Buffer release events (was: Add support for eglSwapInterval)

Neil Roberts neil at linux.intel.com
Thu Oct 24 03:26:08 PDT 2013


Thanks for the interesting insights.

> It seems to me as if the default should always be to just send the
> event.

I think I would vote for leaving the default as it is, ie, queuing the
release events. It's really quite a corner case that delaying events has
any effect on an application because most applications don't need to
know about the release events until they are about to draw something.
Usually they would only draw something in response to some event such as
a frame callback or an input event. In that case the event will have
caused the queue to flush so they will certainly be up-to-date about
what buffers are available at the point when they start drawing. If we
default to not queuing the event then I'd imagine most applications
wouldn't realise they should enable it and would miss out on the

> We can identify buffer release events in weston as coming from one of
> three sources:
> 1) wl_surface.commit
> 2) surface_flush_damage (the gl renderer releases SHM buffers here)
> 3) random releases from the backdend/renderer
> Number 2 above happens during the redraw loop so we can just post the
> event and won't get a double-wakeup.

Yes, I guess even if the compositor posts the event it's not going to
actually send it to the client until the compositor goes idle again
anyway and at that point it will probably have posted a frame complete
callback too so the client would wake up anyway.

> Number 3 is something we can't really control; I'd personally lean
> towards posting the event here, but it's probably at most one
> reference per surface so we can probably get away with queueing.
> (Also, if the backend knows when it would release in the render cycle,
> it may be able to optimize this better than some compositor-general
> solution.) For these two, we can add an argument to
> weston_buffer_reference to set the release event type.

I think case number 3 is the main problem. It's useful for most
fullscreen apps to have the event queued because most of them will be
throttled to the frame callback and don't need the release events
immediately. However this is also the use case most likely to want
eglSwapInterval(0) which would want them immediately so really for this
situation it is an application choice whether they should be queued or

> Number 1 above is the source of the vast majority of out release
> events. [...] The good news is that we can, from a client perspective,
> deal with this one easily. The solution is to send a wl_display.sync
> request immediately after the commit.

Yes, I think it makes sense to always sync the rendering to at least a
wl_display.sync call and the Mesa patch I sent does already do this. You
are right that in practice this effectively solves the problem for most
use cases. So really the only case where this matters is when the
compositor is directly scanning out from the client's buffer. But on the
other hand, that is exactly what a fullscreen game is likely to be doing
and that is the most likely candidate for doing eglSwapInterval(0).

> In any case, dummy sync and frame requests (you may need both) will allow
> you to achieve glSwapInterval(0) without server-side support.

I'm not sure I follow you here. The release event may be queued at any
point after the frame complete is sent. In that case sending a sync
event to flush the queue is only going to help if Mesa sends it
repeatedly, but that amounts to busy-waiting which would be terrible.

I still feel like the new request is the right way to go. The difficulty
with interface versioning feels like a separate wider problem that we
should think about. The crux of the problem is that Mesa probably
shouldn't be using proxy objects that are created outside of Mesa
because in that case it doesn't have control over what interface version
or event queue it is using. Working around the need for the new request
would just side-step the issue but it doesn't seem unlikely that Mesa
would want to use further new surface interfaces requests later too and
the same problem would come back.

Maybe we should have a separate object that you can create per surface
in order to do new requests. This could be created by a new global
object much like the wl_shell interface. In order to make it usable to
both Mesa and the application, we would have to allow creating multiple
resources of the new interface for a single surface. I'm not sure what
to call it though because it would just end up being something like
‘wl_surface_extra_stuff’. Considering that other objects may end up also
needing a similar kind of interface, maybe it would make more sense to
rethink it a bit and make the compositor allow multiple resources for an
object in general. Then you could have something like
wl_compositor.rebind_resource(object, version) which would make a new
resource for any object and it could have its own interface version. I
am just thinking aloud here though, I haven't really thought that
through much.

I will take a look at how much hassle it would be to get Weston to allow
multiple resources per surface.

- Neil

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