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OpenGL Becoming a Requirement For the Linux Desktop

Unknown Lamer posted about a year and a half ago | from the economic-stimulus-plan dept.

GNOME 229

An anonymous reader writes "Modern Linux desktops like Ubuntu's Unity and the GNOME Shell have placed a requirement on OpenGL 2.0+ support for handling their compositing window managers and desktop effects. Wayland's Weston also needs OpenGL ES 2.0 support. Now with modern Linux distributions like Ubuntu 12.10, rather than falling back to a 2D unaccelerated desktop if you don't have a sufficient GPU or graphics driver, users are being forced to run LLVMpipe as a CPU-based software rasterizer. LLVMpipe works fine if you are on a new PC with a fast x86-64 CPU, but the OpenGL-based Linux desktops are causing growing pains for ARM hardware, virtual machines, servers, multi-seat computers, and of course all older hardware. LLVMpipe is a Mesa Gallium3D driver that uses LLVM for run-time code generation as an attempt at accelerating graphics faster on the CPU. So much for Linux being good for old computers?" The KMS based graphics stack is already effectively unusable on AGP systems (if you have SMP + AGP, there are race conditions somewhere leading to really hard crashes that appeared a couple of years ago and dozens of years old open bugs with no resolution other than "use PCI mode" which cuts bus bandwidth by 4 or 8 times, and still doesn't work with SMP), but for those with older PCIe/IGP systems you could always runs Window Maker, Sawfish, Enlightenment, Open Box, or one of many other window managers without a compositor. Of course then you lose compositing, and there aren't any usable external compositors for some reason. The flipside to this is that moving to OpenGL as the primary interface to the GPU means one fewer driver that has to be written, and will probably lead to an overall improved experience for those with supported hardware given the limited resources Free Software drivers authors have.

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229 comments

Windows Server (-1, Troll)

DogLittle (2759581) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751077)

There's a simple solution - install Windows Server 2003/2008. It doesn't need fancy graphics card to operate. That is, if you are looking for server/virtual server OS. Otherwise you can just go with Windows XP or Windows 7.

Re:Windows Server (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751105)

Lol...Windows is the answer? Get real the world runs on Linux whether you like it or not. Plus the article is talking about Desktop linux not server. Who uses a UI on a server, the shell is all you need. In addition, Apple and Linux are gaining marketshare on Microsoft, you better hope Windows 8 or 9 works out otherwise the world is going to be a very different place.

Re:Windows Server (2, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751293)

Get real, the world runs on whatever the fuck it needs to run. That means Linux, Windows, BSD, HPUX, what-the-hell gets the job done (or, does approximately so, and makes the business-goons-who-make decisions happy).

Leave your fantasy idealism world and look at reality some time.

Re:Windows Server (4, Insightful)

hxnwix (652290) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751121)

There's a simple solution - install Windows Server 2003/2008. It doesn't need fancy graphics card to operate. That is, if you are looking for server/virtual server OS. Otherwise you can just go with Windows XP or Windows 7.

A headless windows server doesn't need a fancy graphics card... but neither does a headless linux server.

Re:Windows Server (0)

FBeans (2201802) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751361)

"OpenGL Becoming a Requirement For the Linux Desktop"

Your 'Solution' isn't even close. The 'problem' the OP raised is about /linux/ *desktops*

Perhaps if the problem was "How to troll, look stupid and or generally suck at reading..." then maybe your response would be closer to the mark!

Re:Windows Server (4, Funny)

websitebroke (996163) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751455)

Oh come on, are Slashdotters getting to be _that_ humorless. I need a Windows server like I need a hole in the head, but I laughed at the comment.

Re:Windows Server (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751497)

Where there are zealots, humor flees.

Lets face it, slashdot has zealots on both sides of the fence here.

Re:Windows Server (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752491)

Your 'Solution' isn't even close. The 'problem' the OP raised is about /linux/ *desktops*

If you need a server with a graphical desktop, his solution is close.

Fluxbox (5, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751085)

Still no OpenGL required for Fluxbox. Still snappy on old hardware too.

Re:Fluxbox (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751263)

Second this.

Re:Fluxbox (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751313)

Or KDE 3.x, XFCE, or Gnome 2.x

You don't need to have the latest and best, as long as it does what you need.

Re:Fluxbox (5, Informative)

Windwraith (932426) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752087)

Let's keep people educated. KDE 4.x (Kwin) doesn't require GL either, it's completely optional and can be disabled, "live", via a keyboard shortcut or setting an automatic window property (like launching a game > disable compositing".

It's important that people knows KDE doesn't require GL to run, so they:
A) Keep maintaining it.
B) Others see it as an example of how to do things right.

openbox+xcompmgr (1)

melikamp (631205) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751349)

While I don't understand the summary at all, I am quite happy with running openbox and xcompmgr. All I ever want is konsole transparency, anyway. Couldn't care less for other eye-candy.

Re:openbox+xcompmgr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751365)

xcompmgr has memory leaks that are probably never going to be fixed, given that they haven't been fixed in the last eight or so years.

Re:openbox+xcompmgr (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751885)

I don't care about the candy either and run fvwm on Ubuntu. But it's a hack, because more and more the graphical desktop is tied into things like mounting removable media and hardware administration GUIs. So, my wife and kids can't use USB sticks or check the printer queue any more. Sure, with enough effort I can hack around all that, but it amounts to maintaining a mini-distro.

Re:openbox+xcompmgr (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751909)

What he is saying is KDE and Gnome and their associated stacks are starting to be designed in ways that are unusable if you can't support OpenGL 2. OpenGL 2 requires semi beefy CPU or hardware graphics acceleration. So the lowest end systems won't be able to run KDE or Gnome.

Why anyone would want to run a heavy GUI on very low end hardware wasn't explained.

Re:openbox+xcompmgr (5, Insightful)

Narishma (822073) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752507)

Don't lump KDE in with the others. It's just Gnome and Unity doing this.

Re:openbox+xcompmgr (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752129)

How often do you need to read what's behind your console? And how often does what's behind your console interfere with reading what's on it? I can't imagine any circumstance where the former would happen more often than the latter.

Dear OP (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751089)

You're wrong OP,

There's no requirement for OpenGL on the desktop. Modern desktops which supply Unity also supply Unity 2D, which is an implementation based on Qt.

Re:Dear OP (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751149)

you are out of date. Unity 2d is now dropped.

Re:Dear OP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751167)

No you are wrong Unity2D has been dropped.

Re:Dear OP (3, Interesting)

Crayon Kid (700279) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751967)

While Unity 2D may have been dropped, Ubuntu Precise (which is as you probably know a LTS) offers the "Gnome Classic (no effects)" option, which uses Metacity and no Compiz (install gnome-session-fallback). There are some small differences from older "pure" Gnome 2 (and there are plenty of tutorials on the web describing how to close the gap) but I haven't found anything critical, overall it's close enough to the Gnome 2 experience.

Re:Dear OP (5, Informative)

Windwraith (932426) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752167)

Too many comments forget Kwin. Which kind of shows nobody really uses KDE4, apparently, because it's a killer feature nobody knows about: It doesn't require GL and can enable and disable it on the fly without losing anything you are doing at the time. Even with automated rules!

Re:Dear OP (-1, Flamebait)

Sable Drakon (831800) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752471)

Nobody's running KDE because half the time it's a piece of crap. Most of the time, it's either Gnome or Xfce.

Re:Dear OP (1)

segedunum (883035) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752767)

Obviously you've not been keeping up. Gnome's development path is dead....and Xfce? Seriously? Don't make me laugh. A window manager designed for people who don't actually do anything.

People aren't complaining about this with KDE because it works. It's only Gnome and Unity pushing this on people, but articles like this are par for the course when working out why the Linux desktop has utterly failed. OpenGL is a requirement for Gnome and Unity where they are collectively called the 'Linux desktop' and a Gnome logo is slapped next to it. Seriously, it's over.

Re:Dear OP (1)

segedunum (883035) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752779)

Too many comments forget Kwin. Which kind of shows nobody really uses KDE4, apparently...

If peoples' KDE4 desktops actually work then why would they be bothered?

Servers? (1, Insightful)

Ynot_82 (1023749) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751173)

This ain't Windows, boy.

go back to your remote desktop, everything-has-to-interact-with-the-GUI-scripting, and other such nonsense...

Re:Servers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751409)

Stop huffing paint thinner dude.

Ok, yeah, no good CLI only connection, but then again, on my Linux servers, it's been a while since I've been able to do all my tasks without X either. Both Linux and windows servers I administrate involve (a) GUI management applications for the services/daemons and (b) command line tools for scripting more complex tasks and system management (though at times windows has GUI tools for system management which makes things a bit nicer for non-reporting tasks).

Not sure what the hell the GUI scripting stuff your talking about it.

Re:Servers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751487)

Thanks for your worthless anecdote. We all know there are GUI tools for Linux. That one person is unable to function without them does not mean they are required.

Wtf? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751517)

"Both Linux and windows servers I administrate involve (a) GUI management applications for the services/daemons "

You need to improve your unix CLI skills if you have to use a GUI to manage system daemons.

Re:Wtf? (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752629)

I doubt that. I sadly am in the same boat as the above user. I administrate several applications who's configuration has to be done by a GUI (and a very poorly designed one at that). They have a batch automation tool for some features, if you want to go through their horribly inefficient configuration file language, but that makes the GUI look like a well written tool. Sadly, others at my organization are even worse off - they only have GUI tools for the Linux stuff they need to administrate.

Linux does a lot more than just databases, firewalls, web servers, and basic OS stuff, and there are companies that sell such such server software. Not all of these companies are married to the idea that the command line is the only way (or even a necessary way) to do things.

Re:Servers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751579)

You're doing it wrong.

alt+shift+F12 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751207)

KDE (Kwin) has one of the most advanced compositing window managers around. You can toggle compositive off with alt+shift+F12 and go back to a 2D desktop. If it detects that it cannot run with compositing due to hardware limitations, it will do that by default, or you can configure it not to if you just don't like that.

There is no requirement for OpenGL in any reasonable window manager.

Re:alt+shift+F12 (3, Informative)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751553)

As long as you don't attempt to apply bilinear/trilinear filtering, Kwin's compositing even works reasonably well in pure software mode.

Re:alt+shift+F12 (4, Informative)

Windwraith (932426) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752115)

And remember you can add window rules to disable compositing dynamically, for example when launching a game or other GL-intensive tool. It's the only (linux) desktop that allows that.

Re:alt+shift+F12 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41752305)

Enlightenment (e17) also supports individual composite settings for windows.
Although the software engine is quite fast there's no requirement to have composite enabled in e17.

And? (1, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751221)

Give me a break.

"New PC with x86-64"? The last mainstream Intel CPU that didn't support 64-bit instructions was the original Core. (Not the Core 2, which was a rather different beast). This was a bit of an anomaly - Intel already had 64 bit processors out in 2005 though the Core was released at the beginning of 2006. It only ever made it into mobile chips. It's still available, though I wonder how many Intel sell - they often have processors available for purchase long after they've gone out of mainstream use.

AGP similarly was being phased out in 2004.

I get that Linux has a huge hardware compatibility list, but you know something? I don't really care about hardware that hasn't been generally available in five years and hasn't been seen in the wild in two.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751385)

I run my laptops into the ground, to the very last gasp, and the older hardware remains in use even after I buy new. A light linux distro on a 9 year old laptop with 2GB RAM runs well and is still useful, running next to a much newer Macbook Pro. Presumably the distros that focus on older hardware with leave this shit out. Sick of Ubuntu anyway. Will Mint use this?

Re:And? (3, Informative)

Mr2cents (323101) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751873)

I recently installed xubuntu on my portable after getting sick of the ubuntu desktop. I must say, I'm quite happy with the switch. It boots and runs very fast, and I think my battery life is a bit longer now too. The desktop is functional and traditional, "fancy features weirdo's" have not ruined the project yet.

Re:And? (2)

ak3ldama (554026) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751433)

There are occasional indications that there is not "much" effort put into desktop linux, this is one of them. I recently tried running Ubuntu 12.04 on an AMD64 x2 with an AGP NVIDIA 6800, it didn't work, much as suggested here. I had not known there would be such a problem, now I know. So it is either an older Linux (maybe with NVIDIA blob support), newer BSD without proper graphics driver support, or Windows. Now I would personally feel that that machine is not horribly out of date, it has SATA, 2 GB of memory, etc...

Re:And? (1)

jimicus (737525) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751845)

Hate to break it to you, but your processor was released circa 2005/2006, as was your graphics card.

Meaning it's knocking on for six years old now.

Yes I accept it's a perfectly adequate computer - far more so than a six year old PC would have been in 2005. But it's still getting on.

Re:And? (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752121)

NVIDIA 6800 is graphics acceleration but only up to OpenGL 1.5, this is about OpenGL 2. That is you have hardware acceleration but more aimed at KDE 3 or Gnome 2. The chip you mentioned is a 2005-7 desktop chip. Why wouldn't this system be horribly out of date?

Re:And? (5, Insightful)

troon (724114) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751437)

You'd be surprised how many people run older hardware. I don't give a damn about gaming; so all three desktops and one of the two laptops in my house are old 32-bit machines (Athlons, Pentium 4 3.06GHz HT, Celeron in the lappy). They run apps just as fast as when they were new state-of-the-art machines - it seems daft that it's the window management that's forcing me to look for leaner distros. I'm certainly not going to spend money upgrading hardware to have prettier window decorations and physics.

Re:And? (4, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751779)

If you run older hardware, what's the big rush to upgrade to a dist offering shiny new desktop any way? Install Debian, stick a light WM on it, or stick with an older dist which the hardware is capable of running.

Re:And? (3, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751887)

You're not forced. There's still plenty of lightweight window managers available in the Ubuntu repositories.

Granted, Canonical could detect old hardware and automatically install such things by default. But it's hardly the end of the world.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751893)

So stop updating the window manager.
You don't want to buy new hardware, but you expect to be able to run the latest software on it forever.

Re:And? (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752383)

Yeah, lets not be too quick to jump on the "latest, greatest, fastest, loudest" bandwagon just yet. One of Linux's strengths has been to be able to breath life back into that old P5 gathering dust in the corner.

Re:And? (2)

Bengie (1121981) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752761)

Optimizing for newer 3D hardware and mutil-core CPUs typically means making non-3D hardware and single-core computer's slower. The general rule for ANYTHING in life is keep up or get left behind. Enjoy your old computers all you want, but if you don't like the way opensource is moving, fork the project and do it yourself.

At least you have the option for leaner distros. That means there are enough like minded people to at least maintain code for you.

As for me, I want my $300 GPU and 12 thread CPU to be used. Not inefficiently just for the sake of using, but my OS/Software should be capable of making use in the case it is needed.

Re:And? (4, Informative)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751453)

I can assure you that my nine year old (but basically eleven year old tech, I got it for a steal when they EOLed everything after the Athlon64 FX was released) AthlonMP is still alive and kicking. With two 2.13GHz processors, 4G of RAM, and a Radeon X1650 it wouldn't be too shabby. Except for the part where I have to keep CPU1 disabled to use OpenGL (initially, I blamed having a Radeon 9100 so I got the new one, no dice). My only option at this point is to drop back to something like Debian lenny, but then I can't run xbmc (really, xbmc + zsnes + mame + {supertuxkart, armagetron} + a few xbox controllers = really sweet HTPC... and the box is great as a fileserver and build server all in one). For power, the thing idles at around 120W, so it's not even that much worse than a modern AMD based system on the power bill (we've got that nukular power round these parts, so I'm still paying a dime a kwh and can feel 1/3 fewer pangs of guilt about burning coal). With the second CPU disabled, however, it's just an underpowered old machine instead of something competetive with a more modern low end desktop.

I gave up on debugging it (the lock up is so hard, even kgdb doesn't work... and trying to do the remote tracing thing also doesn't work because the last traces before the crash don't make it to the serial port). It's turned perfectly usable hardware into ... well, I'm getting an FX-whatever rig next week. Probably better for the economy, not so great for my account balance.

Re:And? (3, Interesting)

dabadab (126782) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752219)

For power, the thing idles at around 120W, so it's not even that much worse than a modern AMD based system on the power bill

Yes, it is. My A6-3500*-based PC idles under 30 W, full load is around 60 W.

*: 3x2.1 GHz CPU + HD 6530D GPU.

Re:And? (1)

Unknown Lamer (78415) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752581)

An FX-8xxx system idles around 80-90... peak at over 200 (if all the benchmarks are to believed). And my number is at the socket according to a kill-a-watt, and my power supply is pretty inefficient... before I put the X1650 in, it was more like 95W (damned graphics card!).

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751631)

So you just define the first Atoms as not mainstream?

Re:And? (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752827)

So you just define the first Atoms as not mainstream?

I have several Atoms, including one that's 32-bit only, but I would define them as not mainstream too. The 32-bit Atoms were largely used in netbooks and embedded systems.

First World Problems (1)

Larry_Dillon (20347) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752403)

"I don't really care about hardware that hasn't been generally "available in five years and hasn't been seen in the wild in two.

Re:And? (1)

0racle (667029) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752461)

"New PC with x86-64" You missed a word there - fast. Is the Core 2 fast enough or do you need a i5 or an i7? Does it have to be an Intel processor or will a recent AMD work? I don't know, but I do see that the supposedly user friendly and entry Linux desktop distos assume that you bought your desktop or laptop in the last 6 months and I would guess most people looking to switch or try something new don't buy a new computer to do it on.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41752513)

I don't really care about hardware that hasn't been generally available in five years and hasn't been seen in the wild in two.

There are lots of old stuff kicking about - internationally and in the enterprise - I hope no one shares the same short term attitude when it comes to plumbing in your house.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41752813)

Aren't Atoms mainstream enough for you?

Mesa? (4, Interesting)

gr8_phk (621180) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751231)

Why does Mesa even exist? It was supposed to be a software implementation of OpenGL, but it never had good enough performance for much of anything. Instead it became some sort of wrapper for OpenGL drivers. They said it could be used as a fallback for any features not implemented in the hardware drivers (but with terrible performance). And now with the LLVM pipe driver it's not even used for software rendering any more. Somehow it just keeps sticking around. What's up with that?

Re:Mesa? (4, Informative)

pavon (30274) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751413)

From what I understand, there hasn't been a single piece of graphics hardware ever that implemented every single OpenGL call in hardware. The point of Mesa was to provide reference code that driver implementers could build on, replacing calls that their hardware did support with the appropriate driver hooks, and leaving the rest as is, while providing a consistent ABI (at least per-distro) to applications that need to link against libGL. It serves the same purpose today as when it was first written.

Re:Mesa? (1)

caseih (160668) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751477)

Isn't LLVM a backend for the Mesa3d library? Without Mesa, there is no interface to the LLVM pipe engine.

Re:Mesa? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751519)

Wrong. Mesa has for a long time been hardware accelerated where the drivers support it. It is in fact the default OpenGL implementation on most (all?) Linux distros unless you install the implementation shipped with proprietary drivers from Nvidia or AMD.

More info here: http://www.mesa3d.org/faq.html

ATI & AMD & OpenGL. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751239)

Something that was brought to my attention. If AMD dies then OpenGL development as far as implementation gets left up to Nvidia. Doesn't matter what platform you run.

Compton (2)

dasacc22 (1830082) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751251)

An alternative "external compositor" can be found here [github.com]. Was fairly trivial to prepare deb packages and it is on the wishlist in debian. Looking now, I see they just tagged the first version of it two days ago so maybe it's time to update the deb package and submit.

Re:Compton (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751731)

This is why I keep reading slashdot.

Thanks for this info. Better than xcompmgr and proves the point I was trying to make in another thread that tear-free window dragging works just fine with a compositor.

Now, mack to uncomposited FVWM :)

Wayland *requires* opengl? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751269)

I knew the Xorg guys were off their rocker, so this is but more proof they're Doing It Wrong (as the accelleratedX folks have maintained for ages), but that doesn't make it less sad.

We need more X compatible servers. Smaller ones. Faster ones. More efficient ones. Ones with better drivers, even for older hardware. Something with actual architecture in it, instead of the Xorg folks' delusions of grandeur. A second system effect on top of a second system effect, there's an achievement of unparalleled dubiosity.

Re:Wayland *requires* opengl? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751707)

Get a fucking grip, man. What's with you frothers? I bet you cried blue murder when distros started requiring i686 or newer ISAs.

OpenGL is a great, open, widely implemented graphics API.

Firstly, almost everyone who wants to use video is accelerating it to some degree. Particularly mobile devices, because offloading to a more energy efficient coprocessor is just the right thing to do.

Secondly, for those few who want graphics but don't have any acceleration, software rendering works just fine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyw4elrcfvQ

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=mesa_81_llvmpipe

Of the 3 people remaining who have such an old computer that this is too slow for them, and yet they want to still run newest software, there are other rendering systems and window managers that do not use OpenGL. Nobody ever claimed their goal is to make your piece of shit computer work great, and you certainly never contributed a line of code in your life, so shut the hell up.

What do you think of them apples?

Re:Wayland *requires* opengl? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751915)

By the way before you spout some logical fallacy about the video clip, I'm well aware that it's not smooth. It is running on a bottom-of-the-basket, 7 year old, single core mobile CPU. It would be usable on anything with a bit more power. Conversely, the old CPU is well capable of running a simpler non-OpenGL GUI.

And THIS, Ladies and Gentlemen... (0, Troll)

Noryungi (70322) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751333)

Is why I will never install Ubuntu again, and why this distribution is doomed to irrelevance.

Seriously, though, OpenGL? WTF? Fluxbox is good enough for me. XFCE, not far behind.

Don't misunderstand me: Ubuntu is fine if you are an absolute Linux beginner. For the rest of us, frankly, this is just one more nail in its coffin, as far as I am concerned, Ubuntu is fast becoming the Mandrake of the 20xx.

Of course, there is always Slackware 14 and NetBSD 6.0, who both just came out and promise tons of (non-OpenGL) goodness.

Re:And THIS, Ladies and Gentlemen... (4, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752313)

Seriously, though, OpenGL? WTF? Fluxbox is good enough for me. XFCE, not far behind.

I know! How dare they take advantage of graphics hardware of newer systems! X11 primitives should be enough for everyone!

Ubuntu is fine if you are an absolute Linux beginner.

It's also great if you want to work with Linux and the software available to it, but don't quite want to spend as much time screwing around with the platform.

For the rest of us, frankly, this is just one more nail in its coffin, as far as I am concerned, Ubuntu is fast becoming the Mandrake of the 20xx.

Fortunately it's not.

there is always Slackware 14 and NetBSD 6.0, who both just came out and promise tons of (non-OpenGL) goodness.

Hey, look at that. Options for the technology-averse technologist. Can people stop bitching about the fact that the GUI subsystem is being modernized and go take advantage of all the old, inefficient, software-powered solutions that you prefer?

Re:And THIS, Ladies and Gentlemen... (2)

Tordanik (1771960) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752537)

Is why I will never install Ubuntu again, and why this distribution is doomed to irrelevance. [...]

Don't misunderstand me: Ubuntu is fine if you are an absolute Linux beginner. For the rest of us, frankly, this is just one more nail in its coffin, as far as I am concerned, Ubuntu is fast becoming the Mandrake of the 20xx.

Ubuntu isn't just for "Linux beginners". It's for an audience that isn't able or doesn't want to spend time choosing, configuring and optimizing their operating system. These are also users who like an easy to use system that offers similar paradigms and visuals as other contemporary graphical interfaces, and will generally pay the price for that (e.g. not being able to use it comfortably on old hardware).

Your use of the term "Linux beginner" in this context only makes sense if you assume that Linux users with limited technical knowledge and interest are necessarily those who have recently started to use it - those who have just begun their journey towards more technical knowledge and will soon graduate to more hardcore distributions. But it doesn't account for people who have only basic computer skills, and are fine with that.

Ubuntu is built around the idea to make Linux accessible to mainstream users. In my opinion, this gives it a very important role at a time where competitors such as Windows 8 are moving to walled garden models [mollyrocket.com] for their closed-source software: It is the most credible offer for non-technical users who prefer a free-as-in-freedom operating system.

But ... but... but... (0)

tgd (2822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751345)

Its Open Source. Surely if anyone cared, someone would've fixed it by now.

Right?

KDE? (4, Interesting)

devent (1627873) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751347)

Does KDE requires OpenGL support now as well?

you could always runs Window Maker, Sawfish, Enlightenment, Open Box, or one of many other window managers without a compositor.

I think I can just disable the compositor on KDE and re-enable it if I wish. Or does the author have a bias against KDE that he/she is not mentioned one of the most used Linux desktops?

Re:KDE? (1)

Windwraith (932426) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752387)

You can see most of the comments here neglect to tell about that kwin feature, apparently slashdot as a whole is biased against KDE as well. I can kind of understand because of things like akonadi and activities...., but the window manager is way too good to be ignored, and someone should show a minimum of praise for a work well done. (and remember kids, you can use kwin without all of kde4)

Unity? GNOME? Wayland? Who uses these? (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751377)

No reason to use what some distros (that apparently have gone off the deep end) offer as defaults. Stay with x.org, use a sane window manager like fvwm, xfce, etc. where the developers actually remember what the role of a window manager is, and this stupid discussion does not need to concern you at all.

Re:Unity? GNOME? Wayland? Who uses these? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751815)

That's exactly what I was thinking. Name some very recent software which nobody who uses an older computer would ever run, and then mention that it doesn't run on old computers, so therefore the old computers are foresaken.

Even Ubuntu lets you use whatever-the-hell window manager that you want to use, and 90% of them work just fine without OpenGL. TFA is talking about a totally-made-up issue.

Retina (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751393)

If people want there rentina displays on the desktop you NEED a GPU to draw it !
CPU's will be hard pressed to render such gigantic bitmaps ...
(IMO, maybe CPU's could pull it off, but do you really want to waste this much memory bandwidth and CPU cycles on it ?)

SOME, but not all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751425)

SOME distros may need to require it, but there are many others that still won't. I think the statement indicating that linux will require it, is poorly worded; It should better indicate that some linux distros will require it.

lol (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751449)

nice job, linuxfags. Even Windows 8 can run on PCI graphics cards.

Is it so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751525)

My Debian Sid installation with lxde doesn't need no stinking 3d drivers. Tough I do have them.

Ubuntu != Linux and Gnome != Linux desktop (2)

janoc (699997) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751527)

Ubuntu isn't the only Linux here and Gnome isn't the only desktop available. Some people do forget this and then this sort of sensationalism arises.

There are plenty of other choices - both for Linux distros and desktops, many specifically targeted towards the old hardware. Furthermore, if you are running so old hw that has AGP or some ARM devices, you probably don't want to run a full-blown Gnome/Unity on that anyway.

What the FUCK? TWM require OpenGL now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41751533)

What is the world coming to?

Really? (4, Funny)

aglider (2435074) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751573)

Do you think GNOME (and Co.) is the Linux desktop?
Ah! Have you ever heard about KDE, LXDE, XFCE etc. etc.? They seems not to require OpenGL at all! You insensitive Gtk-clod!

And nothing of value was lost (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751603)

Of course then you lose compositing

Oh the humanity! Think Of The Children!

Seriously though, no non-technical end users whom the desktop is being aimed at (why?) know what compositing is. Need to describe it in terms of what it looks like. You need to explain that its, um, well, you know those useless decorations that make the computer seem slower than it really is? Yeah its them. Oh you mean my computer will run faster? Cool!

Fuck that (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751899)

One of the main reasons I switched to Linux was to avoid having to buy a bloody gaming computer just to render the desktop animations while working.

LXDE/XFCE all the way. Compositing was invented for people with more spare GPU cycles than they can reasonably use.

Re:Fuck that (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752227)

As lots of people already said here, KDE does not need it.

Also, it is indeed getting harder and harder to find (or build) a computer that doesn't come with 3D acceleration.

Re:Fuck that (1)

Microlith (54737) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752339)

One of the main reasons I switched to Linux was to avoid having to buy a bloody gaming computer just to render the desktop animations while working.

So now any system with an Intel GPU is a gaming computer? Well fuck, you might as well just go into hiding now.

Compositing was invented for people with more spare GPU cycles than they can reasonably use.

Yes, so what should they do? Be forced to give it up and do things The Right Way, As Determined By True Linux Users?

This is really easy to solve... (2, Informative)

dennism (13667) | about a year and a half ago | (#41751929)

$20 can get a decent PCI-e video card that can be used for accelerating desktop compositing. Resourceful people can probably even find suitable cards for free if they look around.

We are way beyond the point where a 3D accelerated video card is a luxury item in a PC.

Re:This is really easy to solve... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41752785)

I will buy you a beer if you could find a PCI-e video card suitable for my NETBOOK, at any price.

Go ahead, I'll be waiting.

Re:This is really easy to solve... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41752795)

Does every modern card have it? Or is there something I should look for? Thx.

Unity and GNOME (1)

Mike_Theory (2190120) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752463)

Unity and GNOME aren't the only user environments you can run, on any linux distro. If you're using Linux on an older machine specifically because that machine is old, then you should probably be using a distro designed for that, like DSL or tiny linux (for really low power computers) that don't use intensive UI's

Seriously, Identity Crisis (1)

knapper_tech (813569) | about a year and a half ago | (#41752823)

Ubuntu, Mint etc users: You can add another older window manager using apt-get. XFCE etc are lightweight. Just because your distro pimps one WM over another doesn't mean jack. Come to think of it, why didn't anyone mention Xubuntu or Lubuntu or one of the other Ubuntus? This post is so n00b.

Your WM is just one software package in your Linux distro. Your Linux distro is just one of many. Pretty much any Linux distro can be re-installed completely from source (and necessary binary blobs) to -BE- another Linux distro.
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