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.

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