[PATCH wayland v2] protocol: try to clarify frame callback semantics

Pekka Paalanen ppaalanen at gmail.com
Fri Feb 21 05:46:42 PST 2014

From: Pekka Paalanen <pekka.paalanen at collabora.co.uk>

"the callback event will arrive after the next output refresh" is wrong,
if you interpret "output refresh" as framebuffer flip or the moment when
the new pixels turn into light the first time. Weston has probably never
worked this way.

Weston triggers the frame callbacks when it submits repainting commands
to the GPU, which is before the framebuffer flip.

Strike the incorrect claim, and the rest of the paragraph which no
longer offers useful information.

As a replacement, expand on the "throttling and driving animations"
characteristic. The main purpose is to let clients animate at the
display refresh rate, while avoiding drawing frames that will never be

The new claim is that the server should give some time between
triggering frame callbacks and repainting itself, for clients to draw
and commit. This is somewhat intimate with the repaint scheduling
algorithm a compositor uses, but hopefully the right intention.

Another point of this update is to imply, that frame callbacks should
not be used to count compositor repaint cycles nor monitor refresh
cycles. It has never been guaranteed to work. Removing the mention of
frame callback without an attach hopefully discourages such use.

v2: don't just remove a paragraph, but add useful information about the
request's intent.

Signed-off-by: Pekka Paalanen <pekka.paalanen at collabora.co.uk>
Cc: Axel Davy <axel.davy at ens.fr>
Cc: Jason Ekstrand <jason at jlekstrand.net>
 protocol/wayland.xml | 26 ++++++++++++++++++--------
 1 file changed, 18 insertions(+), 8 deletions(-)

diff --git a/protocol/wayland.xml b/protocol/wayland.xml
index e1edbe5..6e370ad 100644
--- a/protocol/wayland.xml
+++ b/protocol/wayland.xml
@@ -1059,22 +1059,32 @@
     <request name="frame">
-      <description summary="request repaint feedback">
-	Request notification when the next frame is displayed. Useful
-	for throttling redrawing operations, and driving animations.
+      <description summary="request a frame throttling hint">
+	Request a notification when it is a good time start drawing a new
+	frame, by creating a frame callback. This is useful for throttling
+	redrawing operations, and driving animations.
+	When a client is animating on a wl_surface, it can use the 'frame'
+	request to get notified when it is a good time to draw and commit the
+	next frame of animation. If the client commits an update earlier than
+	that, it is likely that some updates will not make it to the display,
+	and the client is wasting resources by drawing too often.
 	The frame request will take effect on the next wl_surface.commit.
 	The notification will only be posted for one frame unless
 	requested again.
+	The server must send the notifications so that a client
+	will not send excessive updates, while still allowing
+	the highest possible update rate for clients that wait for the reply
+	before drawing again. The server should give some time for the client
+	to draw and commit after sending the frame callback events to let them
+	hit the next output refresh.
 	A server should avoid signalling the frame callbacks if the
 	surface is not visible in any way, e.g. the surface is off-screen,
 	or completely obscured by other opaque surfaces.
-	A client can request a frame callback even without an attach,
-	damage, or any other state changes. wl_surface.commit triggers a
-	display update, so the callback event will arrive after the next
-	output refresh where the surface is visible.
 	The object returned by this request will be destroyed by the
 	compositor after the callback is fired and as such the client must not
 	attempt to use it after that point.

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