Explicit GPU Synchronization for Xwayland Is Now Finally Merged into XOrg Server

The GNOME 46 and KDE Plasma 6.1 desktop environments will feature explicit sync support as well.
NVIDIA Wayland Explicit Sync

Another big step toward bringing explicit GPU synchronization was made today with the merge of the year-long request by NVIDIA to add explicit sync support to the DRI3 and Present extensions, and the Xwayland implementation.

Last week, KDE developer Xaver Hugl told us why explicit sync is a big deal and how it will finally solve those annoying issues some Linux users are experiencing when using an NVIDIA graphics card with the proprietary graphics drivers on Wayland while gaming or doing other tasks that involve using their dedicated GPU.

While the explicit sync protocol already landed into the Wayland protocols, it still needs to be implemented in a few other components, such as Wayland compositors and the proprietary NVIDIA driver, for everything to finally work flawlessly on using an NVIDIA GPU on Linux.

After a year of waiting, NVIDIA’s proposal for adding explicit GPU synchronization to the DRI3 and Present extensions, along with an implementation for Xwayland, was finally merged today into the XOrg Server. If you’re wondering why this matters, Xwayland is still being used for backward compatibility with X11 apps on Wayland sessions.

“While we at NVIDIA may be particularly keen to have this in place, since our driver lacks implicit sync support, a general consensus seems to be forming around the idea that explicit sync is the best path forward for the Linux graphics stack,” said Erik Kurzinger. “Having both X11 and Wayland use a similar mechanism for explicit sync will simplify development for client-side drivers.”

Now, all that remains is for NVIDIA to release a new version of their proprietary graphics driver that finally supports the explicit sync protocol. As you can expect, this would open the door for more users, especially gamers, to switch to Linux, as graphical glitches will be a thing of the past.

The latest GNOME 46 desktop environment already ships with explicit sync support, which should also be implemented in the upcoming KDE Plasma 6.1 desktop environment release, due out in mid-June 2024.

Update 10/04/2024: Explicit sync was just merged into KDE Plasma’a KWin window and composite manager and it will be publicly available with the KDE Plasma 6.1 release.

Last updated 2 months ago

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