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Old 12-15-2013, 02:45 PM   #1
yooden
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X11 is Abysmally Slow


Hi,

I just installed Debian Jessie on my workstation, but I have several problems running X11.

I have difficulty starting anything with GDM3 and (I assume) Gnome 3, but even using XFCE, the desktop is noticeably slower than before. Moving windows, size change, everything works with a delay.

Are there some 3D shenanigans going on? My graphics card (Matrox G550) barely knows 3D, and I have no interest whatsoever in it. Is it something else?

X11 is auto-configured, my old xorg.conf segfaults. Debian Jessie is from 2013-12-14, xorg 7.7+4. According to the log, the Matrox driver is detected correctly by X11.

I googled around, but couldn't find anything that helps; do you have any hints about search terms? Do you need any other information from me?

How can I get a quick X11?

(See here for another problem I have.)

Thanks!

Cheers,
yooden

Last edited by yooden; 12-15-2013 at 02:47 PM.
 
Old 12-15-2013, 06:43 PM   #2
ondoho
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what are your hardware specs?
gnome 3 might be too heavy.

how did you install? it is not common to have 2 desktop environments on one install (gnome and xfce).
 
Old 12-15-2013, 06:50 PM   #3
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Did you try the Stable release of Debian first?
 
Old 12-16-2013, 01:03 AM   #4
yooden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
what are your hardware specs?
gnome 3 might be too heavy.
Some Core 2 Duo, 4 Gig RAM. About as fast as my notebook, which runs fine with XFCE (but has some 3D going on).

I'm also not trying to run Gnome 3 currently, I run XFCE4 from KDM.

Quote:
how did you install? it is not common to have 2 desktop environments on one install (gnome and xfce).
Netinstall CD, tasksel desktop, print, mail, SSH. Not sure what else you want to know.

Edit: I think I misunderstood your question. Why is it not common to have more than one DE? Last I tried, Gnome and KDE were too connected to remove them once you start using a couple of their applications.

Last edited by yooden; 12-16-2013 at 04:12 AM.
 
Old 12-16-2013, 01:04 AM   #5
yooden
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Originally Posted by snowpine View Post
Did you try the Stable release of Debian first?
Good point! No, I've made good experiences with Testing in the past and went straight there. Are you aware of any issues with Jessie or with the latest X11?
 
Old 12-16-2013, 02:34 PM   #6
ondoho
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it's why it's called testing.
debian has very long erm, devlopment cycles i guess. years.
what is now stable was testing just a few months ago.
what is now testing was unstable before, and has been testing for a few months only and will contiunue to be so for quite a while. years, maybe.
so, what i'm getting at, it's quite different to use testing, when it's been testing for years, or just a few months.
so yes, try stable. full re-install, don't just change repositories.

Last edited by ondoho; 12-16-2013 at 02:39 PM.
 
Old 01-20-2014, 04:16 PM   #7
yooden
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(Holidays and other stuff prevented a prompt response.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
it's why it's called testing.[...]
So I followed your advice, and while Wheezy works fine otherwise, I have exactly the same problems, both in this and the other thread.

Although I use humble XFCE, I suspect that the slowness is due to 3D stuff woven into everything nowadays. At the moment, I suspect I have to get a new graphics card. (What a shame, the old one is not even a decade old.)
 
Old 01-21-2014, 07:01 AM   #8
Bill Gates 666
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yooden View Post
(Holidays and other stuff prevented a prompt response.)


So I followed your advice, and while Wheezy works fine otherwise, I have exactly the same problems, both in this and the other thread.

Although I use humble XFCE, I suspect that the slowness is due to 3D stuff woven into everything nowadays. At the moment, I suspect I have to get a new graphics card. (What a shame, the old one is not even a decade old.)
Your Matrox card was released in 2001 - that's plenty old really if you want to run a modern desktop

Xfce needs 3D acceleration for compositing I believe... See this article about switching out the stock xfwm4 window manager for Compton for example.

Nvidia and AMD develop good kernel drivers (well not so much on the AMD side really)... Any recent low-end AMD card (>4xxx series) or Nvidia card (>2xx series) will also give you VDPAU support (via the OSS radeon driver or the Nvidia proprietary driver). You pick your poison: AMD/radeon in tree kernel/Mesa OSS driver (with kernel mode switching support, etc.) or Nvidia with an out-of-tree proprietary driver that has a proven track record with Linux.

The radeon support matrix is worth checking out - if you want to go with AMD... Actually my laptop's AMD Radeon 4650M card is far more useable since the 3.10/3.11 kernel drops for power-management and VDPAU support. The radeon option does kind of rule out using Debian stable though I guess

Mr Gates
 
Old 01-21-2014, 10:43 AM   #9
yooden
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Thanks for your help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Gates 666 View Post
Your Matrox card was released in 2001 - that's plenty old really if you want to run a modern desktop
So it is older than a decade! Yay for me! And it even has 0.03125 GB RAM!!

I think I would actually still run E16 if it would be easily available for my OS. I'm pretty sure I don't need any of the 3D stuff.

Quote:
Xfce needs 3D acceleration for compositing I believe...
Thanks for the source. Compositing is not activated on my desktop.

Quote:
You pick your poison: AMD/radeon in tree kernel/Mesa OSS driver (with kernel mode switching support, etc.) or Nvidia with an out-of-tree proprietary driver that has a proven track record with Linux.
That choice must also be a decade old by now. I prefer open-source, so I will go that path if I replace the Matrox.

Quote:
The radeon support matrix is worth checking out - if you want to go with AMD... Actually my laptop's AMD Radeon 4650M card is far more useable since the 3.10/3.11 kernel drops for power-management and VDPAU support. The radeon option does kind of rule out using Debian stable though I guess
It does? Why, because of the kernel version?

Last edited by yooden; 01-21-2014 at 02:10 PM.
 
Old 01-30-2014, 01:13 AM   #10
ondoho
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i'm not the worlds most technical guy, but a 10+year-old graphic card, i'd guess it even has difficulties handling a 1920x1200 monitor, let alone any kind of hardware accel.

imo, XFCE is not that humble.

even if your other hardware is more up-to-date, with that kind of graphic card you have to make allowances on everything graphical. i suggest (as always) a pure openbox setup, very lightweight.
why don't you just try crunchbang? it's debian-based and generally hassle-free.

ps: for troubleshooting, you could try starting X without any desktop environment. not sure how to achieve that though.

pps: it's been said before: i understand you have both gnome desktop and xfce desktop installed on the same install. i tried this once (long ago) and had similar troubles.

Last edited by ondoho; 01-30-2014 at 01:15 AM.
 
Old 01-30-2014, 10:47 AM   #11
yooden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
i'm not the worlds most technical guy, but a 10+year-old graphic card, i'd guess it even has difficulties handling a 1920x1200 monitor, let alone any kind of hardware accel.
It has no problem whatsoever running the two monitors under Lenny. I don't think that hardware should become obsolete after X years if the basic requirements don't change.

Quote:
imo, XFCE is not that humble.
In comparison it is, but I'd prefer E16.

Quote:
pps: it's been said before: i understand you have both gnome desktop and xfce desktop installed on the same install. i tried this once (long ago) and had similar troubles.
With Debian?
 
Old 02-04-2014, 01:22 AM   #12
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yooden View Post
I don't think that hardware should become obsolete after X years if the basic requirements don't change.
I totally agree with that! but those DEs you mentioned use compositing by default which basically means hardware acceleration, and if your graphic card can't do that the system might revert to using normal ram for that which could explain drops in performance.


Quote:
I'd prefer E16.
Now you're talking!! :-)


Quote:
With Debian?
i don't think so; it's been a while, most probably ubuntu. but the point is that both DEs install services and daemons which then conflict/overlap every time you log in.
it's ok to install applications from different DEs (if they don't pull in unreasonable amounts of dependencies - read further down), but if you install both the whole xfce-desktop and the whole gnome desktop, you're creating something weird.

edit: it seems bill gates 666 is going down a different road than me - replacing graphic cards? otherwise i don't understand how ati/radeon ties in with matrox.

edit2: re-reading this thread, i notice that the whole desktop environment question hasn't been clarified yet. are you still using gnome3 and xfce4.x on the same install, under the same user? you should uninstall one of them.
your remark about gnome + kde from post #4 just proves my point.
long explanation:
if you are using gnome desktop and want to install one of the kde apps (they usually start with k), it basically pulls in the whole kde desktop and voilá, there's your unresponsive gui.
you can replace the words "gnome" and "kde" with any other DE, same thing; although it's extreme with kde.
imho the philosophy behind this is wrong, wrong, wrong, but what can you do. you just have to be careful what you install and always watch out what dependencies it pulls in.

edit3: thinking..., debian uses kde as default DE these days, however when you install debian the word "KDE" is never mentioned, it just says graphical environment or desktop. just thought i'd mention this as well.

edit4 (god i'm unstoppable): there is a distinction between dependencies and install-recommends with apt. synaptic (and i think apt-get as well) has an option to "treat recommendations as dependencies" which, iirc, is enabled by default. disabling that might help in the future.

Last edited by ondoho; 02-04-2014 at 02:14 AM.
 
Old 02-04-2014, 04:10 AM   #13
Bill Gates 666
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yooden View Post
Thanks for your help!
So it is older than a decade! Yay for me! And it even has 0.03125 GB RAM!!
I think I would actually still run E16 if it would be easily available for my OS. I'm pretty sure I don't need any of the 3D stuff.
Thanks for the source. Compositing is not activated on my desktop.
That choice must also be a decade old by now. I prefer open-source, so I will go that path if I replace the Matrox.
It does? Why, because of the kernel version?
Hi Yooden,

Yeh, so you either go for a lighter weight DE or a hardware upgrade. I would go with the latter (and pushed for this) simply because your system is very unbalanced (good CPU and #RAM combined with a weak GPU).

A recent kernel version is important for the radeon driver as it is actually a built-in kernel module and their have been recent code drops, by AMD, to the Linux kernel Git tree - to introduce some very important support features!! I mentioned what these features are in my previous posting... You have trouble reading (active power management and video decode acceleration - for playing back videos)

Personally my choice for OFTB good OSS experience with video drivers would be Intel. Their Haswell lineup is totally awesome (both in laptops and desktops) - I speak from the experience of building up a Desktop system recently. But it's cheaper and easier to retrofit, an existing system, with a low end (? second-hand) AMD Radeon 4xxx+ card.

Apart from poor 3D gaming performance - I don't get any real problems with the Radeon HD4650M card in my laptop now (it dynamically switches between power states now). I also get very low CPU usage when decoding >1080p HD x264 (profile 4.1) videos.

Bob

Last edited by Bill Gates 666; 02-04-2014 at 04:29 AM.
 
Old 02-04-2014, 12:27 PM   #14
yooden
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
the point is that both DEs install services and daemons which then conflict/overlap every time you log in.
Not in my experience, I don't think I've had errors caused by installing DEs. Even if some libraries are loaded, I have trust that Linux takes care of anything unused by putting it in swap.

There are useful tools for both big DEs, and I would rather not do without them. Please also keep in mind that everything works fine in Lenny.

Anyway, after the re-install I will go through the package list and try to get rid of stuff I don't need.

Quote:
it seems bill gates 666 is going down a different road than me - replacing graphic cards? otherwise i don't understand how ati/radeon ties in with matrox.
Yes, I'm currently favor to replace the Matrox. I went from new GCA to a new main board (using on-board graphics) back to a new GCA, and I have ordered an Asus card with a Radeon HD 5450.

---------- Post added 02-04-14 at 07:28 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Gates 666 View Post
You have trouble reading
Yes, entirely my fault of course!!

Last edited by yooden; 02-04-2014 at 12:28 PM.
 
  


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