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28 June 2013, 11:04

Canonical to push for Mir in Ubuntu 13.10

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Ubuntu icon Canonical's Mir display server technology will be arriving sooner, rather than the expected later, in Ubuntu. Olli Ries, engineering director for Unity and Mir at Canonical, has updated the roadmap for the deployment of Mir. Calling Mir a "high performance component that we think will deliver the fastest, cleanest display experience for the Ubuntu platform", Ries says that the company thinks it is ready for deployment in Ubuntu 13.10.

What will actually arrive in 13.10 though is XMir, the X server for Mir, running on Mir. The system will fall back to standard X where there is no Mir driver support which could well be very likely as the company only expects to have full Mir driver support for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. In an accompanying blog post, Canonical says it only expects to have support for Intel, noveau and radeon open source drivers. Proprietary drivers from NVIDIA and AMD will force the fallback.

The LTS release will come without a fallback session, but still running XMir by default. The company says it is working with GPU makers and hopes to see support for Mir from them in the 14.04 timescale. It will take until Ubuntu 14.10 for XMir to be removed from the stack to be replaced by rootless X support for X applications.

As XMir arrives in 14.04, the LTS release, Canonical will be committed to supporting it for the following five years. In what appears to be a comment directed at, among others, the Kubuntu developers who rejected Canonical's Mir, Ries says that this should "give derivatives enough time to evaluate the graphics stack landscape and to make informed decisions when they are ready". As of today, the PPAs for XMir are still tagged as experimental/testing and Ries says it will be a couple of weeks before they are ready for widespread testing and that there is "good progress in getting XMir into a distro ready state".

The Canonical transition plan depends entirely on how well they optimise the XMir stack. XMir is a port of the server that runs on the Mir server with a rooted display. This means an additional layer is in play and third party benchmarking on the current experimental Xmir shows that additional layer results in reduced performance. To reassure users that the transition will not affect their preferred desktops, Canonical have produced a video of various desktops running on XMir on Mir on Ubuntu on Intel graphics hardware.

Desktops running on XMir on Mir on Ubuntu on Intel graphics



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