My space in the world

Code is poetry

Posted by Sayak
November - 22 - 2008

I have always been a compiz fanboy. I have lived on Gnome since my first Ubuntu install.
My migration to KDE has been worth the hassle though. KDE 4.1.3 and KDE 4.2 are amazing with a great UI, features and give a variety of great software to it’s users (Amarok!!!). I absolutely love plasma and oxygen.

But the only thing that is making me rip off hair from my head is my graphics driver, I guess. I must say that compiz was *very* smooth on my old laptop (T5500, 1GiG DDR2, Intel GMA950 onboard). But no matter what I use in Kubuntu Intrepid, I can’t seem to get a smooth output.
Say for example, launching FF can never be smooth and the window is heavily distorted upon opening:

This applies to all menus, all windows, everything. Looks very odd and ugly. Even compiz runs very slow. Surprisingly, glxgears still shows around 1100-1200 fps as it did in Hardy. Neither am I trying to get direct rendering working on an Intel GPU. I wonder has it got anything to do with the fact that I never actually downloaded the stable version of Kubuntu, but I kept on adding updates to the Intrepid alpha I once downloaded.

Am I the only one with this, or do I have company? Oh well, I guess not many have an old laptop like me 😉

15 Responses to “Choppy Choppy”

  1. notriddle says:

    Nope. I’ve got the same problem on my ATI card, using FGLRX or Radeon. Note that when using menus, the chop only shows when I first open a menu (switching back to the menu is smooth).

    My first thought is that it is something in XRender, since KDE4 makes the heaviest use of it out of all mainstream desktops. Anybody have any ideas.

  2. Dread Knight says:

    Having issues with Intel GMA 950 myself on my tablet pc with blender, when i have Kwin effects on. Don’t recall other stuff bothering me.. hmm will check again…

  3. Brian says:

    I have the same issue on my laptop that has an nvidia card ( with binary drivers ) and is running Kubuntu 8.10 x86_64. This is a fresh install of the release version.

  4. Anonymous says:

    you have to force XAA since EXA is a bit broken with intel

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have the same issues! I, like notriddle, have tried both fglrx and radeon on my desktop with an ATI card and continue to have this issue. It does go away with menus if you close them and open them again, but it’s still annoying nonetheless (especially like you said with launching FF and the whole window is corrupt and garbled).

  6. Sayak says:


    I’m already using XAA at the moment.

    Here’s my Xorg.0.log file.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I got the same problem on my Intel GM965 laptop and also on my Intel G45 desktop machine. I see this bug several times per day.

  8. siegie says:

    Opening firefox is also ugly on a nvidia quadro nv140.
    Konqueror or other kde apps open smooth.

  9. gunni says:

    I got the same here on nvidia (closed driver) and intel GMA 3100.
    I filed a bug a while ago, that deals with a similar problem, maybe the same problem:

  10. Damien says:

    I jumped ship to Kubuntu (being an avid Ubuntu user before) and it has been so horrible that in less than a week I am having to go back to Ubuntu. I have the same Firefox issue and KWin compositing effects and compiz both have atrocious performance issues. My system is relatively strong (4200+ x2 64, 2gb ram and a 8600GT).

    Perhaps Jaunty will be my Kubuntu release!

  11. Sayak says:


    Personally, I like Kubuntu to an extent that I’m not considering this glitch much of a major issue 🙂

    I’ll probably never go back to Ubuntu, but get a new laptop. But that’s me.. 😉

  12. Anonymous says:


    They are working on this, and the kubuntu version is not as updated as other distros. If you still send in bug-reports this will be fixed. Alot of users have old computers (like me) and they like kde4 more than kde3. It’s been faster for me, and with opensuse kde4factory it gets faster each day.

    Thank you for trying kde4, please give them some help as well

  13. Anonymous says:

    I think something went wrong with the intel driver on Intrepid. I’m running KDE4 on my i965-based notebook. It can be painfully slow, and it exhibits the graphical glitches you described. On my desktop, with the non-free nvidia driver, it runs smoothly. Fail, Intel. Fail. I know it’s not mesa, since KDE4 ran smoothly on my friend’s notebook, and he has an ATI chipset (running with the free radeon driver).

  14. VSpike says:

    I’ve always had that problem on my desktop with an nVidia 7900GTO (closed drivers). It’s worse with compiz than with xcompmgr.

    My much less powerful laptop with Intel 915 onboard was smooth as butter in Ubuntu 8.04 but with both Ubuntu 8.10 and also Arch Linux + KDE 4.1 I get the problem bad, even down to the occasional crash. I also get some garbled previews in the tab switcher in compiz.

    My conclusion is that nVidia cards always have this problem, and that Intel is generally better for linux desktop but the current Xorg and/or Intel driver are a bit broken.

  15. Aaron says:

    This sounds a lot like the “107_fedora_dont_backfill_bg_none.patch” patch in

    We work around that in the NVIDIA driver now.

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About Me

A son, brother and friend. Enjoys scripting and making small bits of apps here and there. Wants to conquer the world (well, who doesnt). A geek who has an obsession for ponies. Loves acoustic and wants to play guitar sitting on the Hollywood hill one day!

A Word About KDE

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