Talking directly to the video

Talking directly to the video

Post by Dan Merc » Mon, 01 Oct 2001 01:47:14

With all these posts about* X servers I began thinking
about alternatives that would deliver the best of X11 and direct
access to the video hardware.  I support a large Unix installation.
Twice a week I work remotely from home via VPN over cable modem.
Until recently I had been connecting via WRQ's ReflectionX.  After
upgrading to Version 8 I had been having crashes when bringing up
certain windows.  When it happened with a critical window of an
application I was trying to debug,  I needed an alternative.
I had been using VNC to connect to my NT PC for years,  and for
the last year had been using Xvnc to connect to my Linux Server
which is locked in a back room.  In all that time Xvnc over Linux
has worked flawlessly.  The Unix machines were HP's,  however,
and both Xvnc and vncviewer on that platform has been buggy.  So I
got the brilliant idea to start an Xvnc on Linux and have it
connect via Xdmcp direct to the HP's.  Voila.  I more than half
expected a huge performance hit but have been pleasantly surprised
to find a 2 to 10 times performance improvement!  X11 must be
enormously inefficient for that to be true.  Plus,  I have been
running the same session now for several weeks.  

I remember years ago reading of an effort to create a library that
talked directly to the video hardware.  So it dawned on me,  why
not run a rock solid Xvnc server,  divorced from the vagaries if
the hardware,  and develop a vncviewer that talks directly to the
hardware.  This would probably result in a faster (or at least
no slower) X11 environment and allow for a more robust environment
for games.  No need to port X11 applications,  and you could have
seamless access to the same session from multiple locations,  plus
all the other benefits available from VNC.

Dan Mercer

Opinions expressed herein are my own and may not represent those of my employer.