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From click to pixel: A tour of the Linux graphics pipeline

Have you ever been stumped with a graphics performance problem and
thought, "What in the world could actually be going on here? Why
isn't my new graphics card making this all blisteringly fast? Just
what have those X developers been doing all these years?". Here's
a chance to find out exactly what goes on from the time you click
a mouse button to when the pixels light up on your display.

We'll take a simple, common graphics operation, (such as scrolling
a web page in a browser), and follow it in detail through every
layer in the system: application, toolkit, graphics library,
X client library, X protocol, X server acceleration architecture,
X driver, and Linux kernel driver. The journey won't always be
pleasant, but it's certain to be enlightening, and hopefully the
next time you hit a graphics performance problem you'll have a
better idea about how to help improve it.

Carl Worth

Carl Worth has been a primary author and maintainer of the cairo 2D
graphics library for 6 years. Currently, he is working for Intel where
his efforts to improve Linux graphics continue with a focus on
improving X server drivers and the layers connecting cairo to them,
(occasionally even getting uncomfortably close to the kernel for a
userspace developer).

Carl's personal interests center primarily around his wife and four
sons. Frequent recreational activities include board games, (DVONN,
Ricochet Robot, and Icehouse games are favorites), origami, and rock