[linux-elitists] Can we woo you first? [Was: How MS could woo me]

Jeff Waugh jdub@perkypants.org
Wed Dec 24 06:51:53 PST 2003

<quote who="Jeff Waugh">

> Not sure that is reasonable rationale for your tone. You could have said,
> "Wow, MS got a lot out of their old GUIs, wonder where the bottlenecks are
> in ours?"

Oops, wanted to mention a few reasons why things had slowed down, and areas
that could be improved. One of the biggest things for GTK+ 2.x is Pango text
rendering. It does *wonderful* things for i18n, but that comes at a price.

What makes this worse is xrender being fairly unoptimised in software, and
without acceleration on most hardware atm. Good news: freedesktop.org's new
xserver project (based on Keith Packard's kdrive) is seeing quite a lot of
work in this area, particularly for ATI hardware (rage128 and radeon).

There's also wacky stuff waiting in the wings like the upcoming alternative
for xlibs called XCB, which provides an asynchronous API that will lead to
better performance in toolkits. There's an xlibs compatible wrapper for this
too, so we'll get some of the benefits without any work.

It's great to see more useful progress in the X world, leading to cool new
stuff like xrestop [1] by Mathew Allum. It looks like top, but it tells you
who's doing naughty things in X. :-) One of the first things you'll notice
is xmms chewing up a chunk of memory on window allocations. Naughty!

- Jeff

[1] http://www.freedesktop.org/Software/xrestop

GVADEC 2004: Kristiansand, Norway                    http://2004.guadec.org/
     "Linux is not like Novell, it isn't going to run out of money - it
              started off bankrupt, in a way." - Steve Ballmer

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