F17 heads up: gnome-shell for everyone!

Adam Jackson ajax at redhat.com
Thu Nov 3 21:57:32 UTC 2011

As of tomorrow's rawhide [1], gnome-session will no longer treat
llvmpipe as an unsupported driver.  This means gnome-shell will run even
on hardware without a native 3D driver, including virt guests.

There are probably bugs!  I've done some quick tests on the hardware I
have handy and in kvm, and things do appear to work.  You, lucky
contestant, might have a different experience.  If you do, bugzilla is
standing by and ready to take your call; please file against the 'mesa'
component and set me as the assignee.  In the meantime you can still get
to fallback mode through the Graphics section of the System Info control

Very little performance work has been done on this yet - like,
literally, none - though there are some things you can do [2].  Outside
of virt you will probably want to tell your driver to use ShadowFB in
xorg.conf.  This will disable hardware acceleration, but in exchange you
won't be doing very slow GetImages all the time to get textures loaded
into the compositor.   In virt, however, the double-buffering done by
ShadowFB just slows you down, so you're probably best off switching your
driver to NoAccel instead.

The vesa driver should get this right for you already, as should cirrus
under virt.

Beyond that, most of the performance work is going to require new kernel
and Mesa features.  For details, please see:


If you're interested in contributing to this effort, please follow up on
dri-devel at lists.freedesktop.org.

[1] - In particular, you'll need these packages or newer for things to


[2] - It's something of a policy decision to get some of these things
"right" by default, because you're deciding to throw away hardware accel
on old chips, and some people who aren't using gnome-shell might think
that's worth keeping.  We'll figure something out, I'm sure, but
contributions are most welcome.

- ajax
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