Mir in Ubuntu 13.10, Benchmarking, and More

Many of you will have seen the recent news about Mir coming to Ubuntu 13.10 in October 2013. For those of you who are unaware of Mir, it is an Open Source display server we are building that we will use across desktops, phones, tablets, and TV. It currently works with Open Source drivers and we are currently in discussions with the major GPU manufacturers to discuss Mir support in their proprietary drivers.

From the announcement yesterday:

For 13.10 we plan on delivering Mir by default in Ubuntu Desktop with XMir (an implementation of X running on Mir) and our current Unity 7 codebase (the same Unity codebase that is currently in the Saucy development release).

This will be enabled for graphics hardware with Open Source drivers supported by Mir (primarily intel, nouveau and radeon). For binary graphics drivers (e.g. many NVidia and ATI cards) that don’t support Mir yet, we will fallback to the normal X server that we usually ship. This will mean that all users are well served in Ubuntu 13.10 and everyone will get the standard Unity 7 experience with feature parity with X (e.g. multi-monitor support). This fallback will be removed for Ubuntu 14.04. We are working with GPU vendors and partners to provide the required driver support and are confident to have this in place for 14.04.

We discussed this before the announcement with the Ubuntu Community Council and all councils and flavor leaders from each of our official flavors this week. Many thanks to those folks for the feedback they provided.

For those concerned about flavors being able to ship their desktops in Ubuntu 13.10, each of the desktops showcased in our flavors (GNOME 3, KDE, XFCE, LXDE) work with XMir running on Mir (see the video of them running). Please note, this is running on XMir, not Mir directly. Now, whether the flavors choose to use XMir on Mir or ship X directly is of course up them. Fortunately, they have a few options at their disposal for 13.10.

Testing, Reporting Bugs, and Benchmarks

If you would like to try Mir, Oliver Ries, Director of Display Server and Unity at Canonical, posted instructions for how to get started. Likewise, Nicholas Skaggs on my team has announced that Mir is part of our regular cadence testing, so we encourage you to test Mir, report your results, and feel free to discuss Mir on the mir-devel mailing list.

Most recently, we reached out to Phoronix to ask if Michael could perform some benchmarking tests on Mir to see where things stand today with applications running on XMir on Mir. Now, bear in mind that Mir has not yet been through a round of performance optimizations (this will happen a little later in the cycle), and the results naturally have a performance impact because of this, but the impact was not too great. These performance regressions should be largely resolved before Ubuntu 13.10. Oliver Ries blogged reviewing the results and discussed plans to resolve these issues.

Staying Up To Date

Next week we will provide two opportunities to ensure you have as much information about Mir as possible. On Tues 2nd July at 5pm UTC we will be doing our normal Ubuntu Weekly Update with updates from a range of teams of progress over the last week (see the last one here).

Immediately after that session at 6pm UTC I will then be doing a a full interview with a number of members of the core Mir team and inviting your questions too.

Watch both sessions on Ubuntu On Air.

  • http://katsarov.info/ kristiyan katsarov

    Awesome! I think this is my reason to download Ubuntu, though I am not so sure yet.

  • thoi

    Just do it dude :)

  • Raklödder

    I shall remain with 12.04 until 14.04 is officially 100% stable.

  • Esteban Acosta

    Yes! Just make sure you download the latest stable release, 13.04, at http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop. The version described in here is currently in development, of course. We don’t want any bad first impressions! Hope you enjoy it!

  • http://chilabot.com/ Chila

    It’ll be really great to just be able to install Ubuntu mobile to my sad galaxy s advance, to show Google how things should be addressed (assuming Ubuntu will make software updates in the phone just as in the desktop). Sometimes progress comes from a company showing another how things should be done.

  • Vincent Pascal Stavleu

    12.04 isn’t even 100% stable

  • Uber Dudditz

    There’s no such thing as 100% stability, anyway.

  • Leopoldo Pena

    Asking Michael to benchmark Mir is like asking a blind man to describe a painting in a Museum. So much for objective journalisim in Phoronix…

  • someone

    But hey, he talks about beer!

  • someone

    stupid Disqus removed my sarcasm-tag.

  • someone

    re your last sentence: That’s what we call “competition”.

  • someone

    Uh… How exactly did this article motivate you to download Ubuntu?

  • Anonymous

    13.04 is faster and also stable like 12.04

  • http://wiki.ubuntu.ir/danialbehzadi Danial Behzadi

    13.04 is even more stable than 12.04, and yes it is much faster too

  • Aurimas

    Ubuntu is sprinting too fast through releases 10.04 … 13.10. In my opinion there are still many things to improve, instead of focusing on making it look better, focus it on working better, because it does not work so good for many computers. Improve power saving, fix bugs, improve openGL and , improve WPS or Libre Office so people could start using it. I switched myself to Linux Mint, Ubuntu is becoming bigger and bigger crap, thnx

  • Maina Dot Gidiee

    This cool!

  • http://dvr.redbeards.ca/ dvr

    Ubuntu will always have areas needing improvement, but take what your saying and align it with the direction of the ONE DISTRIBUTION principle for all form factors. Then begin fixing things once you have achieved that. Ubuntu Touch will be critical for the future of Linux, Ubuntu, Canonical and the Community.

  • http://julianjupiter.blogspot.com/ Julian V. Jupiter

    To Ubuntu/Canonical, please work out power saving of Ubuntu, I have my Samsung Notebook with dual OS installed: Ubuntu 13.04 & Windows 7. I limited battery charging to 80% as Samsung suggests. This 80% battery can run Windows 7 at least 2 hours or even more but it cannot run my Ubuntu that long, only less than an hour. Don’t tell me that I can do that by executing commands or do anything manually to achieve that if there is any existing way now to do so. Make Ubuntu like Windows which by default runs longer using battery without even doing configuration. Not all users are developers or technical people. When can we expect it? Thanks.

  • http://venelin.sytes.net/ Venelin Stoykov

    I’m not sure that 13.04 is so stable. Actually it has lot of problems. Maybe now after some updates they are corrected but for now I also will stay with 12.04.

  • http://www.mhall119.com/ Michael Hall

    Install and run powertop, that will tell you what is using the most power. You can tweak settings there to improve your battery life, and report those settings in a bug on Launchpad

  • Anonymous

    Everyone is motivated by bacon. ;-)

  • Anon

    Another component of Canonicals that is being rushed to market waaaaaay too soon. I hope they realize customers are jumping ship due to this.

  • Someone2

    You do realize that Samsung only supports Windows on this notebook? So many distro’s support a lot of devices and that’s already spectacular. I’m not saying that you’re not right, I also experience these issues with my laptop, it’s just that you can’t expect Ubuntu to have that many resources to give support to all existing devices. Did you even donate to Ubuntu so they could do even more than they do now? Or to the Linux Foundation? Microsoft runs on less devices than Ubuntu perfectly (you mostly rely on the manufacturers to provide the drivers) and has much more resources. Yes you will have to do thing manually if you go for aftermarket solutions. There are already great devices out there that support Ubuntu (the Dell xps13), you should go see these ones. Then you can demand the company that sells them these kind of things.

  • Vincent Pascal Stavleu

    Well if you write a simple “hello world” script I wouldn’t doubt it’s 100% stable

  • Anonymous

    Glad things are going smoothly with Mir. I sincerely hope you guys will value performance just as much as you value features in Mir. Performance is the difference between an enraged user and a calm user.

  • Nicolas Guichard

    A script? And what if Bash (or Python, or whatever you want) fails? Or even what is under them (kernel…)?

  • Uber Dudditz

    Until something goes wrong, anyway. Versions change, some things aren’t updated at the same time as others, compiler freaks out, w/e Or even a hardware issue could cause a software instability. The Universe is kind of defined by the lack of stability inside it, as there’s no way to avoid entropy forever.

    And we know that as something becomes more complex, it becomes harder to maintain, and the whole Ubuntu software stack isn’t exactly a hello world script. Apple tries to claim they use magic to create a never-failing product line, but we all know that’s just marketing as well.

  • Anonymous

    So, what is your objection? Is it wrong to ask someone to do benchmarking? Do you think Michael is incompetent? Are you assuming he’s being paid to falsify the benchmark results? I would expect that just as the article says, they asked for benchmarking to identify any performance issues. Everything is good about that!

  • Leopoldo Pena

    Any professional journalist should be neutral, in theory. That been said, I do not know if you follow phoronix the same way as I do, but Michael is anything but neutral towards Mir. He has shown in countless occasions how personal feelings get into his articles, that have a clear bias. I assume he doesn’t have a master’s in communication or journalism, so it is just a personal blog where he can rant all he wants…but hey…at least to try not to be sensationalist. Other than that I have no objections.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for the clarification and additional information.

  • KrishNik

    will there be a performance boost using Mir instead of X?

  • Anonymous

    The amount of updates I get is amazing!

  • Yanik

    Does this mean that Gnome3 won’t be able to replace Unity in 13.10?

  • oiaohm

    I am sorry to say if Mir is not faster than existing X11 that is round tripping from hell the developer would need to be shot.

    http://wayland.freedesktop.org/architecture.html Even putting Mir between Xwayland/Xmir and video card cuts a loop out. Yes Xwayland chopped a stack of double handing between the compositor and the X11 server out.

    Mir on performance has to be compared against wayland and surface flinger solutions.

    There is a horrible possibility that the design selection to place mir in charge of buffer allocations has crippled it. Neither surfaceflinger or wayland mandate the server control buffer allocations.

    Really this the the big thing that needs to be benched to death. Mir developers say it gives some advantages. The thing they have not answered what is the price performance gain or loss.

  • Aditya Raj Bhatt

    Also System76 devices are great since they are especially built for running Ubuntu, and offer excellent quality.

  • Aditya Raj Bhatt

    I hope that was a joke. Unity is now the standard environment for the “One distro across all devices” vision of Canonical, and I love it.

    P.S – Gnome3 looks really nice, and I do not see why people keep bashing it like Unity (though that has lessened somewhat now).