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Author Topic: Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?  (Read 5445 times)

urlwolf

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I find the following on the ubuntu 9.10 default install:

  • changing tabs in FF takes 1 second (!). I posted about it here
  • alt-tab takes about a second. I'm running with the minimum 'special effects' possible.
  • Dragging windows around is less snappy than in windows. More like osX (i.e., perceptible delay in some operations)

Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?
Granted, this is a 2yr old laptop (Dell 1720) but still. Somehow, I was expecting more?

Innuendo

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Re: Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2009, 09:43:06 AM »
Your problem(s) might be something as simple as you having crummy Linux video card drivers. To compound the problem laptops, especially older ones, are infamous for having craptacular video chipsets.

f0dder

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Re: Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2009, 10:20:14 AM »
Your problems sounds most like crummy video drivers - I do find linux applications in general to feel more "laggy" than Windows, though. Not sure if it's because of X itself or the particular graphics toolkits used, but it's been noticeable on all linux distros I've tried (gnome, KDE as well as XFCE based).
- carpe noctem

40hz

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Re: Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2009, 12:29:48 PM »
X has a huge amount to do with it. It's client/server design and overhead makes it intrinsically slower.

DRI/DRI2 has the potential improve things bypassing the server model and allowing for direct access to video hardware. But it will be a while before it's fully worked out and a bigger selection of drivers becomes available.

« Last Edit: November 15, 2009, 12:32:13 PM by 40hz »

urlwolf

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Re: Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2009, 03:25:55 PM »
Interesting... I have the latest nvidia drivers and the card is an ok one GForce 8400M GS, 128 mb. I have used linux/other unixes (even old ones, like irix) and I don't remember performance being this laggy. I've read that nvidia drivers should be faster/moer fine-tuned than the FOSS ones.

Yes, X doesn't sound like the fastest way of doing things, but it's being around for years now, and it was usable. Which alt+tab taking a second is not! This might be gnome trying to do thumbnails of the windows in alt+tab...

urlwolf

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Re: Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2009, 03:01:41 AM »
Oh, another thing, I'm using f.lux... this may have something to do with the lag?

Lashiec

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Re: Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2009, 09:37:50 AM »
Oh, another thing, I'm using f.lux... this may have something to do with the lag?

It shouldn't. Based on my tests with the Windows version, F.lux changes the adapter color at a given time, not gradually as the day/night advances, I think that it's only possible with certain MacBooks that have a built-in light sensor, so it should not mess with the graphic subsystem the rest of the time. You could try disabling it anyway and see if it helps.

It might be a particular bug with Ubuntu 9.10 and/or your specific driver version, if you say you didn't had such problems in the past. GNOME trying to update the thumbnails for all programs listed in the Alt-Tab menu should not have any effect on window switching as well. Either wait for updates for one of the software packages, or try the FOSS drivers. Hardware-wise, you should not have any problem, I have been using Ubuntu 9.04 with more limited video hardware (some crappy Intel chip), slower CPU and basic Compiz effects, and the OS is very snappy.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2009, 09:39:33 AM by Lashiec »

zridling

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Re: Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2009, 08:47:48 AM »
It's got to be hardware related. I build my own machines and tend to stock them with the fastest and fattest videocards, but Ubuntu has rarely liked them since 6.10. Fedora, however, loves them and is fast as hell, as does sidux (a debian-based distro). Go figure. Good luck!
« Last Edit: January 19, 2010, 09:52:49 PM by zridling »

Lashiec

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Re: Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2009, 08:49:56 AM »
It's got to be hardware related. I build my own machines and tend to stock them with the fastest and fattest videocards, but Ubuntu has rarely liked them since 6.10. Fedora, however, loves them and is as hell, as does sidux (a debian-based distro). Go figure. Good luck!

That sounds like software related :D

f0dder

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Re: Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2009, 09:13:05 AM »
It's got to be hardware related. I build my own machines and tend to stock them with the fastest and fattest videocards, but Ubuntu has rarely liked them since 6.10. Fedora, however, loves them and is as hell, as does sidux (a debian-based distro). Go figure. Good luck!

That sounds like software related :D
No no, it's the hardware's fault if there isn't proper linux drivers for it! :P </troll>
- carpe noctem

urlwolf

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Re: Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2009, 04:54:48 PM »
ok. update. I fixed part of this by switching from metacity as a compositing window manager to compiz. Alt tab is much snappier. FF .... not so much.

Edvard

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Re: Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2009, 07:02:34 AM »
I've noticed this too.
I've found Ubuntu to be lagging since 7.10 myself and it seems others have noticed.
Personally, it's getting on my nerves, and I'm going to be giving Xubuntu 9.10 one chance to impress me before I dump it for something more svelte, I'm so ticked.

That said, I remember installing Slackware 8 once and although it was quite snappy, window drawing was noticeably slower than the Windows 95(!!) it was sharing a partition with.
Most likely X itself is the culprit no matter what distro you're into, and some folks have pondered what to do about it.
Although X is so much part of the whole Linux experience, it's hard seeing it being wholesale replaced any time soon, even with something better.
That doesn't stop me from hoping it happens, though.
It's been a long time coming...

« Last Edit: November 22, 2009, 07:04:13 AM by Edvard »

urlwolf

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Re: Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2009, 03:21:52 PM »
update 2: it must be some driver problem. I bought I new video card for the desktop, another nvidia, and now it flies. The laptop one, even with the same memory (128) still sucks. I have no idea why. Both are the commercial drivers, not the OSS. It´s really a crapshot...

Innuendo

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Re: Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2009, 09:11:53 AM »
Well, most older laptop graphics chipsets blow chunks no matter what OS you are running them under.

And....if your new graphics card didn't perform a lot better than a 2 year old model I would have been very surprised. :)

urlwolf

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Re: Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2010, 08:11:44 AM »
it's a decent adapter GeForce 8400GS M.
Moved to sabayon, scroll in FF still sucks...

f0dder

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Re: Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2010, 08:19:05 AM »
Moved to sabayon, scroll in FF still sucks...
In which way does it suck, though? Flickering while scrolling? "Sluggish" scrolling? Or "just" scrolling in blocks as opposed to smooth-scroll?

Flicker or Sluggish could be driver or X11, blocky more likely an app setting (which can *feel* sluggish if you're used to smooth scrolling - or even if you're used to non-smooth scrolling if the "blocksize" is larger than on Windows).

Even a dog-old integrated graphics card should handle something as simple as scrolling 100% smoothly, since it's pretty much a simple BitBlt() operation. And we're talking, like, mid-90'es style dog-old, not 2006-style old :)
- carpe noctem

urlwolf

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Re: Is ubuntu's windowing/redrawing slower than windows? Is this X, or Gnome?
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2010, 10:43:53 AM »
it's definitely the nvidia 190 series of drivers.
I tried opera, and it has a similar problem.
It's hard to describe.
The bottom part of the page (that has to be redrawn when scrolling) just moves up, and then one can see the redrawing happening. It's only milliseconds, but definitely makes for a horrible experience.

series 185 were working a bit better... but it doesn't let me change the resolution on the native lappy monitor (and plug an external thing at the same time) so it's useless in conference scenarios (where you have to plug in the lappy and start talking.

Linux is a game of compromises. This is just one (185 scrolls right but no projector, 190 projector but no good scroll). It starts to get cumbersome.