Cross­ing the EG LSt reams

Linux Format - - Tutorials -

Up un­til late 2016, the Nvidia pro­pri­etary driver had no sup­port for Wayland (or in­deed ker­nel mod­e­set­ting, which forced users to watch their sys­tems boot in an ugly low res­o­lu­tion). Now there’s Wayland sup­port, but it’s far from univer­sal. All of the open source driv­ers have opted to use a method called Generic Buf­fer Man­age­ment (GBM) for com­mu­ni­cat­ing with Wayland, and this method is sup­ported by all the ma­jor desktops. But Nvidia has come up with its own method called EGLStreams. Clearly it has its own tech­ni­cal rea­sons for do­ing this, but it makes life dif­fi­cult for the com­mu­nity (see KDE de­vel­oper Martin Flöser’s post at https://blog.martin-graesslin.com/ blog/2017/10/plas­m­away­land-and-nvidia-2017-edi­tion ). As it stands, EGLStreams is only sup­ported by Gnome (since 3.24) and Sway (al­though this will be re­moved soon) and through ex­per­i­men­tal patches with other com­pos­i­tors. We tried start­ing a Wayland ses­sion with Plasma with the Nvidia driver (us­ing an up­dated Arch Linux ma­chine). The re­sults were ugly: a com­plete hard lock up.

It’s worth not­ing that Nvidia isn’t be­ing en­tirely un­co­op­er­a­tive with the com­mu­nity, it has open sourced a li­brary for mem­ory al­lo­ca­tion at

https://github.com/cuban­ismo/al­lo­ca­tor, which hope­fully will im­prove these com­pli­cated buf­fer-re­lated woes.

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