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Shatter: Fixing X on large displays and/or small hardware

The life of an X server is hard and filled with arbitrary restrictions. The protocol gives applications the ability to draw to insanely large images. 4GB images are totally legal. Your graphics hardware, however, does not. Modern low-end GPUs like the Intel 915 can't accelerate drawing to anything wider than 2048 pixels; how depressing. Worse, your hardware also has restrictions on how big of an image they can display. Sometimes this limit is the same as how big it can draw to, and sometimes not. All of this eventually bubbles out to you, the user, in the form of lovely abstraction-breaking magic settings in your xorg.conf that nobody understands and that waste your time.

Wouldn't it be nice if it just worked instead?

Shatter is the code name for a collection of techniques that make this work better than it did before. Hooray for sucking less! In this talk, I'll cover the constraints we're trying to get around, the design and implementation of the solution, and any future work still to be done in the area.

Adam Jackson

By day, ajax is a mild-mannered X hacker for Red Hat. By night, he does pretty much the same, only with more colorful language. He enjoys biking, snowboarding, noisy music, good beer, and shiny objects. He is better than you at Soul Calibur, but worse than you at Guitar Hero. He once hit a guy so hard he broke his collarbone. He has never been to Antarctica. He can't keep a straight face while telling a joke. He lives in Boston, in the same way everyone in Illinois lives in Chicago. Only telemarketers and judges call him Adam.