Re: [As-users] Re: AfterStep 2.00.beta5 released

M.-A. DARCHE (ma.darche@aful.org)
Wed, 8 Sep 2004 22:20:36 +0200


Le 2004-09-08 09:43 (mercredi), Sasha Vasko a =E9crit /
On 2004-09-08 09:43 (mercredi), Sasha Vasko wrote :
>=20
> M.-A. DARCHE wrote:
> >Le 2004-09-02 09:01 (jeudi), Sasha Vasko a crit /
> >Yes, when I switch to a desktop for the first time there is this
> >animated effect that draws the image from both top and bottom toward
> >the middle of the screen.
> >
> >I will be more precise this time, and provide numbers.
> >
> >Problem 1: too long loading
> >---------------------------
> >The first animated effect - image loading - takes very long on my
> >machine: 16 seconds (desktop background drawing), then 4 seconds (page=
r
> >and wharf background drawing) =3D 20 seconds. This is too long a time.
>=20
> What version of X and OS is that ?
>

XFree86 Version 4.1.0.1 / X Window System
(protocol Version 11, revision 0, vendor release 6510)
Release Date: 21 December 2001
Build Operating System: Linux 2.4.17 i686 [ELF]=20
Module Loader present

Debian Woody 3.0

Linux 2.4.19 #4 SMP Sat Oct 5 19:42:23 CEST 2002 i686 unknown

processor       : 0
vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
cpu family      : 6
model           : 3
model name      : Pentium II (Klamath)
stepping        : 4
cpu MHz         : 300.690
cache size      : 512 KB


> This part relies havily on transfer of image contents from WM to X and=20
> it may be very slow on some configurations and over the wire. For=20
> example under Win NT and CYGWIN it is.
>=20

I easily believe that some transfers can be very slow over the wire, but
I'm not in this case.

The thing is that this lack of speed is a bit strange to old users of
AS, considering the AS 1.8.x was blazing fast.


>=20
> >Problem 2: not totally drawn backgrounds
> >----------------------------------------
> >This is clear that there is a cache building up. If I stop the process
> >of the first time image loading on a desktop, for example by switching
> >to another desktop, then when I come back to the previous desktop, the
> >image in the background is at the state it was - not totally drawn -
> >when I left it.
>=20
> Yes there is this problem, I'm unsure as to how to resolv this at that =
time.
>

OK


> >Problem 3: switching latency due to pager and wharf drawing
> >-----------------------------------------------------------
> >But I have to correct and precise what I wrote about desktop switching=
.
> >The desktop switching is fast in itself and the background image in th=
e
> >destination desktop is already there loaded - fine :-) - *but* during =
4
> >seconds the machine cpu load goes to top - that makes the window manag=
er
> >useless during this time - while it draws the background of the pager
> >and the transparent background of the wharf.
>=20
> Yes, it does requires a large amount of rendering to be done.
>=20

OK


> >So there maybe 3 areas of improvement:
> >
> >  - First load of all image backgrounds could be made in a background
> >    thread no matter if the desktop was visited or not (there could be=
 a
> >    limit to only 4 or 5 desktops). It solves problems 1 & 2.
>=20
> AfterStep's desktop limit is 10000 :). Besides such an approach will=20
> make startup very slow, no matter if its in background or in foreground=
=20
> - X gets stalled anyways.
>

Too bad :-(


> The whole animation thig was an attempt to break the operation into
> bunch of smaller transfers, thus improving latency, and it works,
>

I was guessing something like that :-)


> but has a sideeffect of incompletely transferred backgrounds if you
> switch desktops midrun.
>

OK


> >  - Pager and Wharf background could also be cached if they are
> >    described as transparent somewhere in the configuration. It solves
> >    problem 3.
>=20
> It will take an effort to implement.
>=20
> >  - Provide a theme with no transparency for Pager and Wharf.
> >    It solves problem 3.
>=20
> Thats a good idea, I'll look into it.
>=20

Yes, if a user configuration is not fast enough to handle those
rendering it could be better to make it possible to disable it, rather
than putting some more caching code. I don't want the AS code to be
messed up to implement something not useful :-( I was just trying to
give some design paths.


> If you need something to run on old, low end systems - you better
> stick to AfterSTep 1.8.11. It had very good optimized approach to
> resource handling.
>

OK, but I want to help AS development nevertheless :-)


> Unfortunately all the fancy rendering features in AS 2.0 come at a pric=
e=20
> - since rendering capabilities in X are still not nearly as close to=20
> what is needed - all the rendering has to be done in CPU on the client=20
> side, and then transferred to X. There are no other way around it.
>

OK

X11R6.8 release that will soon be provided by http://freedesktop.org/
seems to bring many interesting features such as XComposite for true
transparency. Do you plan to have libAfterImage to be able to use it?


> There are still some tricks left to pull off to optimize on low end=20
> machines, but its very hard and make things complicated.
>=20

Again, having a clean code is also very important. Better provide means
to simply disable features (why not a afterstep --lowend option?) than
uglying code.


>  >>>Those 2 bugs are still hanging around since the first betas of AS 2=
:
> >>>- Commented "AutoTabThroughDesks" has not effect, window switching
> >>>  is always performed through all desks.
>=20
> That should be fixed now.
>=20

I'll try it ASAP and report it here :-) Thanks a lot.



--=20
Marc-Aur=E8le DARCHE  <http://www.cynode.org/>
AFUL <http://www.aful.org/>
Association Francophone des Utilisateurs de Linux/Logiciels Libres
French speaking Linux and Libre Software Users' Association
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