox 3 and OpenOffice, because they too utilise the GPU (on systems where one is identified) to speed up rendering operations. Unfortunately, Nvidia hardware with Nvidia's (current) drivers actually slows it down.

From the first link I gave above:
There are ongoing complains about poor 2D performance of NVidia GPUs, about 2 years ago it started with people complaining about slow text rendering with subpixel-antialiasing, but the more programs use the XRender api, the more complaints are posted. KDE4 which uses XRender a lot and also relies on more advanced feature is really slow (I would call it almost unuseable), also FireFox3 is no joy with nvidia's binary drivers.

Fortunately this point is about to become moot. Nvidia will no doubt soon release their current beta drivers, and the performance bug will go away.

When it finally does so, the Linux graphics platform of choice will finally correctly support KDE4, Firefox 3 and OpenOffice, and other programs that utilise the Xrender functionality (as it should have done all along), and this will finally reveal to the majority of Linux users that KDE4 is actually easily the fastest desktop platform available for Linux.

Reply Parent Score: 2