From Click to Pixel: A Tour of the Linux Graphics Stack


The Linux graphics stack can be a bewildering thing. What do all those names actually mean (cairo? Mesa? Glucose? UXA? GEM?). How can an application designer hope to debug a graphics performance problem? This talk provides a simple overview of the 2D and 3D graphics stacks for Linux with clear diagrams, and several recipes for debugging graphics performance problems at several layers. We conclude with an overview of upcoming changes to the graphics stack, (in particular, several different attempts to unify the 2D and 3D stacks).

Presented at 2009 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia on 2009-01-21.


The slides alone don't capture the material very completely. The talk was recorded, so I do plan to add a link to the video here once I receive one, (the last I heard the conference organizers were still working on transcoding the video capture). Also, I could be convinced to write an article with similar content as this presentation. Please let me know, (email address below), if you would be interested in reading that.