27 October, 2007

accelerated rendering

Of course we have some experts in this area in the KDE community (zack is well known, but I wouldn't forget about Mosfet or the people working on KWin.

Now my understanding of this stuff (being not a developer) is always very limited - which does nothing to lower my interest in them... So when I read this blog on the gnome planet, I found it very interesting. I mean, it has pretty pictures, you know... And hardware accelerated rendering, preferably using openGL for everything (or at least more than we do now) is something I'd love to see - it really sounds like a big thing in terms of performance ;-)

Now the person who wrote this blog isn't very positive about this, but I agree with some of the comments there - OpenGL probably won't go away. Or would it be possible to integrate it with toolkits? This blog by Daniel Molkentin talks about using just the normal Qt api, yet the drawing goes through OpenGL. Sounds like neat, but what about all the other drawing in KDE/Qt?

The point of this blog is mostly that I haven't read about lower-level stuff like this for a while in the KDE blogosphere, and I'd love to see that change ;-)

How's the status of Arthur? Animations KDE4 are still kind'a disappointing in some areas - at first I blamed compositing (and it does make matters slightly worse, yes, but just slightly). Take the run dialog - it has an animation when you click options. Lovely, but it never works smooth, even the 100th time (you'd say it has cached stuff, and it has, but it's not enough). It's not just having to resize the window (even though that's bad), but even after that it's not exactly smooth.

And the background gradient in Oxygen has the disadvantage you often see a plain background flashing when resizing or animating things. As I see the CPU usage max out, I wonder if the GPU is used for any of these things - and if not, why not? Where's the bottleneck? X, Qt, other infrastructural stuff, or can't the GPU help at all?

So, who's involved in these things, and willing to write about them - what can we expect for KDE 4.0 and the future? Will these things be solved, is 3D hardware acceleration gonna help us anytime soon? When I see the animations in Vista - they're very smooth, and CPU usage keeps low, so it seems to me they've got the issue solved, haven't they?