Re: Module Proposal: GNOME Shell

On Fri, 2010-04-02 at 11:19 +0300, Naba Kumar wrote:
> Hi Owen,
> On Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 2:16 AM, Owen Taylor <otaylor redhat com> wrote:
> >
> > Purpose:
> >  GNOME Shell takes  advantage of the capabilities of modern graphics hardware ...
> >
> Does gnome-shell work without graphics capabilities? A few days back I
> tried it from ubuntu karmic repository (so the release might be a bit
> old), but it didn't work without graphics acceleration support.
> Everything was just black and too slow (as if doing software
> rendering). My gnome runs in a virtual machine and somehow hardware
> support doesn't work through VM.
> So, basically my question is do you have official plan to support
> non-accelerated machines, or is it just a bug? I guess there are still
> legitimate use of non-accelerated machines still valid.

We've always planned to require graphics acceleration. To review:

 * We can't take advantage of the capabilities of graphics
   acceleration in the user interface design unless we can count
   on it - otherwise the graphics acceleration is at best tack-on
   eye candy.

 * Developing two separate code paths for accelerated and
   non-accelerated graphics is also a large increase in
   development resources.

 * Virtually all machines produced currently, or in the last 5 years
   have sufficiently powerful graphics to meet our needs. In some
   cases, free software drivers that can access this hardware
   don't exist are or still in an early stage. But we can't offer
   someone with shiny new hardware a desktop that looks like they
   have a 10 year old machine.

    - Buy hardware from friendly companies
    - Fix the free drivers for other hardware
    - If necessary and desired, offer users ways to install
      non-free drivers before they get to the desktop.

 * There is zero reason that virtual machines can't also have 3D
   acceleration - and VirtualBox, VMWare, Parallels, etc, do this
   currently. KVM/qemu lags, that just needs to be fixed.

So, the official plan is basically that people can still use the 
GNOME 2 panel and window manager with GNOME 3 applications and
libraries, if necessary, but this is a transitional state, 
and to get the GNOME 3 experience, you need hardware acceleration.

- Owen

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