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Re: [Xen-users] Xen: The processor(s) in this machine do not supportfull

To: "Ross S. W. Walker" <rwalker@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [Xen-users] Xen: The processor(s) in this machine do not supportfull virtualization.
From: Mark Williamson <mark.williamson@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2008 02:58:56 +0100
Cc: Jörg Kühne <joerg.kuehne@xxxxxxx>, xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Javier Guerra <javier@xxxxxxxxxxx>
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> > 3D virtualisation is hard.  VMGL was one approach to it, Jacob Gorm
> > Hansen did some work on it too.  I know other people who have been
> > looking into 3D virtualisation under Xen but I can't guarantee what
> > they'll produce or when they'll produce it.
> >
> > There are also people working on 3D virtualisation for other virtual
> > machine programs, both Open Source and proprietary.  I think we'll see
> > more solutions popping up in the future.
> >
> > > For what I should focus on for my next notebook, to have full 3D
> > > support with Xen.
> >
> > It would be nice but there are no concrete plans for if / when Xen will
> > have full 3D support for domUs.
> Without knowing fully what the future holds. I would look at Xen advanced
> graphics support being provided through a combination of PV drivers that
> interface with SDL or some remote display technology like NX (or both).
> I would also think OpenGL library support would come through the Mesa
> framework in some fashion.

Well, VMGL transfers OpenGL commands over the network, making it VMM 
independent (and network transparent, effectively), which is quite nice.  I 
think these days X11's GLX API can also transmit commands over the network 
and have them hardware accelerated at the host running the X Server.  So that 
could help too...

A Qemu developer has experimented with adding interfaces to relay OpenGL 
commands out of a VM and accelerate them natively on the host system - quite 
impressive results there too.

This doesn't solve the problem for other 3D APIs though - Direct3D in 
particular is what I'm thinking of.  Fabrice Bellard, Qemu author, suggested 
that the Qemu solution could use Wine's Direct3D->OpenGL code to reduce 
Direct 3D to the solved case of transmitting GL commands.  Might work but 
possibly not ideal.

I'm aware of some folks who have been looking at a more cross-API, cross-OS 
means of paravirtualising 3D graphics.  If they have time to try to make this 
work, it could be quite interesting.  Certainly their design seems quite 

> These are just obvious choices that I am hypothesizing about.


There must have been work from the commercial VM companies on this.  In the 
ooooooold days, there used to be emulation of pre-GPU 3D accelerators by some 
virtual machine solutions.  They gave up on that later, presumably because 
the task became too complex.  I don't know if any commercial VM solutions do 
3D virtualisation at the moment but they will, I'm sure, since 3D is 
increasingly important these days.  I rather wonder if Citrix has thought 
about this but I have no inside knowledge there whatsoever - sadly!

I also heard that MS had been talking to ... Nvidia, I think ... about 
hardware support for 3D graphics virtualisation.  That would make a lot of 
sense, so perhaps we'll see that enter the market too at some point in the 


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