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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
climbing.