[Tinkerphones] Antwort: Re: Antwort: Re: Librem 5

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.org.uk
Tue Nov 7 17:21:05 CET 2017

On Tuesday 7. November 2017 15.55.32 Josua Mayer wrote:
> Gnome and KDE still appear to rely on the existence of a proper OpenGL
> implementation. I remember that about a year ago the person behind
> netrunner was trying to run kde on the i.MX6 Cubox-i and failed due to
> the vivante OpenGL blob lacking in functionality and stability.
> We would surely have a related issue, though for development the
> llvm-based renderer should be an acceptable fall-back.

It should be a concern that the more popular desktop environments balance 
precariously on top of a very tall and fragile stack, particularly since there 
was a rush towards making everything GPU-dependent/aware, yet none of the GPU 
technologies in common use are even openly documented, let alone actually open 
in any broadly-accepted sense. This compounds the desktop environments' 
existing problems with resource usage and system complexity, not to mention 
the constant churn amongst all the components and interfaces.

There are good reasons for taking advantage of GPU hardware but not at the 
expense of reliability and availability. The CI20 is an interesting example 
with which I have been able to gather a few experiences. Given that I was not 
going to depend on the proprietary PowerVR firmware, I installed Debian and 
tried some desktop environments.

With XFCE things like moving windows around was rather sluggish, and I thought 
that I might need to dig into writing alternative region-copying "drivers" 
using other parts of the SoC functionality. However, MATE doesn't seem to 
suffer from such sluggishness.

So maybe there are differences in terms of window managers with MATE's 
preferred WM probably also originating from GNOME 2 and not requiring some 
kind of GPU-powered primitives. This is speculation, though, since I haven't 
investigated this any further.

I also think that many desktop environments are not really suitable for 
phones. I was surprised that the Plasma Mobile demonstration from earlier in 
the year managed to pull off a good impersonation of the Android basics (from 
my rather ignorant position), but I would be worried about all the baggage 
these things might bring with them.


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