State of Linux graphics

Jon Smirl jonsmirl at
Wed Aug 31 06:38:25 PDT 2005

On 8/31/05, Eric Anholt <eta at> wrote:
> the X Render extension."  No, EXA is a different acceleration
> architecture making different basic design decisions related to memory
> management and driver API.

I did start the EXA section off with this: "EXA replaces the existing
2D XAA drivers allowing the current server model to work a while

I'll edit the article to help clarify these points but Daniel has
disabled my login at fd.o so I can't alter the article.

> "If the old hardware is missing the hardware needed to accelerate render
> there is nothing EXA can do to help."  Better memory management allows
> for better performance with composite due to improved placement of
> pixmaps, which XAA doesn't do.  So EXA can help.
> "So it ends up that the hardware EXA works on is the same hardware we
> already had existing OpenGL drivers for."  No.  See, for example, the nv
> or i128 driver ports, both completed in very short timeframes.
> "The EXA driver programs the 3D hardware from the 2D XAA driver adding
> yet another conflicting user to the long line of programs all trying to
> use the video hardware at the same time."  No, EXA is not an addition to
> XAA, it's a replacement.  It's not "yet another conflicting user" on
> your machine (and I have yet to actually see this purported conflict in
> my usage of either acceleration architecture).
> "There is also a danger that EXA will keep expanding to expose more of
> the chip's 3D capabilities."  If people put effort into this because
> they see value in it, without breaking other people's code, why is this
> a "danger?"
> --
> Eric Anholt                                     eta at
>              anholt at
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Jon Smirl
jonsmirl at

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