Vblanks, CRTCs and GLX, oh my!

Ian Romanick idr at us.ibm.com
Wed Sep 19 10:20:02 PDT 2007

Hash: SHA1

Jesse Barnes wrote:
> Both the generic DRM vblank-rework and Intel specific pipe/plane 
> swapping have uncovered some vblank related problems which we discussed 
> at XDS last week.  Unfortunately, no matter what we do (including 
> the "do nothing" option), some applications will break some of the time 
> in the new world order.
> Basically we have a few vblank related bits of code:
>   1) DRM_IOCTL_WAIT_VBLANK - core DRM vblank wait ioctl
>   2) driver interrupt code - increments appropriate vblank counter
>   3) DRM_I915_VBLANK_SWAP - Intel specific scheduled swap ioctl
>   4) SAREA private data - used for tracking which gfx plane to swap
>   5) glX*VideoSyncSGI - GL interfaces for sync'ing to vblank events
> As it stands, DRM_IOCTL_WAIT_VBLANK is downright broken in the new world 
> of dyanmically controlled outputs and CRTCs (at least for i915 and 
> radeon):  a client trying to sync against the second CRTC that doesn't 
> pass _DRM_VBLANK_SECONDARY will only work if one CRTC is enabled, due 
> to the way current interrupt handlers increment the respective vblank 
> counters (i.e. they increment the correct counter if both CRTCs are 
> generating events, but only the primary counter if only one CRTC vblank 
> interrupt is enabled).

We basically implemented DRM_IOCTL_WAIT_VBLANK as an easy way to migrate
existing driver swap code to support glXSwapIntervalSGI.

> The Intel specific DRM_I915_VBLANK_SWAP is a really nice interface, and 
> is the only reliable way to get tear free vblank swap on a loaded 
> system.  However, what it really cares about is display planes (in the 
> Intel sense), so it uses the _DRM_VBLANK_SECONDARY flag to indicate 
> whether it wants to flip plane A or B.  Whether or not to pass the 
> _DRM_VBLANK_SECONDARY flag is determined by DRI code based on the SAREA 
> private data that describes how much of a given client's window is 
> visible on either pipe.  This should work fine as of last week's mods 
> and only the DDX and DRM code have to be aware of potential pipe->plane 
> swapping due to hardware limitations.
> The vblank-rework branch of the DRM tree tries to address (1) and (2) by 
> splitting the logic for handling CRTCs and their associated vblank 
> interrupts into discrete paths, but this defeats the original purpose 
> of the driver interrupt code that tries to fall back to a single 
> counter, which is due to limitations in (5), namely that the 
> glX*VideoSyncSGI APIs can only handle a single pipe.

glXVideoSyncSGI and glXSwapIntervalSGI really are crappy interfaces.
OpenML supplanted them with glXWaitForMscOML and glXSwapBuffersMscOML.
The newer interfaces are a superset of the old, and we should look to
implementing them as such.

> So, what to do?  One way of making the glX*VideoSyncSGI interfaces 
> behave more or less as expected would be to make them more like 
> DRM_I915_VBLANK_SWAP internally, i.e. using SAREA values to determine 
> which pipe needs to be sync'd against by passing in the display plane 
> the client is most tied to (this would imply making the Intel specific 
> SAREA plane info more generic), letting the DRM take care of the rest.
> Another option (which could be done in addition to the above) would be 
> to add some new CRTC-aware interfaces along with ways at getting at 
> current CRTC/display plane for a client (does GL already have this?).

No.  Core GL doesn't even know about windows or screens.  GLX knows
about displays and drawables, and that's it.

> And no matter the outcome, we should encourage people to use interfaces 
> like DRM_I915_VBLANK_SWAP rather than glXWaitVideoSyncSGI, otherwise 
> they'll be highly susceptible to unpredictable scheduling hiccups.

Right.  Something like DRM_I915_VBLANK_SWAP should be used to implement
either glXSwapIntervalSGI or glXSwapBuffersMscOML.  To be honest, I'm
not sure what real-world use an application could have for the glXWait
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